Obsessive compulsive disorder

This is an anxiety related problem which often results from a period of trauma when safety, security or health is compromised and results in an overdeveloped sense of doubt, lack of self trust and various rituals / routines and automatic thought patterns.

Anxiety around not carrying out a ritual or routine is very uncomfortable and drives the sufferer to “give in” to the compulsion for an easy life. Unfortunately this trap perpetuates and worsens OCD symptoms taking over their life.

The main themes are listed below and sometimes several or all themes can be present in one person.


Checking behaviours include going back several times to check that the door is locked, that you have your keys, that the road is clear or that no one has been injured.


Perhaps the most commonly identified type of OCD including hand washing & cleanliness, behaviours.


Behaviours to retain things in a certian configuration. This involves continually straightening furniture, having chairs at certain angles, removing clutter or having ornaments in a certain alignment, having cupboard contents in rows with labels facing in one direction etc.


Not being able to let go. Collecting vast amounts of the same thing or various things. Feeling highly anxious about throwing anything away, even items which are out of date.

Obsessive Thoughts (known as “pure O”)

Examples are usually shameful and deeply troubling to do with sexuality, harming children, animals or babies, or the fear of doing something completely out of character.

OCD tends to progress and usually gets worse. Treatment can take several months or more. Exposure and Response Prevention is a recommended treatment & it can be helpful to understand where the anxieties developed from (often trauma from earlier life experiences).

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Doctor Melanie Phelps BSc.(Hons). MA.MSc. PhD.

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