Exposure therapy dating

18 Dec

You may not even know what it is but you can sense your fear building so instead of moving towards your desitnation- you avoid it by going into the rest stop on the road which initially helps you calm down but then you end up getting stuck there.

However, those of us who practice CBT know that what really needs to happen for you to soften your OCD patterns is for you to learn to tolerate the feelings that will come up if you stop engaging your compulsions.

When OCD takes over it can make even 10 minutes feel like a nightmare when you’re caught in the throws of it and it feels maddening and you want it to just get out of town and NOW!

The interesting dilemma though is that when we discuss exposure or techniques for letting go of OCD, patients often say “I can’t do that. I’m not willing to accept the possibility that I can become contaminated…to accept the possibility that not checking the outlets could lead to my family being harmed etc..” In this case, exposure may be delayed a lot longer than you might expect of someone who wants to “get rid of this thing” because despite attempts to teach them cognitive behavioral skills and doing gradual exposure- the person remains ambivalent.

This is the uncertainty we all have to face in living as humans who don’t have total control over our safety. What’s going on when people hate their OCD but can’t let go of it nonetheless? It’s “ I hate you OCD but I also need you sometimes.. I dread you and sometimes I feel I’ll do anything to get rid of you but then I can’t let you go.” It’s a very conflicted relationship that makes complete sense when you first begin considering the process of exposure.

Grayson’s point is that you have to face the LOSS of that security you have worked so hard to establish in a world that for your own particular reasons has felt very unsafe to you. Kind of like if you were approaching your first AA meeting and were feeling “uh oh.