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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD

OCD is not just about hand washing, despite the picture. It's defined as an anxiety disorder and around 2-3% of the population suffer from some kind of OCD behaviour. OCD is normally thought of as an adult condition, but it can affect children as well. So can hypnotherapy help?


OCD has two components. Obsessions are repetitive, unwanted, negative thoughts which intrude on your thinking. Compulsions are the urges to carry out specific acts or rituals in an attempt to quiet or remove those thoughts.

Obsessions are often around issues which genuinely concern safety or health. For example, most of us wash our hands after going to the toilet or before preparing food. Or we check that the door is locked before leaving for work.

But if you have OCD, the anxiety about germs or home invasion can become so overwhelming that you have to develop some kind of soothing behaviour to reduce it. The most common behaviours which develop in this way are cleaning, hand-washing and checking but counting, measuring, touching and other repetitive behaviours can also be a part of it. Most people with OCD realise that there isn't much logic to their behaviour, but feel too anxious to stop.


The problem is that compulsive behaviour only offers a limited amount of relief from the huge amounts of anxiety and panic that the obsessive ideas have created. In time, the soothing behaviours get more extreme or have to be repeated more and more frequently.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can show itself in response to a large number of different anxieties. For example, feeling unsafe can result in repeated checking of electrical devices or locks, illness can lead to excessive hand washing or cleaning, and feeling out of control can bring about ritualistic behaviours, such as frequent touching or re-organising of objects.

  • Arranger - seek out habits which give the illusion of order and balance.
  • Catastrophist - anticipate that disaster will occur if they do not complete their rituals.
  • Checker - compelled to check on sources that could pose possible actual physical harm. These people will probably repeatedly return to check the status of a stove, emersion heater, light switch or another home appliance.
  • Counter/Arranger - may be centred on perfect symmetry and stringent order.
  • Hoarder - concentrates on keeping all clothes, boxes together with other items. They have the fear that throwing away any belongings may result in some sort of calamity.
  • Cameron Diaz
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Coping with the anxiety associated with the obsessive-compulsive disorder behaviours is a huge help in eliminating the compulsions and helping you to feel more in control.

Although statistically, CBT seems to be the usual way of helping people with OCD, it doesn’t work for everyone. If CBT has been tried and failed, or if for some reason you don’t feel it’s right for you, hypnotherapy is worth exploring. A responsible hypnotherapist will ask you to check that your OCD has been properly diagnosed and that your GP has no objection to you using hypnotherapy, before working with you.

Hypnotherapy can help you to achieve an inner calmness and promote relaxation, breaking the cycle of anxiety and panic. It can help you find coping strategies that allow you to feel safer without the compulsive behaviours, and it may also help you identify the root cause of the anxiety.

If you'd like help please get in touch.

Claustrophobia and hypnotherapy

help with claustrophobiaClaustrophobia is anxiety which occurs in confined areas; there is often an element of feeling trapped, without having a way to get out. If you have claustrophobia it can drastically impact on your daily life. It can be felt by anyone at any time and comes in various forms and degrees of severity. Lots of people are not comfortable in enclosed or very small areas, or occasionally feel they have to leave a crowded shopping centre, for example. But for a few, it's a permanent thing and even thinking about such a situation can bring about strong feelings of panic and anxiety.

Hypnotherapy and gambling

gambling problemsGambling seems to be more and more of a problem, perhaps because of how easy it is. No more inconvenience getting down to the betting shop or bingo hall, you can gamble 24/7, in your own home, on your PC or phone. As a hypnotherapist, I have noticeably more people asking me if I can help with this issue than I had even a couple of years ago.

In fact, 95% of people that gamble don’t have a problem with it. It's an occasional, fun experience. Of those that remain, around half sometimes gamble more than they'd like, or use gambling now and then to make themselves feel better. The others can develop a real problem where their gambling regularly feels out of control.

Hypnotherapy and young people

teens and hypnosisThese days, being a young person comes with inherent difficulties. There is stress from physical and hormonal changes, growing up, getting (or wanting) more autonomy and freedom, expectations of parents and teachers, pressure from exams, peers, new relationships, maybe working as well as studying. Many young people occasionally find that they lack confidence or experience feelings of self-doubt or anxiety. For some, this is transitory and passes quickly, for others it becomes more of an issue. Research shows (1)  that 10 % of youngsters below the age of 16 develop mental health problems. Knowing it is not uncommon, however, doesn't make it any easier to manage.

Could hypnotherapy help with your Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS and hypnosisApril is IBS Awareness month, so I thought I would have a look at how hypnotherapy can help with this condition. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a condition that produces gastrointestinal tract pain for countless people. Although it is a physical disorder which can't be removed or cured via hypnosis, hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective in helping many individuals to manage the symptoms of their IBS.  The signs of IBS can include gut pains, loose stools, constipation, acid reflux, flatulence, queasiness and trapped wind.

How you should be using affirmations

affirmations and how to use themThe person generally credited with the discovery (or development) of affirmations was Emil Coué, a Frenchman who graduated with a degree in pharmacology in 1876 and worked as an apothecary from 1882 to 1910. Coué studied at the Nancy school of hypnosis; he was interested in the power of suggestion and began praising the some of the medicines he was dispensing, or leaving small positive notes in medicine packets for some of his patients to find. He discovered that those who received these attentions improved more than those who did not.

5 ways hypnotherapy can help your relationship

relationshipsWe all experience relationship difficulties at times, and can either end up carrying unresolved issues for long periods of time or sadly breaking up. Our relationships naturally go through ups and downs; sometimes we're very happy and at others, we can feel alone and isolated, or perhaps just miserable. Hypnotherapy is not necessarily the most obvious way of helping you but there is a lot I can do to help you take control of your feelings and improve the situation.

How to make this year's resolutions last

how to keep your new year resolutionsThe start of a New Year is a classic time to decide to change our lives, get rid of an unwanted habit and make a new start, and after the excesses of Christmas, there is often plenty to work with. It is usually reported that we eat around 8000 calories on Christmas day itself, not to mention all the Christmas get-togethers and New Year celebrations. We exercise less and indulge ourselves more. Because of this, quite a few of us vow to make modifications in our way of life. Quitting cigarettes or alcohol, stress reduction or taking on new and healthier habits are the prime targets for a healthier lifestyle. But will it really work?

How hypnotherapy changes our perceptions

how perception is changed by hypnosisWhat makes hypnotherapy work so efficiently?

The practice of hypnosis processes for enjoyment has left quite a few people feeling sceptical over the years, and thus you may be wondering does hypnosis work? In fact, studies have indicated that hypnotherapy has a considerable effect on the brain.

Debbie Waller Hypnotherapy

The Loft Complementary Therapies Normanton, West Yorkshire, WF6 2DB

Please note: information on this site is for your guidance only and does not take the place of advice from a medical professional.

© Debbie Waller Hypnotherapy is a trading name of Yorkshire Therapies & Training Ltd.
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