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An alternative explanation

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I read lately that without a plausible alternative explanation to your problem it is no wonder sufferers play it safe and compulse. If the outcome seems terrible and frightening it's completely natural we would take every precaution to prevent it. This is the meaning we put on the thought, i.e if I think this I must be a horrible person, if I don't clean I will put me and my family in danger and they may die, if I'm not careful I could harm someone. These meanings are accompanied by assumptions like, if I'm not 100% careful I'm a bad person, only bad people have bad thoughts, better to be safe than sorry, I must be 100% certain or things must feel 'just right' before I can carry on.

Therapy teaches us that maybe the problem is one of worry and not of danger, this is theory B (Break free from OCD) . Also known as the alternative explanation or on the other hand (Pulling the trigger). Therapy helps us build evidence for theory B asking us to try it out, see how we react, see if what we fear actually happens, rate our anxiety and rate our belief that our problem is indeed one of worry.

I see a lot of people struggling but maybe you haven't been shown how to see your problem the way it actually is not the way OCD presents it to you. A great therapist and self-help book can help you with this, so don't lose hope :)

Edited by Gemma7

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Great post Gemma, I have already referenced it in a couple of other forum replies! :)

The two books Gemma  mentions are perhaps two of the best OCD books on the market right now.  Break free from OCD is well worth reading purely to get a basic overview about how CBT is applied when treating OCD. It may not help us move forward before CBT, but it will prepare us for CBT (and to make sure we get the right CBT).  The other was OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Depression (Pulling the Trigger) which is CBT based but uses non-therapeutic terminology putting the CBT terminology into plain English.   

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I have just read this and it is a much needed reminder to pay attention to the cognitive side of things.  I will dig out Paul's book and give this another read - thanks for a great post.

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