Virtuous Circle Counselling


OCD Counselling Calgary

Counselling In Calgary For Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD as it is most commonly known — sometimes referred to as a “Hidden Illness” due to the fact that the sufferer can be often unaware that they are suffering from a mental disorder or a complex anxiety condition. It concerns certain thoughts (obsessions) and behaviours (compulsions). The good news is that there are counselling options in Calgary for OCD, such as those offered by Virtuous Circle Counselling. 

What is considered an obsessive behaviour?

Obsessing over contamination, repeated thoughts including fears of being responsible for harm coming to someone, and the constant need to check on things are all signs that an obsessive-compulsive disorder could be present. Obsessive thoughts have the following characteristics: 

  • Intrusive;
  • Involuntary;
  • Repetitive;
  • Irrational; and
  • Anxiety inducing.

These characteristics can help to identify an obsessive behaviour. If you experience recognized OCD symptoms for more than an hour a day over the course of several days, you may be dealing with a debilitating obsession.

What is considered compulsive behaviour?

A compulsive behaviour has no or little relation to the purpose for which it appears directed. It often is an activity that is repeated excessively in response to stressors, anxiety, or other negative emotion which helps the person not focus on any possible discomfort and serves as a form of avoidance. Compulsive behaviour also tends to disrupt the normal flow of functioning and at times actually causes distress. 

Compulsive behaviours can be psychological or physical in origin, e.g., personalities who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder will have frequent compulsions like hand-washing up to a dozen times (or more) a day, checking the gas stove several times even after having been reassured that it is off, or putting objects in a special order.

These obsessions and compulsions can lead to increasing anxiety which in turn leads the sufferer to carry out the behaviours over and over again in an attempt to relieve this growing anxiety. This may not seem too bad on the surface, but when you consider that there are sufferers who perform rituals up to 50 times a day, you can see just what a serious effect it can have on some people’s lives. 

OCD Counselling Calgary

Does Counselling Work For OCD?

OCD can be complicated to treat because the disorder often co-occurs with other issues, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety-related disorders, depression and substance abuse. The primary focus of treatment is often symptom management (especially if the client has thoughts of suicide), but it may also include education about OCD and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques aimed at changing obsessive negative or distressing thoughts and behaviors.

What Is The Best Counselling Approach For OCD?

OCD is a tough challenge, to say the least. Treatment approaches differ depending on specific symptoms and by the individual’s preference. Generally speaking, the most effective treatment is cognitive behaviour therapy, Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) and/or medication. More than anything else you can do at home, CBT and ERP is your best bet for tackling and managing OCD. This therapy involves learning how to recognize and challenge irrational thoughts and rituals, which play a role in OCD. For example, it may be helpful to learn that there is no need to check your locks because nobody will barge into your house.

In refractory cases, other interventions may be explored, including intensive outpatient and residential treatment programs. Computer and mobile applications have been shown to reduce the symptoms of OCD. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has also been used to treat treatment-resistant cases of OCD with success. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has also demonstrated some efficacy in studies involving adults with treatment-resistant OCD.

With OCD Counselling in Calgary, medications and specialized therapies, most people with OCD can learn to manage it and lead productive lives. 

Can OCD Be Cured With Therapy?

While OCD is one of the least understood mental illnesses — even today, many people think it’s just a matter of being neat or organized — we know that those affected by OCD suffer greatly at times and are often unable to manage their symptoms on their own. Recent research has led to important discoveries concerning brain function and dysfunction that provide us with vital clues about what causes OCD and how it can be successfully treated and managed for many people suffering from it.

So what does therapy for OCD in Calgary look like? An initial evaluation involves talking about your experiences related to your obsessive-compulsive disorder and spending some time with a therapist. Based on this initial evaluation, your OCD therapist may assign you homework: During the next week, keep track of your obsessive thoughts and behaviours and then bring this record to the next session. Your therapist will review your records with you and decide on a treatment plan such as having you gradually expose yourself to your fears (ERP)—for example, by starting with situations that make you anxious, but not panicking.

OCD Counselling Calgary

What Are The Different Types Of OCD?

When it comes to mental health, society’s collective perception of obsessive-compulsive disorder is well behind the times. OCD is a very individualized disorder and can be far reaching. Sufferers often focus excessively on the aspects of their lives which are the most important to them, and things that are painful for them to think about. For example, if religion is important in someone’s life, OCD will make intrusive unwanted thoughts about religion which may lead to ritualizing and checking compulsions connected with the intrusions.

As mentioned, obsessive compulsive disorder occurs in many guises, some of which are quite severe. Whilst anxiety and depression are common behaviours experienced during OCD, this behaviour can also manifest itself as:

  • Preoccupations with symmetry and ordering;
  • Counting; 
  • Constantly re-checking items and tasks;
  • Hoarding;
  • Intrusive thoughts and ruminating;
  • Contamination and mental contamination.

How Do You Break The OCD Cycle?

There is no hard-and-fast “cure” for OCD. The best treatment plans are designed to treat the individual’s specific symptoms and co-occurring conditions. However, this does not mean that someone cannot fully recover from OCD. It is important to make sure that you have a concrete plan in place to treat your OCD if you would like to make the transformation from being a passive victim to managing the problem.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects people of all ages. OCD on its own will not end in death, but it can be serious. It may make you depressed, or it may make it hard for you to work or go to school. The OCD thoughts and rituals tend to make you feel like you are going crazy. However, the team at Virtuous Circle Counselling offers treatment that can help most people with OCD lead full, successful lives.  

Frequently Asked Questions

When you have obsessive compulsive disorder, it is easy to concentrate on the fact that you will never completely recover and the idea that you might always be at war with your brain. What you shouldn’t lose sight of is how much your life can improve just by making small changes in how you cope with your OCD. People with OCD should not feel like their disorder is a life sentence. Like managing any other chronic illness, the most important aspect for an OCD sufferer is learning to manage their condition on a day-to-day basis.

By definition, someone with OCD has obsessions — intrusive thoughts and images — and compulsions. These compulsions are repetitive behaviours that an individual engages in to ease his or her obsessions. Although these symptoms can accompany other psychiatric disorders, they occur together most frequently in families with obsessive-compulsive traits.

OCD has various triggers, which are different for each person. They can be caused by anything from a personal crisis, abuse, or something negative that affects you a lot, to the death of a loved one. It’s more common if people in your family have OCD or another mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. Symptoms may also get worse if you drink alcohol, or partake in substance abuse. 

Book Your Appointment Online

We are currently accepting new clients however being a good fit is everything in a therapeutic alliance. When you’re ready, please contact us for a free 30-minute phone consultation to see if we match your needs and goals.

We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.