CBT stands for cognitive behavioral therapy and it seems to help sufferers in many types of mental disorders. It can be a complement to medication or stand alone therapy. I will not go into much detail about CBT as there are entire books written about it. I would rather explain how CBT can help people with ROCD.
CBT intends to explain the relationship between thoughts, bodily emotions and feelings. And it goes beyond explanation to help change and develop better thinking habits. It is helpful in a number of ways for people with ROCD:
- Starting to realise that the cause of anxiety is internal rather than external
- Develop healthier thinking patterns
- Develop more realistic expectations
- Understand that latent anxiety can also trigger ROCD thoughts i.e. sometimes we do not realise that having anxiety in our bodies (physical reactions) can trigger thoughts in our minds (not just vice-versa) See below
By gaining a better understanding of our own thinking and learned/automatic behaviors we are much more equipped to “battle” OCD. Check out the quote below:
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle. Sun Tzu
Drawing from personal experience, I do not believe that CBT is a complete approach for “solving” ROCD. The reason for this is that sometimes ROCD sufferers develop different obsessive problems about their partners and the themes just change without “solving” anything, The REAL problem that needs to be solved is that of obsessive thinking that causes anxiety. I believe Mindfulness and ERP can help much more here – I will cover these in my next posts.