Dr Frank Salerno, PhD Montreal Psychologist 514.515.9350 Westmount Location

Dr Paula Bennett, PhD Montreal Psychologist 514.482.3327 NDG Location


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Counselling Montreal

What are obsessions?

Persistent thoughts, impulses and images experienced as intrusive and causing marked distress (not simply excessive worries about life problems).

Individual attempts to ignore, suppress or neutralize the obsessions.

What are compulsions?

Repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting) that a person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession.

These behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing some dreaded event, however, the acts are either not realistically connected with what they are intended to prevent or are clearly excessive.

What causes obsessions and/or compulsions?

We all experience disturbing thoughts occasionally. Individuals suffering from obsessions or compulsions differ from most others in that they are unable to dismiss or distract themselves from these thoughts.

The question is why? What is the process responsible for life altering obsessions or compulsions?

When a trigger leads to a disturbing thought, a person prone to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) will be unable to dismiss the thought or put a halt to related compulsions because:

How can CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) help for obsessions and compulsions?

Psychoeducation: Obsessions begin with fleeting thoughts which are quite common (e.g., I wish you were dead). For OCD patients in Montreal, their high sense of responsibility for preventing disasters makes such thoughts intensely distressing. Attempts to suppress these disturbing thoughts lead to a rebound effect that culminates in a vicious cycle. Specifically, thought suppression to deal with distressing thoughts only leads to more intense anxiety – leading to more attempts to suppress thoughts – leading to more generalized anxiety, etc... Compulsions are anxiety-reducing tactics which result from an individual’s inability to cope with disturbing thoughts by simple dismissal or distraction. Learning that their thoughts are actually not dangerous but instead fairly common can help patients break the cycle of OCD. That is, if their thoughts are reinterpreted as normal and not dangerous they do not need to be either suppressed or neutralized with compulsions.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): Approximately 66% of patients benefit from the following therapeutic intervention (a) exposing themselves to their fear, (b) reinterpreting the negative perceptions associated with their fear such that the intensity of their fear is reduced significantly, and (c) not performing their ritualistic behaviors/compulsions.

Schema-focused therapy: This is essentially a specialized type of CBT which can be helpful in cases of severe or resistant OCD. The roots of obsessions and compulsions are examined. Understanding how experiences in early life are related to current OCD symptoms can motivate a client to persist with ERP thus improving current symptoms. In addition, a good understanding of why obsessions or compulsions developed can help reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Montreal Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD) Therapist

If you are suffering from obsessions and/or compulsions in Montreal, a professional at the Montreal Psychology Center can help.

  1. People with a predisposition to OCD believe that they are responsible for preventing disasters.
  2. Intense emotions such as severe fear and/or depression reduce an individual’s ability to dismiss a disturbing thought. For instance, during periods of depression obsessions triple.
  3. Compulsions bring temporary relief from persistent and distressing obsessions. The positive consequences of compulsions reinforce the ritualistic behaviors. Despite leading to relief in the short-term, compulsions can have debilitating long-term consequences.