OCD is an anxiety disorder in which an obsessive throught develops as a manageable distraction from underlying anxiety that the sufferer doesn’t have the tools to address. A compulsion that follows the thought is a ritual action that temporarily reduces the anxiety, but unfortunately increases anxiety over time. The treatment for OCD involves confronting and reducing that anxiety through cognitive reframing of anxiety as something to actively welcome in order to deal with it on one’s own terms and through cognitive behavioral graduated exposure techniques in which, with the help of the therapist, the sufferer gradually reduces compulsive rituals or increases the behavior that is being avoided. Specific amounts and frequencies of these exposure exercises are established so that any anxiety that they create is manageable and so that the client develops a sense of mastery over the OCD rather than the typical experience of being mastered by the OCD. From this new experience of mastery over OCD symptoms follows a larger experience of mastery over anxiety.
In addition to using these cognitive behavioral techniques, I utilize schema-focused and guided imagery techniques to explore the client’s underlying feelings and thoughts related to control and risk, two of the most important issues with which most OCD sufferers struggle. Ultimately our work together replaces of the client’s tight, but tenuous, control over external circumstances with the identification of a deeper internal feeling of security into which one can let go of control to feel stronger and more at peace in relation to OCD symptoms and to life in a larger sense as well.
I have trained in the treatment of OCD and have worked at a cognitive behavioral clinic that specializes in OCD. I currently do extensive work with OCD clients and have found how much I enjoy the process of working together with OCD sufferers to establish a new experience of hope which then becomes an experience of mastery to continue into an experience of security and peace.
A testimonial from a client who came to me for OCD:
“I initially came to Dr. Bresnick for help with obsessive-compulsive disorder, but he was very flexible about changing the course of therapy when it became clear that an abusive relationship was the more pressing issue at that time. He was wonderful about helping me to clarify what is and is not acceptable in a romantic relationship, encouraging my self-esteem, and working with me to understand the ways in which my OCD can occasionally distort the way I perceive reality. His sessions are collaborative, and because of that I felt empowered in my own recovery and more able to digest alternate ways of looking at problems. He has a warm demeanor and by our second session I was already comfortable with letting him into my personal world. He is clearly very bright, which might seem like a given for anybody with an advanced degree, but is not
actually the case much of the time (I have seen a number of psychologists for extremely brief periods of time who seemed sort of out to lunch). His intelligence was comforting as I felt like he was fully engaged in the world and able to accurately imagine it from my perspective. He is non-judgemental. Most importantly, he is an extremely caring person, and is whole-heartedly invested in the way that his patients are faring. He possesses a genuine love for people and their happiness that was evident at every session. I would recommend him to my closest friends and family.”