A 33 year old educator named “Shania” was fighting relentless intrusive thoughts about going crazy, hearing voices, having paranoia and hurting children at work, including her newborn baby. She reported having a mother with severe mental illness and compulsively asked for reassurance that she was not going to have her life devastated by the same type of mental health issues. Through short-term Exposure and Response Prevention treatment, she learned how to halt her mental rituals, become numb to her thoughts, and ultimately silence her mind. She completed treatment feeling self-assured in her capacity to be non-reactive to her OCD thoughts.
A 24-year-old soccer coach named “Gary” had a history of OCD since high school that had gotten gradually worse. He was fearful of being exposed to sexually transmitted diseases through contaminated objects that may have touched his penis. He would wash his keys, credit cards, or anything else that had been in contact with possible viruses. He would spend 2-3 hours in the shower and would spend half of that time washing his hands and scouring under his nails. Through short-term Exposure and Response Prevention therapy, he was able to decrease his obsessions and compulsions to a more livable level.
A 29-year-old art therapist named "Samantha" came to see me with OCD symptoms that worsened after a break up with her boyfriend. She reported spending 15-20 hours a week making lists, reformulating the lists and creating additional lists of analyses of her moods as it changed hour to hour. She claimed that she collected lists and would feel extreme anxiety if she didn’t write things down. She had lists to remind her to check her email daily, lock her door, brush her teeth, and go to the bank. Exposure and response prevention techniques helped her stop the mental checking and list making and started to feel anxiety free within 6 months of weekly therapy.
A 32-year-old financial analyst name "Adam" struggled with obsessive worrying about being gay. He reported feeling acutely aware of any physical tension he had in his body when he came in contact with males, such as bumping into them in the gym, locker room, or subway. He would constantly compare how he felt with men vs women, frantically trying to rid his mind of certain thoughts and trying to compensate for homosexual images by dating and sleeping with many women. His obsessions would terrorize him during social situations and he relied heavily on alcohol to help him socialize. Short-term exposure therapy and response prevention, his obsessions decreased significantly, his drinking would reduce dramatically, and his responses to the thoughts subsided.