Addiction Counselling and Psychotherapy in London

Are Your Bad Habits Controlling Your Life?

It is a common misconception that addiction is only associated with substance abuse, such as drugs and alcohol. Contrarily, we can become grossly addicted to many other substances and experiences: these include (not mutually exclusive to) Love addiction, Gambling, Sport, Shopping, Internet, Pornography, Sex, Social media (Facebook, twitter, Instagram), Electronics and gadgets, Negative or Risky Behaviours to name a few.

In essence it is important to characterise and understand what we mean by addiction at Harley Street Psychology. When we engage in activities that prompt a surge of chemicals in our body, such as adrenaline and dopamine, these chemicals provide a temporary “high” which causes us to be destabilised within our bodies. Depending on our current circumstances we may be rational enough to know that the event was something enjoyable and have strong enough boundaries to not continually use the “substance” and carry on normally.

The problem arises when the experience with the substance or event has fuelled our life with a different sense/feeling/chemical which is removed from our sometimes stagnant lives. This is where we become open to having our perception changed for the worst. We begin to view the event/experience/substance favourably because of the new feelings it promotes which in-turn manifests into an addiction through our repetitive behaviour. Because we so easily connect with repetitive “bad” behaviour and thinking, we reinforce the new need and dependency on the substance which ultimately causes us to feel that we “need” it and cannot function “without it”.

Regardless of the type of addiction you feel you have, it will take a serious toll on your physical, and psychological wellbeing. If you feel you are in this repetitive cycle and are able to acknowledge to yourself that there is a problem–contact us on 0207 060 5257 immediately!

What is Addiction Counselling, Addiction  Psychotherapy and Psychiatry?

Addiction counsellors can help you identify whether you have an addiction and may suggest a course of counselling sessions to help overcome it.

Therapy for addiction can help you to examine the underlying causes that precipitated the vicious cycle and identify any possible triggers that may lead to a relapse. It can also help you deal with any other psychological issues that may be attached to your addiction such as depression, low self-esteem or anxiety. Finally, it can guide those around you such as family and friends to better understand your addiction and learn how to support you during your recovery.

If your addiction is serious, you may also need to meet with a consultant psychiatrist to diagnose, monitor and treat any mental health issues arising from it, and they can refer you to a rehabilitation centre if a residential stay is recommended.

Breaking the Addiction Cycle – The Harley Street Psychology™ Method

Addictions most commonly are treated with the aid of a 12 step programme that essentially guarantees the success in overcoming the addiction to either drugs, drink, food, sex, love or any other potentially addictive substance or act. The concern here is that there is no pivotal research that indicates the success of such programmes and there have been three primary studies which have researched the efficacy of AA styled programmes, only to find that they are obsolete and have a higher relapse rate than a fully tailored and bespoke psycho-therapeutic intervention.

In lay mans terms, the process of AA style meetings provides a platform for people who are struggling with addictive behaviours to identify with the experiences and stories of “recovering addicts” so that they can gain perspective on their life experience with the aid of the “buddy” programme or “sponsor” to help through difficult periods when they want to give into their addiction.

Historically AA programs have introduced quite an evangelical style to the meetings with the hope that by introducing God or Godly ways into the meetings there can be a displacement of substances for something more spiritually fulfilling.

By no means is this a dismissal of this process and depending on the depth of belief of the person, this may work, however there is not enough evidence to point the substance abuser in the direction of actually learning how to change unhelpful behaviours and understand the need for such behaviours and choices.

Some thoughts to ponder when reaching the point of looking for help:

  1. you will naturally be using the substance to soothe a part of you that needs kindness and love. Possibly both of which you are unable to give yourself, which can translate into an inability to care for yourself.
  2. the substance abuse creates a perfect strategy always available to prevent you from dealing with the core issues in your life and making the necessary choices to adapt and change for the better.
  3. There are constant excuses being used to avoid taking responsibility for your actions and choices
  4. You will often sabotage any form of positive relationship and supplement it once again with the use of substances when things go wrong.
  5. There has to be a desire to change and be dedicated to your growth and have a willingness to look at the core pains you carry.
  6. There has to be a dedication and persistence in finding the root and core issue that is holding you in the repetitive cycle

At Harley Street Psychology™, our psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors and psychiatrists work with the full range of addictions, addictive behaviours and thinking.

It takes 21 days biologically to create a new habit, and it takes 90 days of consistency to break a bad habit. This is a rule of thumb largely dependant on your ability to replace bad behaviours and thinking patterns consistently with new and more effective healthy ones. We will assess all the causes and negative thinking and behaving patterns contributing to the addiction. With this added insight and a bespoke plan will allow you once again a sense of freedom to break away from the hold that the addiction has on your life. Each session will focus on helping you gain the crucial self-understanding necessary to disarm the core need for the addiction. You will in essence recalibrate the way you relate to the addiction and the readjust the thinking patterns that keep you tied into the current negative belief system you have.

Accessing Addiction Counselling, Psychotherapy and Psychiatry Services at HarleyStreet Psychology™, London

Harley Street Psychology has an extensive network of therapists and inclusive of Specialist Psychiatrists offering addiction treatment.

Call us on 0207 060 5257 for a free consultation so we can acquire a better understanding of how we can help you overcome your struggle with addiction.

Further reading on addiction counselling:

  • Internet Addiction: Laura Perdrew
  • Addiction the brain disease: Dale Carison
  • The Porn Addiction Cure:Paul Stephenson
  • Rewired a new approach to addiction: Erica Spiegelman

Content is copyright of Harley  Street Psychology™

Anxiety Counselling and Psychotherapy in London

Feeling Anxious, Panicky, Fearful or Tense?

Anxiety is more commonly characterised by increased nervousness and feelings of emotional discomfort throughout the body. What may occur at varied times is the inclusion of bodily sweats, increased heart rate, sweaty palms, a sense of loosing consciousness, a sense of dread, worry about consequences and the future, muscle spasms, hyperventilation, forgetfulness and sheer panic.

We have been taught that anxiety is a “fight” or “flight” response, which we associate with something dangerous in our immediate environment which prompts us to either face up to the situation and “fight” or run away “flight”. This is the general attitude towards explaining anxiety. In not so many words, this is not a good enough explanation in how to understand this bodily and mental occurrence which has such great potential to disarm us and make us panic.

Over the years here at Harley Street Psychology we have noticed that will all the clients that present with anxiety, there is a common characteristic which is seldom addressed by many other professionals. This phenomena is the actual reason why anxiety presents itself and takes such a hold on our thinking and bodies.

If you could picture anxiety representing an emotional cap within our bodies. Underneath this anxiety cap is a whole myriad of unprocessed emotions which we avoid.

We choose to avoid emotions because, emotional pain appears to be more unbearable than physical pain which makes us need anxiety even more than our desire for its removal.

We found that there was an unconscious decision made within the body that it would be safer and somewhat easier to deal with one main emotion (anxiety)at a time instead of a whole range of varied emotions equal in intensity. The body and mind collaborate and arrive at a decision  that prompts us to focus primarily on the anxiety.  This response is quite remarkable because the focus on anxiety comes with the knowledge that we will not die from anxiety or a panic attack–even though during a panic attack it may feel like we are having a heart attack.

Anxiety Counselling and CBT – The Harley Street Psychology™ Method

It is essential to remember that the core function of anxiety is to make us stop anything we are doing which may be causing the anxiety to occur. If we see that the anxiety is actually protecting us from any external pain its obvious that it is quite a useful bodily response.

The problem comes in when we have become so reliant on this anxious response used to protect us from the “dangers” of the world and then realise that this dependency is preventing us from living.

It is important to remind you here that anxiety is not an innate experience/emotion. Instead if we look at the source of anxiety being fear, we only have two innate fears in this world: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises–all the rest are learnt behaviours.

With this in mind think about how you have conditioned yourself to believe the anxiety and when you go to the source of the anxiety, all you are is AFRAID. Afraid to live. Afraid to experience. Afraid to fail. Afraid to make mistakes. Afraid to be embarrassed. Afraid to get close to people. Afraid to be hurt. AFRAID AFRAID AFRAID.

This only touches the surface of what is behind the anxiety but yet it is to highlight that if you can relate to any of the descriptions discussed then it is vital that you seek the appropriate help. Anxiety is one of the core difficulties that we work with at Harley Street Psychology and if there is any form of fear in your life then you are obviously not living your life to the extent you could be!

Erase Your Anxiety Today. Don’t Wait a Second Longer!!

Our anxiety counsellors at Harley Street Psychology are all equipped extraordinary training in being able to treat anxiety problems of varied presentations.

The services we offer at Harley Street Psychology London include psychotherapy and counselling for anxiety, CBT-based anxiety therapy and anxiety management programmes.

Give us a call today on 0207 060 5257 to erase you anxiety for good.

Further Reading on Anxiety Management and Counselling

  • The complete CBT guide for anxiety: Lee Brosan
  • The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: John Forsyth
  • The Mindful Way through Anxiety: Susan Orsillo

Content is copyright of Harley Street Psychology™

Why We Choose To Suffer In A Relationship, Rather Than End And Move On With The Flow Of Life.

Suffering is an interesting word. It is defined as the experience of physical pain and/or mental distress. The root of the word goes deeper and in many respects each and every one of us needs to understand the relationship we have with this word. I would be so bold as to point the root of the word being situated in biblical teachings and carried over through centuries of societal conditioning to become a common experience we all link with either feelings of shame or guilt. Suffering was historically always associated with wrongdoing. If we did “wrong”, it would be punished and this is a truth that is carried in every area of society to a greater or lesser degree. The degree of punishment may vary, but nonetheless the core of the experience is about using suffering as a means for change or realisation of the particular wrong doing. This is by no means a debate about the rights and wrongs in life, however the role that suffering plays is obviously too central to too many individuals and especially couples around the world. I’m always left questioning the root of the suffering especially in couples. If there is no sign of physical suffering as a consequence of “wrongdoing”, then there will be clear mental suffering, which often leaves me with the thought of how unnecessary this is.

Psyche News June 2015 

Please click the link above to download the full PDF format version of Psyche News June 2015

Panic Attack Treatment

Statistically Proven Psychotherapy Methods That Offer Effective Drug-Free Relief From Panic Attacks. Regain Your Confidence. Face Your Life Without Fear. Free AudioBooks Designed To Dissolve Your Anxiety Forever.

There is a general consensus that one session may be all you need to end the misery of panic attacks… Call Now on 0207 060 5257 for a FREE 20 minute assessment with Harley Street Psychology’s Clinical Director.

We are born with two innate fears in life: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear we encounter in this day and age is through learned behaviour and repetition. The problem is that the feeling of panic is very real and hindering you from living your life. Through the new and tried and tested methods we use at Harley Street Psychology we are noticing a trend in the immediate reduction of panic attacks in all our clients. These discoveries and techniques have a theoretically informed and proof driven basis for their usage, and simply put “we do not use anything that doesn’t work at Harley Street Psychology”.

Once engaged in the process from session one, you will already be on the path to experiencing a single day without a panic attack, then leading onto a life without any panic. Even living one day without a panic attack may provide you the respite that you have been lacking for a long time. This in essence will open the golden door to your ability to:

  • Face being alone without any irrational fear or anxiety
  • Leave the safety of your home
  • Make any plans away from home such as holidays
  • Improve and strengthen existing and future relationships with loved ones
  • Be at peace with yourself with no sudden fluctuations of anxiety or panic
  • Experience sound and restful sleep without heart palpitations or ruminating on thoughts
  • Sky rocket your self confidence
  • Embracing the day from the second you wake up
  • Having the ability to be social, charismatic, attractive and talkative
  • Feeling confident and comfortable in crowds of people
  • Allowing yourself to be more adventurous and open to new activities
  • Having certainty that you are not doomed and you have the ability to face anything in your future
  • Having total freedom from intrusive thoughts and being in control of your mind
  • Expand your social circle and embrace your new ability to socialise with ease
  • Be assured that you will not be fearful or have a panic attack when speaking publically
  • Save money on the countless bills for medication, anti-anxiolytics and prescription drugs
  • Enjoy mental clarity, a feeling of freedom and a life you’ve always wanted to have

You may be suffering from very real symptoms not diagnosable by your GP to be anything of serious concern, these may include:

Heart palpitations, tightness in your chest, pain when you breathe, dizzy spells, difficulty breathing and a sensation of closing of your throat, hot and cold flushes, feeling disorientated and detached from the reality of life, panic attacks or lightness in your head.

Do you find your life is engulfed with dread, fear and constant anxiety?

Persistent worrying thoughts that may not be rational, unrealistic fears of dying, fear of losing control of your bowels, fear of embarrassing yourself in front of others, fear of losing touch with reality in front of others, fear of losing total control?

Have you sought out help only to be turned away with unhelpful answers leaving you feeling alone and helpless with what you are experiencing?

Britain has only recently noted the severity and importance of dealing appropriately with mental health, and in many instances your own doctor may not know the most beneficial treatment plan for dealing with the anxiety and panic. Friends and family are a form of support but often a dead end in eradicating the problem. It can really seem like there is no one to turn to.

This does not have to be the case! There is immediate help! You need to act now and make that first step!

There does not have to be one day longer where you suffer. You do not have to surrender to the anxiety and panic. No more living in fear. You have the strength and power to beat worry, anxiety, depression and panic attacks for good.

You can regain control of your life and achieve the greatness that lies within you. Become the person you know you really are but have been unable to grow into this person.

Panic attacks erased permanently from your life!

My name is Massimo Stocchi and I am the clinical director and creator of Harley Street Psychology. The Harley Street Psychology Clinic has been a source of great inspiration and positive change for numerous individuals, couples and groups who attend our individual sessions and seminars for various difficulties.

The methods used within Harley Street Psychology to eradicate Panic Attacks and Anxiety have come from years of researching and fine tuning an authentic and no-nonsense approach which hits at the core of the anxiety and panic. Our research is constantly being collected and will form part of a new published book and therapy program.

The system in use has been in development for the past 8 years where there has been a consistent process of refinement to offer a proven formula and programme to help you live a life without anxiety and panic attacks forever. I provide you with the necessary knowledge needed to erase your previous relationship with anxiety and panic attacks from the first session. The system is easy to learn and master in a relaxed and calm environment.

Individuals suffering with anxiety and panic attacks are referred to us from all around the world. Even when they believe they have tried every imaginable cure they are guaranteed to experience a new lease on life.

Fill out your details on the contact form and we will have someone contact you within 2 hours or call now on 0207 060 5257 for a free 20 minute assessment.

Panic Attacks Can Be Easily Resolved

A problem with people who suffer from panic attacks is that they believe so greatly in the process and the existence of the panic attack that they can no longer see any hope or believe that their lives could truly exist without them. 90% of the problem lies in being able to convince you of the simple fact that your life has become tailored to include the anxiety and panic attacks that they are now common sense for you.

A key to pushing you to regain control lies in the way you have ranked anxiety and panic on your list of priorities. By being so focused on its existence and worrying about it 24/7, you are allowing yourself valuable time to create unnecessary habits and reinforce these habits making it harder for the anxiety and panic to leave. 100% of the people that come through Harley Street Psychology’s doors have not been able to unpick their anxiety and panic to the necessary level to truly change the habits and behaviors maintaining its existence.

This is why it is vital that you act on this now and not leave it for another day. We have one opportunity in life to live the life we want and you are squandering it on maintaining a vicious and unhealthy cycle that can be erased forever!!

It is essential to realize that there is no quick fix in life. Think about how much time and energy you have invested in perfecting your anxiety and panic attacks. You have spent an uncountable amount of valuable time on thinking, breathing, tasting and acting on this anxiety. We’ve all hear that we cant teach old dogs new tricks, but this is not true! You may not be able to teach old dogs new tricks linguistically, but once we change your thinking and behaviors all else follows like a charm.


Contact Form and Assessment



A noted trend in teenage girls from the age of 14-17: Self Harm

A noted trend in teenage girls from the age of 14-17: Self Harm

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A trend that seems to be developing among teenage girls between the ages of 14 – 17 is an inability to process their emotions, which leads them to use self-harm as a means of emotion regulation. What has been noticed is a distinct inability to digest anger and frustration, which needs a much-required outlet.

Society appears to be more focused on the mindfulness revolution, which aims at pacifying one’s over-thinking and tumultuous emotional states.

We are all for mindfulness practice and we benefit greatly from this practice. However, concern is raised when it seems that every problem we have is referred to a dose of mindfulness as a cure. It is clear that we all have the capacity to sit with uncomfortable feelings and emotions and because mindfulness is a practice, its effectiveness is in the practice. It does take some time before a sure level of tranquility is reached, but one does eventually reach this tranquil state when due diligence is applied.

There is a slight contradiction here, as becoming more mindful does allow us to regain a sense of control in life in general, however few of us have the patience to do so.

Moving off at a tangent, reference is made to the movie “Fight Club”. There is one scene in particular that is intriguing. The protagonist in the movie has had his first fight with Brad Pitt outside a bar. This scene depicts his internal sense of relief and tranquility. Obviously in physical pain from being punched in the face and doing the same to his imaginary friend (Brad Pitt), they sit together to discuss the chain of events just happened. We get an immediate sense that Edward Norton (Protagonist) needed to find an outlet for his anger. Grossly unorthodox in the manner in which it arises, he recognizes the immensity of his internal relief by being able to simply let this anger out in a fashion that general society would not condone.

By no means is this suggesting that young 14 – 17 year old girls go out and create a fight club. However this does suggest that alternate ways of embracing anger towards others needs to be considered before there is the inevitable shift towards self-blame and loathing.

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Due to the process of conditioning through repetition, these young girls find themselves in a difficult cycle to break out of. On one level they have convinced themselves that it is easier to cut and self harm because the effect is almost immediate, in comparison to using traditional psychological tools. You will often hear the phrase that “it is easier to cut than to do a mindfulness exercise or an alternative method of distraction”.

Let me explain the anatomy of this type of belief system. At onset, you have an individual who is trying to make sense of the world. From social conditioning she establishes that it is inappropriate to display anger or to share this with peers and parents due to the inevitable reaction that there is no point in getting angry. So she feels dismissed and the emotions she feels are squashed. The girl therefore begins to internalize her anger instead of finding an external release. This is where the mind/body conflict begins to take a turn for the worse. Due to the immense emotional pressure and buildup she feels, there are two paths in which this can follow.

  1. The use of self-harming techniques, which induce a different yet distracting pain, which deters from her centering her focus on the emotional pain. With a bit of consistency, reinforced by a changing core belief system that she actually deserves this, convinces her to see this as a successful means of processing the underlying rage and emotional pain.
  2. The second path follows a more unconscious process based on the research of Dr Sano. Here the emotional buildup and rage needs to find some type of release but instead imbeds itself into the creation of a bodily ailment eg: lower back pain. The protection mechanism of the unconscious mind forces the body to embody this rage, which causes bodily pain instead of the body having to face emotional pain. This suggests that it is more excruciating to face emotional pain than the physical cutting.

You will find that avoidance and resistance to facing emotional pain is a common human condition, yet a source of great relief and healing. Part of the problem is allowing oneself the luxury of being guided to the site of pain. Secondly, when you are there, having the courage to sit and process and digest the range of pain behind the rage at the self and others.

Coming back to the trend first mentioned. I have identified that part of the problem is the lack of psycho-education in this age range. The harsh reality that they are being placed under more stress and demands from school, which detracts them from actually having a childhood. Moreover, schools teaching them little of value which could be used in the outside world i.e: how to realize one’s full potential and knowing how to achieve it; what is your meaning and purpose and how to instill and cultivate the necessary values to acquire greatness; how to deal with negative thinking and emotions.

Another part of the problem is related to the effects of the media and social contagion. Drawing on social contagion, awareness of self-harm has increased significantly over the years, partly through reference to self-harm in the media and popular culture. Related to the notion of social contagion, the internet is a social and cultural resource which can have a powerful impact on young people, and particularly vulnerable young people at risk of self-harm. For example, research conducted recently indicated that young people at risk of self-harm tended to be online for longer periods of time than other teenagers (Daine et al., 2013).

Although the internet may represent a preferred way of communicating with others for isolated adolescents, and the anonymous e-communication may be particularly appealing for those experiencing psychological difficulties and emotional distress, and for those who do not feel comfortable discussing their experiences of self harm offline, research has indicated there are several risks associated with this particular form of content and communication. For example, a recent review (Daine et al., 2013) indicated that one study reviewed highlighted that young people using internet forums appeared to normalise self-harm, and rather than talking about how to reduce self-harming behaviour, the study indicated the forums were used a way to swap tips on how to hide the problem and did not make the users feel any better. Therefore this suggests that some internet forums may actually reinforce self harming behaviour for some individuals, especially when the material is repeatedly accessed.

In addition, the review also indicated that one study highlighted that some users showed increased distress following a visit to an internet forum. Whilst some studies suggested that young people who went online to find out more about self-harm were exposed to violent imagery and then went on to self-harm themselves. Worryingly, the review concluded that internet use is linked with more violent methods of self-harm. Therefore, is it clearly important for the media to support vulnerable individuals, rather than promote the use of self-harm.

Related to the difficulties surrounding adolescence, identity formation is an extremely important development task during adolescence, and self-harming behaviour has been indicated to be a means of dealing with identity confusion (Claes, Luyckx, & Bijttebier, 2014). Related to the notion of identity and drawing on social identity theory (Brown, Eicher, & Petrie, 1986), a small minority of adolescents have been indicated to self harm in order to reinforce their group identity e.g. feel more like they are a part of the group (Young, Sproeber, Groschwitz, Preiss, & Plener, 2014). Moreover, drawing on the difficulties surrounding adolescence and fitting in with peers, and gaining acceptance from those around us, another part of the problem relates to invalidation or lack of acceptance. For example, a recent study indicated a high degree of peer invalidation predicted engagement in self harming behaviours in girls (Yen et al., 2014). This highlights a clear need to assess adolescents’ feelings of invalidation or lack of acceptance.

Furthermore, in line with the risk factors of other negative coping mechanisms, there are also various other risk factors for self-harm including a history of child abuse or trauma, adverse life events, bullying, family and peer conflict, low self-esteem and a persistent sense of hopelessness and poverty (Hawton & James, 2005). For example, bullying has been linked to a propensity to self harm during adolescence. One study found that children who were exposed to chronic bullying over a number of years at primary school were nearly five times more likely to self harm six to seven years later in adolescence (Lereya et al., 2013). This indicates bullying should also be considered as an important potential risk factor and that children should be provided with support to speak out about bullying and to not suffer in silence.

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Given that self-harming behaviour is a serious public health concern which is increasing, particularly among younger girls aged 14-18, and since it is a risk factor for suicide attempts, there is a clear need for appropriate assessment and management of self-harm in young girls.

It is important for us to gain a greater understanding into the problems which are contributing to this trend, and to gain a greater understanding of the key risk factors of self-harm in order to inform existing interventions, and to develop new and effective treatment interventions which are both accessible and acceptable for girls engaging in self-harm. In addition, in order to reduce the risk of suicide, there should be good management of the care pathway of vulnerable individuals as they move from child and adolescent to adult services in order to ensure continuity of care.


Brown, B. B., Eicher, S. A., & Petrie, S. (1986). The importance of peer group (“crowd”) affiliation in adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 9 (1), 73-96.

Claes, L., Luyckx, K., & Bijttebier, P. (2014). Non-suicidal self-injury in adolescents: Prevalence and associations with identity formation above and beyond depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 61-62, 101-104.

Daine, K., Hawton, K., Singaravelu, V., Stewart, A., Simkin, S., & Montgomery, P. (2013). The Power of the Web: A Systematic Review of Studies of the Influence of the Internet on Self-Harm and Suicide in Young People. PloS ONE, 8 (10), 1-6.

Hawton, K., & James, A. (2005). Suicide and deliberate self harm in young people. British Medical Journal, 330 (7496), 891-894

Lereya, S. T., Winsper, C., Heron, J., Lewis, G., Gunnell, D., Fisher, H. L., Wolke, D. (2013). Being bullied during childhood and the prospective pathways to self-harm in late adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52 (6), 608-618.

Yen, S., Kuehn, K., Tezanos, K., Weinstock, L. M., Solomon, K., & Spirito, A. Perceived family and peer invalidation as predictors of adolescent suicidal behaviors and self-mutilation. [published online ahead of print September, 29, 2014]. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Young, R., Sproeber, N., Groschwitz, R. C., Preiss, M., & Plener, P. L. (2014). Why alternative teenagers self-harm: exploring the link between non-suicidal self-injury, attempted suicide and adolescent identity. Biomedcentral Psychiatry, 14 (137), 1-14.


Growing Trends in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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Growing Trends in OCD

OCD is an abbreviation for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is a disorder that can manifest at any age, however people who have the disorder will explain that they showed tendencies towards having OCD traits from a young age. There are a number of misconceptions when OCD is thought of. The common mistake is the term OCD is used flippantly to explain an excessive need for tidiness and cleanliness. This disorder in reality has the tendency to morph into very difficult and excessively grotesque variations of behaviour and thinking which can truly disable the individual.

If the mind can think it, the body can most certainly manifest it. Variations of the disorder include: catatonic states where the individual is terrified of being contaminated where the individual overrides any ability to walk and move; ritualistic behaviours which can affect breathing and other important bodily functions; hygiene and overall bodily health; pedophilic thinking and extremely destructive thinking patterns to name a few. A primary problem underlying OCD is fear. Add habit into the mix and you find it near impossible to stop the obsessions and compulsions. The reason behind this results from the level of soothing the individual receives from either the obsession or compulsive ritual or behaviour they perform so that their underlying fear does not manifest. This fear is often attached to some type of catastrophic event where the OCD is used as a means of prevention, often becoming wishful thinking.

A basic function found within all human beings is a natural ability to sooth our emotional pain i.e. crying. This process is naturally instilled in us and developed and nurtured by our primary care givers. However, the individual may not know how to self-soothe and instead creates a complex web of beliefs and behaviours which detract from their ability to neutralize the emotional pain. An additional problem is the use of language during our development into adulthood. Instead of naturally maintaining a relationship with our emotions as you will find in all children, we apply language to our means of expression and as this becomes more dominant in our lives, it eventually takes over. We essentially become language and use language as the means of emotional expression. Most people believe that by explaining how angry one is takes away the anger, but in most cases it does nothing but suppress the anger more. Instead, allowing ourselves to connect with the emotion and allow this to come out and then apply language so that we understand the reasons why this is occurring is the most beneficial way of facing emotional turmoil.

A primary component of OCD focused therapy would be learning to self-soothe and to balance out one’s catastrophic thinking and behaving. If the individual has no possibility of self soothing in a functional manner, i.e. through self talk, emotional release and self gratification, then there is a greater likelihood of them developing obsessive compulsive thinking and behaving patterns which will act as the “ritual” to induce a sense of emotional comfort. Although the overall function is to soothe, the individual reinforces this behaviour extensively to the point where it becomes a “common sense” in the body to which they become dependent on.

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There is a cycle that begins to arise for the individual, which locks them into becoming dependent on this type of thinking and behaving leading to ritualizing behaviours. The rituals are immensely forceful that by not engaging with them sets the individual off on a downward spiral of panic until they eventually have a panic attack. In most of the OCD cases that we come in contact with and treat at HSP, there is a great variation between the various triggers that can set someone off into a panic mode. However, there too is an increased overlap in many cases where many common OCD concerns arise. Some of which are as follows:

Fear of death

Fear of contamination

Fear of contaminating others

Fear of being the devil

Fear of being a pedophile

Fear of killing others

Fear of rejection

Fear of hurting others

Fear of cataclysmic events

There is an interplay within all the above variations and what we usually explain is that OCD begins to fill a particular void for the individual. We assist the individual in understanding the various patterns that emerge and how to neutralize and balance out the need or dependency on OCD. This is essential, as many people who suffer with OCD lack psycho-education in the actual problem and its overall function in their lives. This in itself might sound like a strange idea that OCD has a function in ones life. You will soon realize how reliance is developed and the purpose it serves in maintaining a particular balance in your life. Hence why it is so difficult to get rid of.

Our 6 Week OCD Program is a key and sure step in the right direction in the fight for gaining control of your OCD once and for all.

To read more about the structure:  

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