Obsessive/Compulsive Thoughts & Disorders
Repeatedly doing behaviors to the point where they interfere with your life is the short definition of obsessive/compulsive behaviors (OCD). I have always believed that this disorder is one of the most tragic, not only because of how disruptive it is, but also because sufferers are so upset by their inability to control their behavior even thought they know it makes no sense to do. Learning Theory is clear that we do not continue to do behaviors over and over again unless they are being rewarded in some way.
Discovering what is rewarding your behavior is an important part of designing a plan to stop the positive reinforcement that your unwanted behavior is perpetuating. I am not a Freudian, so the rewards I am interested in are not unconscious or secondary. There is always something in the pattern of the behavior that is reinforcing it. That is what we will discover and eliminate by applying cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Some very difficult cases may need to be treated in OCD Treatment Centers.
Things to know about obsessive/compulsive behaviors
- Except for certain neurological and emotional disorders, such as autism, obsessive/compulsive behaviors are generated by anxiety.
- The person doing the behavior is doing it to reduce tension and anxiety.
- The overall effect of an obsessive/compulsive behavior is, however, to raise anxiety significantly.
- Every time the behavior is engaged in, it is rewarded by some element of the behavior itself.
- Medication can be a help in some cases, but it is not a substitute for behavioral techniques.
- An obsessive/compulsive behavior that is 20 years old does not take any longer to eliminate than an obsessive/compulsive behavior that began recently.
“I haven’t studied enough. I’m going to fail this test”
“I’m never going to find someone to marry”
“I hope that I didn’t say something stupid at the meeting”
“John didn’t say ‘good morning’ to me, he might be upset with me”
“That’s ridiculous, you always do well”
“There’s someone for everyone”
“No-one said anything, so I guess it was OK”
“John is always pre-occupied”
How Dr. Schwartz Treats Obsessive/Compulsive Behavior
An important focus of the treatment plan will be examining the behavior itself to determine the environmental influences, psychological influences and history of the behavior. Also critical, is to determine which aspect of the behavior is reinforcing/rewarding the repetition of the behavior. It is that segment of the behavior that will have to be modified, blocked or somehow be eliminated. Behaviors that are not rewarded, extinguish: that is cease to exist.
A Warm and Inviting Environment
Our practice offers a warm and inviting environment for our patients to meet with Dr. Merny Schwarz. Our office is conveniently located off the B & Q subway lines in the Flatbush-Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn, NY.
Dr. Merny Schwartz, PhD