Scrupulosity: Faith, OCD & ERP

Medill Reports Chicago published an excellent article on the struggles people with a type of OCD known as "scrupulosity" face, both in living life & in finding appropriate treatment. As with any type of OCD, a combination of CBT & ERP therapy can be most effective when employed by an experienced therapist. The article features a success story involving Chicago-based psychologist Dr. Karen Cassiday helping a 12 year old girl & her family overcome the hold scrupulosity had imposed on their lives. For those in Chicago, BeyondOCD is a great resource for finding such credible treatment & information on OCD.


"The word scrupulosity means “seeking sin where there is none,” said Jonathan Abramowitz, professor & associate chairman of the department of psychology at the UNC, Chapel Hill, and people living with the disorder have intrusive thoughts that counteract their moral identity.

Experts say scrupulosity isn’t widely recognized for two reasons: It’s commonly mistaken for exceptional faith in religious communities, and religious leaders aren’t trained in mental health, making it difficult for them to recognize the symptoms."

Imposter Syndrome: Have You Mastered The Art Of Pretending?

Ever felt like you were an imposter of sorts? Like at any moment you'd be "found out" & exposed for the fraud you believe you are? If so, you aren't alone. Imposter Syndrome is a phenomenon many people, especially women, experience in some aspect of their life. Julie Zhuo shares her experience of realizing she was a member of this group as well as the 3 tactics she uses to combat the invisible imposter inside.

"You don the disguise long enough & you can't even recognize that you are acting. That you are behaving inauthentically, from a place of fear & insecurity. That you can't figure out how to reconcile the real you with the pretend you. Because nothing is more important that not being found out as a fraud."

What's Really Scary Right Now

In case you missed it, Parade Magazine published a short article at the start of 2015 explaining why we fear the things we tend to fear & outlining which fears are truly worth our attention (i.e. the flu, not Ebola). There's also a great little chart that breaks down exactly what's happening in your body when intense fear strikes. 


Invisibilia: NPR Podcast Explores Our Worst Thoughts

I'm not usually one for podcasts - it's hard for my brain to process information without a visual - but this one held my attention. NPR explores whether or not our thoughts are who we are or if they are something else. Of particular interest is their deep-dive into the mind of someone with Harm OCD, which includes an overview of the most current, evidence-based treatments.

Our Love For Harm OCD

Clinical psychologist Debra Kissen & I have something in common - we both love working with "Pure-O" OCD, particularly a subtype known as "Harm OCD." In this post, she articulates what it is that's so exciting to work with from our perspective as well as what to do if you are someone suffering from these types of intrusive thoughts.

9 Panic Attack Myths

Even though panic attacks are an incredibly common experience, they are surrounding by several common misperceptions. And it's not just those who've never had a panic attack that are misinformed. One of the best coping skills for dealing with panic is understanding what's going on & not fueling the fire with false information. Take a read & see how many myths you might be buying into.

Simple Tips For The Worried

Short on time? Long on worry? Psychology Today has 4 quick tips you can follow to learn how to worry more realistically. We're going to worry from time to time, so make it worth your while!

Do You Have A Case Of FOMO?

FOMO. It means Fear Of Missing Out. And while not an official DSM 5 diagnosis, it is very much a fear that can induce a great deal of anxiety & depression. Therapists & authors Linda & Charlie Bloom have created list of 10 tips for overcoming FOMO over at Psychology Today.

Why OCD Is So Miserable: A Reporter's Perspective

Science reporter David Adam chronicles his struggles with OCD & his fear of contracting HIV in this new book that explores the realities of the disorder as well as evidence-based treatments. To learn more, check out this interview with David on NPR.

Scheduling Mindful Worry Time

Paul Jozsef, Director of The Mindfulness Space in Australia, has put together a helpful set of instructions for how to practice mindful worry time as a way to manage excessive worry & anxiety. While it seems counterintuitive to purposefully plan time to worry when worrying is a problem you're trying to decrease, it actually makes quite a bit of sense once you understand the rational. Check it out & try it for yourself!

Overcoming Hit & Run OCD

Sometimes the best way to learn about & understand the recommended treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder is to hear directly from someone who has been through it. Melanie Lefebvre gives us her personal experience of exposure therapy & how it's helped her manage her OCD, which centers around intrusive thoughts that she's hit someone with her car.

The Truth About Anxiety

The smart people over at PsychCentral put together this quick overview of anxiety & panic - neither of which dangerous in & of themselves. A little knowledge goes a long way when it comes to dealing with these particular concerns. Do you know these truths?

Psst...Nobody Knows What The Hell They're Doing.

You know how sometimes it seems like everyone else has it all figured out while you're feeling lost or like total fraud about to be found out? Wrong! Oliver Burkeman reminds us that even under the coolest veneers, many people are panicking inside. In fact, a little panic can be helpful in moving us forward despite not always seeing a clear path in that direction.

Got Problems? Get Some Distance.

Nice piece over at Psychology Today reiterating how difficult it is to see our own problems objectively or kindly. There's a little mental trick we can all do to help see our problems in a more helpful light - step outside yourself & see things as a friend might. It may not make them disappear, but a little distance can make a big difference in helping us get into problem-solving mode rather than stuck in endless-worry mode.

Avoid Overprotecting Children With OCD

Dr. Karen Cassiday of Chicago's Anxiety & Agoraphobia Treatment Center discusses how the thing that might be most intuitive for an adult parenting a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - protecting them from it - might actually be the worst thing they can do. 

Anxiety & OCD treatment can be very counterintuitive until you understand the basics of how anxiety feeds off avoidance, distraction & reassurance. We're all wired to get away from anxiety or unpleasant feelings when they get intense. However, we can make the choice to stay with them in order to learn we can handle this very human emotional experience.

Breathing With Awareness: An Anxiety Coping Skill

Leo Babauta shares some simple instructions on How To Breathe in order to get through difficult emotional moments. No fancy tricks or techniques here. Your body was made to breathe all on its own. Your mind just needs to start paying attention.