Obsessions & Compulsions

Other anxiety related problems include obsessions and compulsions or OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Obsessions and compulsions differ and it’s useful to point out the differences.

A person can have a number of compulsions on a day to basis and on the surface it may seem like they are an efficient person. The man who washes his car or the woman who tidies her garden achieves an immediate sense of satisfaction. Once the task is done, the thought processes that compel the person to wash the car or tidy the garden appropriately disappear for that specific task. The person simply moves on but with the sense of satisfaction. The problem can occur when one compulsion immediately leads to another, and another…………..

ObsessionsObsessions & Compulsions

With an obsession the person excessively repeats the thought pattern concerning the need to complete the task, to the point they begin to oppress themselves. They become preoccupied and even depressed as a result of the preoccupation. The thoughts come more and more often. The obsessive
act, or thought, frequently concerns the deferment of punishment. The difficulty is, that unlike the compulsive, the obsessive feels no reward at all for performing his or her task. Without any form of emotional satisfaction, the oppressive preoccupation begins again. They become besieged by their own thoughts.

Affecting both men and women, obsessions are recurrent thoughts, ideas or beliefs that completely preoccupy, and therefore dominate, a person’s mind. Obsessives are often people who are already perfectionists or who are anxious to get everything just right. Who among us doesn’t know “a neat freak”? This is the person who gets out of bed at 1 in the morning to make sure the carpet is properly aligned with the sofa.

The manifestations of OCD are several and sometimes bizarre: washing ones hands 30 or 40 times a day, checking appliances throughout the house just as often, counting rituals, walking patterns (never over the cracks in the sidewalk while counting out an exact number of steps), etc. Obsessive jealousy. Constant negative thoughts or worry on the same topic. Worry about dirt or contamination. Being obsessive about health or disease or bodily symptoms.

There is often the dominating thought that if the task (e.g. counting / checking things) isn’t carried out…then something ‘bad’ or unpleasant is going to happen. Obsessives find it difficult to let go of things or stop worrying / brooding and their worries may transfer from one thing to the next in rapid succession, giving them no emotional relief.


Despite the temporary sense of reward, compulsive behaviour often results in feelings of guilt. With greater levels of stress the person will have stronger compulsions. Compulsive behaviour can include:

Impulse control problems (self-harm).

Addictions (drugs and gambling)

Eating disorders



Excessive drinking

Professional help for self-harm, trichotillomania and cutting:

Self-harm affects teenagers, children AND adults, not just those that are mentally ill – Many seemingly “normal” people, even those with good career, a stable relationships, or a happy family can suffer from self-harm. According to the limited research carried out, between 1 and 10 per cent of people in the UK self-harm. One thing most self-harmers have in common is self-hatred. Common symptoms include:


Hiding cuts and scars.

Always unhappy.

Experimenting with drugs.

Thinking about and actually doing self-harm.

Struggling with intense emotions.

Wanting pain or punishment frequently for any or all of the above reasons.

Feeling brief exhilaration for the pain.

Treating obsessions, OCD and compulsions. All of these symptoms described above respond very well to the type of hypnotherapy known as hypnoanalysis. We treat obsessions and compulsions within the context of obsessional neurosis. Please do not hesitate to call or email me at ronvanderholt@msn.com. for more information about these or any other and treatments.