"Success isn't just about what you accomplish in your life, it's about what you inspire others to do."

"Perhaps Karen's greatest strength is her personal understanding of OCD. Having suffered and got control over both contamination and harm OCD, Karen really knows how we OCD sufferers feel. It was inspirational to hear her describe how her OCD used to control her and how she got control. Her OCD is very similar to mine, and it was really helpful to hear my thought processes said aloud to me. Doing ERP with her is easier because you know she never underestimates your fears and therefore the courage you are using to face them." (Anne)


What causes OCD?

When understanding the cause of OCD there are several factors to consider.

There are three main areas involved:

  • Biological - Genetic predisposition.

    It is now well-accepted people who suffer from OCD also have a family member who also experiences a mental illness or disorder. This may not necessary present itself as OCD. Other mental illness such as Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, Tourette syndrome, trichotillomania, borderline personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, compulsive skin picking and hoarding disorder. Other connections are compulsive addiction such as gambling and drinking. Sometimes OCD can coexist with the respective aforementioned disorders as well.

  • Psychological - Your personality type and perfectionist values.

    People who experience OCD have very high standards and values in their chosen field. They tend to be perfectionists, highly sensitive to rejection, experience high levels of personal responsibility, and be very creative, empathic and caring. They will be great thinkers and have a tendency to over analyse a situation and find it difficult to move on.

  • Environmental - Lifestyle, upbringing, stress, pressure and traumatic experiences.

    The onslaught of OCD generally begins after a stressful situation. This could include anything from bereavement, moving home, school, being bullied and too much pressure from parents or peers. A higher level of sensitivity and dysfunctional thinking styles perhaps makes the sufferer more vulnerable. If a traumatic experience occurred as in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) this could also trigger the biological disorder.

    Other triggers include illness, hospitalisation and hormones. Many adults admit to first experiencing OCD traits and behaviours around their teenage years. Pregnancy and childbirth can trigger OCD, however it's unsure if its hormones alone or a combination of hormones and sleepless nights along with new parental responsibilities, trigger the condition.

    Streptococci throat infection and Lyme disease have reportedly been a precursor to the development of OCD. Although theses illnesses don't cause OCD, again I believe they can trigger the biological disposition.

    Having considered the aforementioned in some cases people with the biological disposition do not go onto to develop OCD. Why? Well I believe if their environment suits them and they are supported and well-adjusted individuals and have good parent and peer support then the genetics may not get switched on. It is also fair to say they may have had a slight tendency towards it, but managed to suppress the growth and the condition went into remission.

OCD and Depression

"There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds." -
Laurell K. Hamilton

Depression is often accompanied with OCD. It can either be a separate comorbid condition or a symptom of the condition. This in itself can confuse and exacerbate the disorder. OCD at its worse is enough to make the sufferer depressed as it robs people of their confidence and depletes their energy. OCD also coined the 'The doubting disease' evokes worry. Being plagued by intrusions which causes anxiety and fear and not being able to trust yourself anymore would ultimately lead to depression.

Symptoms of a Clinical Depression Include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Sense of worthlessness and guilt
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair
  • Change in appetite (over eating or loss of appetite)
  • Change in sleep (Too much or too little)
  • Decreased energy
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

If you believe you are experiencing depression and not sure whether it's reactive or clinical then one way to establish an answer is to ask yourself were you depressed before you experienced OCD? If the answer is NO then it's probable that your depression is a symptom of your condition.

However this is not a full proof answer. Genetics and biology have also got a hand in this. So if you have a genetic family member who suffers from depression it is likely the OCD could have triggered the genetics which would mean you have clinical depression.

The good news is, like OCD, depression can be treated and managed. Medication such as SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) helps to elevate some of the symptoms. Talking therapies such as CBT have been proven to help support negative behaviours and give you tools and techniques on how to challenge your negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Can OCD be cured?

This is the question!

To answer this I think there are a lot of factors to consider. Firstly it's one's own explanation of cure.

If cure means never to experience an OCD thought, feeling, urge, idea or image ever again then that would also mean you may be cured but you may also be brain dead. After all we have a little OCD inside all of us. We all check, ask for reassurance, doubt, avoid and worry. These are the hallmarks of OCD and they are not allusive to anyone. However what sets OCD apart is the level of distress experienced, the length of time and level of intrusiveness affecting the individual. So effectively OCD becomes a disorder when it starts to invade your personal wellbeing. So if you have just a little OCD and it doesn't bother you then I guess you can consider this a cure.

Generally speaking I prefer to say it is possible to get full management over your condition.

How to Stop OCD?

Everyone wants the magic pill or the magic answers. Let's be honest here. What exactly does it mean to stop OCD?

Well the simple answer to this desperate and frequently asked question is........ You can't STOP OCD!

Why? Because you can't control the random automatic thoughts your brain sends out to you. But you can learn to control your responses to it. When you stop compulsively acting the way OCD demands you to act, you actually take back control of your life and eventually your brain will habituate to a healthier way of dealing with an OCD situation. This means in time the brain will stop throwing out intrusions that make you want to check, neutralise or get rid of the obsession or the intrusions will be so mild that you are able to easily ignore them.

There's a saying which says... "You can't have OCD if you don't do OCD!"

This means, if you 'STOP' the compulsions, which are the driving, force behind the obsessions, then you are teaching your brain a new way of responding. Compulsions are a choice. This is what you can control and Stop! Without the compulsions the obsessions have no power. When you stop the compulsions the obsessions will fade into the background and will no longer be a trigger for you to respond negatively to them.

Living with OCD

I think 'Living with OCD' has to be split into different meanings.

Nobody should have to live with OCD unless they choose to. Having said this even if the affected OCD person refuses medication, help, and therapy and believe they are rather content living in an OCD world then this can still affect people most close to them. Often the people they live with are performing behaviours as if they too are afflicted with the biological disorder. This is not fair and only serves to exacerbate the problem further and deeper. When this happens it's really important that the carers research the condition and try and find some support themselves via a therapist, doctor or social services support.

What if the sufferer has tried everything on offer to him/her including self-help materials, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Exposure Response Prevention therapy and medication, but are recovery resistant?

This is a really tricky question to answer. Sometimes this is the case however, so far to date this has not been my experience. My intuition would be asking some very deep questions such as what is the payoff for living with OCD. What is the fear of letting go? Did they take the therapy seriously? Did they trust their therapist? Are they also experiencing another mental illness or even physical illness? Did they try different medications? What sort of stress have they got in their life? Are they content in their environment? Have they meaning and purpose in their life? Do they suffer from any addictions? As you can see there are several variables to supporting recovery or illness. Thirdly: What if the sufferer has really tried to combat his OCD and has been unsuccessful? This is another area that is really sensitive and not straightforward at all. I think the answer is to never give up hope and never give in. Keep searching for specialist treatment and keep yourself informed with the latest medical advances.

How to help someone with OCD

Knowledge is all powerful!

The following are guidelines on how to support someone with OCD.

  • Listen to the sufferer but don't ridicule or laugh at them, although it's really good to laugh at the OCD.
  • Support by researching help for them.
  • Accompany them to the doctor or therapist if they want you to.
  • Try not to aid their compulsive behaviours.
  • Help them to separate themselves from the disorder. For example "That is OCD telling you to do...not the real rational you."
  • Be kind. Try not to get frustrated and inpatient.
  • Get informed about the condition.
  • Learn how to support the sufferer appropriately through self-help materials and therapist's advice.
  • Try not to reassure the sufferer. Set up a deal that they can only ask once for example.
  • Remember the sufferer has been sold into the OCD web of lies. You need to diffuse yourself from the lies and be strong. You need to demonstrate the correct behaviour to the sufferer.
  • Constant reassurance will give more meaning to the sufferer's issues. Don't get fooled!
  • Know your boundaries and try and keep consistent.

Intrusive Thoughts

Most people experience intrusive thoughts. Sometimes particularly if you are stressed, anxious and or have a mental condition, the nature of your thoughts can be very weird, scary and uncomfortable. But people with healthy cognition realise they are just thoughts and don't give any meaning to them. However someone who is affected by OCD has become overly cautious and conscious to their thinking, and will often identify their thoughts as something to be aware and vigilant about, after all our brains don't lie to us ...do they? Well if you are suffering from OCD then your brain is sending you deceptive messages that make you doubt and fearful. OCD will also lock onto what you care about most. For example if you love and care for children the OCD condition has the capacity to make you believe through intrusive thoughts, images, urges and ideas that you are a monster because you are having terrifying thoughts of harm towards them.

In my practice is vital for the client to understand, this is not them and the intrusions have no true bearing on them as a person. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Intrusive, abhorrent thoughts are the hallmark of OCD. As disturbing as they may seem it is possible through therapy and understanding to be able to ignore the intrusions and live a very healthy worry free life.

Do I have OCD?

It is currently 'in vogue' to call your tidy, neat checking behaviour OCD. This I have to say is something real OCD sufferers find very irritating and dismissing of the true disabling extent of the condition.

To add to the confusion there is another similar named personality disorder that often gets misdiagnosed as OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a behaviour condition which enables the affected person to stay in control of their surroundings. People with OCPD really like their obsessive tidiness or inflexible behaviours as it gives them a feeling of satisfaction and control. So the way to distinguish if you are suffering from OCPD or OCD is to ask yourself. Do I enjoy and receive satisfaction from my behaviours or do I have to do them as a result of the feared consequences if I don't? People who experience OCD generally hate having to do their compulsions/ behaviours but perform them to stop anything terrible from happening. People with OCPD like doing their compulsions/behaviours because it gives them a sense of control.

Here is a checklist of symptoms that may enable you to distinguish if you have OCD or just some traits of OCD.

  • Do your compulsions/rituals take up more than an hour a day and they are distressing to you?
  • If you don't perform your rituals do you feel anxious that something terrible may happen?
  • Are you overly concerned about safety to yourself and or others?
  • Do you check a lot then doubt that you have checked properly?
  • Do you fear causing any harm to innocent people?
  • Do you fear losing control and acting out something that is completely abhorrent and objectionable to you?
  • Do you feel an overriding sense of duty to keep others safe?
  • Do you worry about losing your mind?
  • Do you fear being around people, children, animals in fear that you may lose control and act out on an intrusive thought or feeling?
  • Do you question and doubt your own sexuality?
  • Do you experience unfounded doubts about your partner?
  • Do you over analyse people and situations and find it hard to move on?
  • Do you find yourself locked into a ruminative state, which continues to cause distress, fear, doubt and anxiousness?
  • Do you avoid, people, places and things that remind you of something you fear?
  • Do you have lucky or unlucky numbers, words, images, clothes, days, colours etc
  • Do you giving meaning to meaningless things?
  • Do you fear for your health and or the health of your loved ones?
  • Do you find it hard to discard what others perceive as junk?
  • Do you have thoughts, ideas, and doubts about having committed a crime without a clear memory and no evidence to support it?
  • Do you have an exaggerated fear of foods, chemicals, dirt, bodily fluids, medication and alcohol?

If you have answered yes to any of the above and it takes up more than an hour of your day and you are very distressed by it, then it likely that you may be suffering from OCD. To get a formal diagnosis you must see a mental health expert via your doctor like a psychologist or psychiatrist who will do a further examination of your presenting situation.

I would also like to add, although you may be scared and shamed by your thoughts, feelings and experience, please don't be. The above questions are typical to the disorder and are neither exhaustive nor complete. Real mental health experts understand OCD and will not judge you by your intrusions. They understand the thoughts, images and ideas are symptoms of your condition, not you. The most important thing is to recognise the condition as a disorder which is both treatable and manageable. The sooner you reach out for help the sooner you will be on the road to recovery.

Treatment for OCD

The NICE guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recommend the first line of treatment for OCD should be Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Along with Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)What exactly is CBT? First let's take a look at the Cognitive aspect. Cognitive means mental, intellectual, reasoning. The word cognitive is from the Latin word "to know".

Often the distress the client is experiencing is as a result of how they are thinking about the situation. By working with a CBT therapist you can learn to challenge your faulty thinking habits and change them into healthier ones.

The behaviour component to CBT is looking at how unhealthy behaviours are causing you distress. Your therapist will help you to identify negative behaviours and habits and give you tools and techniques on how to challenge these by educating you with alternative more helpful approaches.

Exposure Response Prevention is imperative to overcoming OCD. This typically means facing your fear with the support of your therapist and withdrawing from responding in a compulsive manner. Often avoidance of feared situations accompanies OCD so the therapist will help to support you into confronting your avoidance behaviours as well.

The OCD Therapy Clinic blog

Neuroplasticity, OCD and the Changing Brain.

It was once thought are brains were fixed and finalised in childhood and could not change a bit like a machine. This is far from the truth. It is now proven our brains are plastic which means changeable. Therefore what we were born with or develop can be changed. This however does take consist effort. Imagine a stroke victim who has lost the use of their right side of their body. It is has been proven time and time again with continuous focused effort and physical therapy the brain will rewire itself and fix the dysfunctional areas of the brain that had stopped working. If this can be done on a physical level it is also possible it can be done on a mental level as with OCD. Basically understanding what you focus on is what you get or what you think about is what you bring about. OCD has been coined 'Brain Lock' by Jeffrey Schwartz MD. This makes sense to any OCD sufferer. It is the stuck feeling and locked on focus about fears and ideas which causes the inability to move on which causes the distress. Through Schwartz's research into neuroplasticity he was able to prove his teachings of how to overcome OCD through mindfully refocusing your attention on things that are wholesome and constructive instead of the deceptive fear. When you do this regularly you are fixing your brain that is more consistent to you.

Focused Attention and OCD

OCD also coined 'Brain Lock' is the constant urge to figure out a feared situation. This only serves to make the locked on position worse. It can be likened to a brain paralysis. (A metaphor a former client used to describe an OCD episode) Bottom line the more focus attention you give something the more you cultivate a situation. Through understanding this concept and working around the OCD intrusion as opposed to focusing your attention on the intrusion you can learn to ignore and discount the deceptive brain message. It takes trust, time and consistent practice. Always remember 'What you think about, is what you bring about.' It is possible to switch the focus and calm the pathological behaviours you have got habitually tangled up with.

Black and White Thinking is a cognitive distortion.

Suffers of OCD and indeed anyone suffering with anxiety and depression are prone to thinking in 'All Good or All Bad' thinking styles. This type of thinking leads to emotional distress and can even trigger the 'Fight or Flight Response.'

When experiencing OCD/Depression/Anxiety you have to learn to embrace uncertainty and look for the grey. Extremes in thinking can stimulate emotional... swings. Statements like "I'm a terrible person!" "She's perfect." "I'm a loser!" "Nothing good happens to me!" "He's always lucky." "I always fail." "The situation is either all good or all bad!"

This type of polarized thinking is not accurate. Few marriages, holidays, jobs, social occasions, friendships were 'complete disasters' but had different elements in them. When you dissect a situation that is troubling you there is often more variables or 'grey' than you realise which means the situation is not an absolute good or bad situation.

Next time you are emotionally aroused by a person or situation try to look for the 'grey' elements. It will help with gaining a better perspective and will support your mental well-being. ~ Karen

What you focus on is what you get!

OCD, depression and anxiety disorders are like magnets to negativity. When your brain is unwell it only wants to concern itself with safety, hence all the negative worries it generates for you. Medication can help to calm the intensity of theses worries but generally this is not enough. There is more you can do for yourself. Finding hobbies that stimulate your imagination in a positive way, being with people who help... you to get out of your head and into the here and now. Animals are great healers and the internet can help refocus your attention. Planning something to look forward to and rehearsing what you could be doing is a great distraction.

Lamenting on how bad life is for you will not support your mental well being. I have experienced all of the above and I am proof getting proactive is the way to freedom. Get out of your head and into your life. ~ Karen

OCD is a master deceiver!

Understanding OCD is false messaging produced by overactive circuitry must be embraced and totally accepted.

To win the battle of OCD this information is crucial.

You must recognise and detach yourself from the faulty messages....

It's not you, it's your faulty brain circuit that has gone rogue!

When you embrace this whole heartedly you are diffusing yourself from its confusing grips. "But how do I know its OCD this time?" I hear you say!

Well... if you are.....
Seeking reassurance?
Worrying/ Ruminating?
Experiencing themes of harm to self or someone else?
Avoiding situations that make you anxious?
Bothered by things others aren't?
Thinking/feeling you are not 100% sure but what if?
Demanding certainty nothing terrible will happen?
Finding yourself locked on to a worry, urge, feeling.
Experiencing urges to perform a compulsive ritual to stop or neutralise the worry and anxiety.
Then it's definitely your OCD!
Trust! If you are diagnosed with OCD, then it is OCD. Doubting is the condition NOT YOU!. ~ Karen

ERP to set you free

Those who have conquered OCD have accepted and identified their condition and learnt to challenge it.
OCD will hijack your imagination and turn it into your worst fear. In order to get back into control you have to step out of your comfort zone and be willing to test out the imagination against reality of your feared situation.
Exposure Response Prevention is how you do this. If you are doing it for the first time you will probably need a therapist to help support this.
Remember imagination is never as great, good or bad as you imagine it to be.
ERP will support you to become free.

False messages

The anxious OCD brain is deceptive.
In terms of OCD it has become hyper-vigilant and is on red alert scanning for danger around the things you care about.
You assume your brain's duty is to protect you from danger, but it has got very confused....
It is operating through false messages that feel real.
The brain will operate from imagination as well as reality.
OCD and imagination can feel more intense than reality.
But it's not real! Trust me, reality feels and is different!


umination is a compulsion it is mental recall. It's the state of thinking something over and over.
Therefore it's mental checking. You are trying to get 100% certainty that nothing bad will or has happened.
Yet the more you think the deeper you sink! ...
People with OCD can spend hours, days, months thinking the same thought over and over believing they will discover the answer and get the reassurance that they crave.

You will not find the answer to the problem with same thinking that got you there!

However time delaying by using techniques such as the 'Worry box' or 'Pigeon Hole' whilst you get on with your life, will allow the emotional arousal to subside and give space and room for your rational thinking brain. When people have done this they began to realise their worries were exaggerated and confused. Trust it will work itself out in time. Worrying and rumination only breeds more misery. ~ Karen

December 2014

To all OCD sufferers

Wishing you peace and a happy New Year. Make 2015 a year for positive change however ever small that may be. Speak positively to yourself and be honest and true. Remember you are not alone in... your suffering although it may feel like it at times. OCD is a treatable condition. Trust what your support workers and loved ones say, not your OCD. Although OCD feels real it's not. It's a brain glitch that can be overcome by identifying, accepting, ignoring and refocusing. Good luck. I wish you all wellness. ~ Karen

OCD Therapy Clinic

November 2014


Anxiety is our body's way of expressing stress and fear. This could be in a real situation or in a imagined one. Where OCD is concerned it would be in a imagined situation conjuring up 'what if' scenarios. One of the reasons people are afraid to confront their fears or resist their compulsions is because they are afraid of the anxiety and worry/rumination generated as a result of their behaviour. Now please remember this... OCD will always try and sabotage your recovery. It will send you fear related messages that you won't cope or you don't deserve to be well. This is the' hooking in' to your condition. You have to trust it's not true. To be well you have to act 'normal'. Things are never as bad as you can imagine them to be. Trust your carers, therapist and 'normal' people. Stop behaving as if something is wrong. Stop trusting your OCD. ~ Karen

Depression and OCD

Depression and OCD often co-exist. This can often complicate the disorder and evoke 'Pure 'O' thinking. It's really important to be mindfully aware of situations and people that can bring you down. Surround yourself with people who really care about you. Remember depression is contagious. Dwelling and lamenting on how bad your lot is, is not going to help you or anyone else. Make a conscious effort to get into the hear and now by doing things that you enjoy or give you a sense of meaning and purpose. Use your imagination in a positive way. Remember "It's what you do that counts, not what your think and feel." ~ Karen

October 2014

Emotional Reasoning

OCD is also aptly known as the Doubting disease. Because you feel scared, anxious, upset and worried it doesn't mean it's accurate. People who experience OCD have higher levels of emotional sensitivity. OCD will exacerbate any worries you experience. Don't be fooled by your thoughts and feelings. One way to ground yourself when your emotional arousal is high, is to ask yourself, what would a loved one say to you in this situation? What would you say to someone your really cared about in this situation? This technique will help you to gain a perspective over your dilemma.

OCD Therapy Clinic


September 2014


If you want freedom from OCD you must practice ERP everyday. Try and step out of your comfort zone and challenge avoidance behaviour as much as possible. In time your anxious brain will habituate. Always remind yourself if you want to be 'normal' then act normal even if you feel anxious, worried and scared. Train your brain through confronting there is nothing to fear. Remember FEAR is an illusion FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. Change the story and breath! You can do it if you ignore the false messages from OCD.

OCD Therapy Clinic


Avoidance is a compulsion. You know when you are avoiding when you ask yourself this question, "What would I do in this situation if I didn't have OCD?" If the answer is different, then you are avoiding.

August 2014


Never underestimate the power of deep breathing. When you are stuck on a OCD thought, idea, image, urge, feeling... breath... The 6/11 technique is good. Which means breathe through the nose to the count of 6 and out through the mouth to the count of 11. A shorter version is 3 nose and 6 mouth. Focus on the breath as you do so and try and do it for at least 2mins. Not only does this technique help to calm you down and give your brain timeout, it will actually breath oxygen into your thinking part of your brain so it will support you to become rationale. Try it out ! It only takes 2mins.

OCD Therapy Clinic

July 2014

Anchors- Rational Statements for combating OCD

  • I experience OCD, also known as 'The Doubting Disease.'
  • OCD makes me doubt what I care about.
  • OCD will try and hijack and sabotage my goals and ambitions.
  • My OCD brain is sending me deceptive brain messages.
  • "Don't believe everything you think!"
  • OCD tricks and ...lies and makes me believe I can control and achieve 100% certainty.
  • It's not what I think and feel; it's what I do that counts.
  • Thoughts and feelings are not facts, behaviours are.
  • Acceptance and recognition of intrusive thoughts is crucial. This is part of my condition. This does not mean I have to agree with the content of them.
  • OCD cannot take over my core values, preferences and desires.
  • Ritualising and magical thinking cannot stop bad things from happening!
  • Fear can induce symptoms of sexual arousal.
  • OCD can also create psychosomatic symptoms.
  • Other people don't go to extreme lengths to make things feel safe, comfortable and reassured
  • If I want to be 'normal', I need to act 'normal'.

False memories

Did you know memory and imagination is generated from the same area of the brain! Thought action fusion (TAF) which is a characteristic trait of the condition, means, as you have had the thought, idea, image about an associated OCD fear this must mean it could happen or has happened. This can generate false memories. Always remember OCD cannot take over your will and make you do anything that is against your core values. If there was no up shot at the time......it didn't happen! ~ Karen

The intention to overcoming OCD is not to get rid of the intrusions, but to learn to work around them. Refocusing your attention on things in life that are enjoyable and purposeful will support you to be well. ~ Karen

OCD Therapy Clinic

June 7

Strengthen your rational brain

OCD is a misuse of the imagination. People who suffer with OCD are very creative in one way or another. Their vocations and hobbies include music, writing, painting, act...ing, designing, cooking, gardening to name a few. This creativity needs to be exercised. If you are not fulfilling your creative talents then OCD will hijack it and use your creativity against you. All OCD fears are deceptive nonsense and the rational you knows this. Focus on your positive creativity, don't deny what your soul needs. Don't wait for OCD to shut up before you begin your creativity. Learn to work around it. Treat it as an annoying yapping aunt who goes on and on..........desensitise yourself by ignoring the dialog and focus on what is important to you and your well being. ~ Karen

OCD Therapy Clinic

Inflated responsibility and magical thinking

If you have OCD you have an inflated sense of responsibility. This means that you believe you have the power to either cause or prevent bad events that are personally important to you. 'Magical' thinking - performing special actions to prevent something happening (an extreme form of superstitious thinking) - is closely related to this. It makes you feel more comfortable, as if you had more influence and control over what happens.

Superstition is not rational thinking. Rituals and avoidance gives more meaning to your obsessions. Challenge your thinking by understanding your checking and rituals are OCD doubts and reassurance behaviour. Resist compulsions, using time delay techniques will generate new neurons to support healthier habits.

OCD Therapy Clinic

June 3rd 2014

Inner Child

All emotional arousal will evoke the inner child within us. Would you speak to a small child as you speak to yourself? Ask yourself what would I say to a close friend or relative who was struggling like me? Don't abandon yourself. Trust you have a brain condition that lies and cons you into believing false beliefs. Strengthen your mind by embracing this concept and ignoring the deceptive intrusions. Trust it's OCD ~ Karen

21st May

Don't give up when things go wrong in your day.

Look at the bigger picture. Each hour changes, each minute changes and with each second there is change. Anxiety is never constant. Stay present and focused in each moment ~ Karen

OCD Therapy Clinic

21st May 2014


People who experience OCD have not got a short term memory problem. They have a confidence in memory problem. Checking creates more doubt. Get mindful, stay focused, challenge your irrational beliefs and learn to life with 'What if ' thinking by dealing with 'it', if and when it happens.~ Karen


Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment-and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in happiness.

Use your senses to get back into the hear and now by being in the moment.

You can do this by asking yourself... What can I hear? smell? Taste? Feel? See? Another quick and easy technique is to focus on your breathing. This is so quick and easy to implement and calms and anchors you back to the hear and now. It's been proven and is actually impossible to multitask. People who believe they can, are actually switching very quickly. Making a conscious effort to be in the moment will stop all the drama of your fears. It's a kind of time out to support you back to become rational again. Have a go and notice what happens.

Step out of your comfort zone

Recovery is learning to step out of your comfort zone each day. Challenging yourself brings confidence and peace. It doesn't have to be much, but has to be something in order to move forward and achieve wellness. Small steps are successes. ~ Karen


Recovery of OCD is not the intention of getting rid of the intrusion, it's learning to work around the intrusion, whilst not focusing on it. Accepting it's there but not focusing on it is the answer.

OCD the Internal Bully

In life Bullies feed off your vulnerability and fear. They will lie and make you doubt yourself. They will con and confuse you. OCD is your internal bully. It's crafty and will try to delude you.... Even though it is coming from your own brain it doesn't mean it's true. Stand up to the bully and disarm it's power by doing what's normal. Don't believe it's lies by trying to switch off the anxiety through your compulsion. Remember wellness is in what you do, not how you feel or think. ~ Karen

26th April 2014


One of the hardest areas to conquer with recovery of OCD is acceptance. OCD will focus on what you care about and twist and turn it upside down and inside out. Your anxious brain will generate all sorts of horror stories that are always abhorrent to you. Acceptance doesn't mean you have to accept the content of these stories, but you do have to accept this is what your OCD brain does. It has no reflection on you as a person. Suffers will obsessively worry and ruminate about the intrusions in fear that the thoughts feelings ideas etc must mean something deplorable about them. No it doesn't. The mere fact that you are so distress by these intrusions means that it is against your true values. OCD can not take over your will or desire. Accept that you have a condition that sends out deceptive intrusive brain messages. The antidote is to accept your condition for what it is and ignore the intrusions then refocus on things that are wholesome to you. Be Well ~ Change you focus ~ Change your mind! ~ Karen

The irony of OCD.

OCD has been coined the 'Doubting Disease.' Which is completely accurate and rather apt. It makes you doubt about the things you value and care about. But the irony lies in its conning to you. You believe the very thing that OCD bluffs you with. Thought action fusion for example - A sufferer will convince themselves they are a bad person for experiencing thoughts, feelings, urges and images of things against their moral values. Your judgement gets twisted and you trust the OCD as your friend. No! Doubt the OCD and do the opposite to what it wants you to do. Do not doubt that OCD is your enemy. ~ Karen

Guilt and Responsibility

One of the character traits which people with OCD experience is an over inflated sense of guilt and responsibility. They will focus on a past mistake and mentally torture themselves about how bad or terrible it was. They will totally discount the bigger picture and will unfairly and harshly judge themselves. We are all fallible beings. Making mistakes is part of being human. What we need to do is learn to accept and learn from our mistakes. View it as character building and enlightenment.

Negative Energies

I'm reflecting on how much negative energy has an impact on me. There is one area that I'm currently reflecting upon. It's called injustice and when I hear or experience any injustice that personally affects me or someone I care about, my energy and anger grows. It makes me want to resolve and extinguish the situation as quickly as possible. I am currently mindfully aware of how my thoughts change, my bodily sensations change, my sleep, my dreams, my adrenaline and it's all negative wasted time. I totally accept that I'm a fellow fallible human being and this is a natural response to stress. However being mindfully aware of this makes me want to support and protect myself from its destruction.

Today I've promised myself to feel sorry for the persecutors in my life. I'm going to focus my energy on all the positives and the people who love and care about me. I'm going to be kind to myself and not feel intimidated or scared. I'm going to choose good above darkness. Already my energy has changed.
Wishing you all a peaceful relaxing Easter Sunday. ~ Karen

The OCD Project: A Book for Sufferers of OCD by Sufferers of OCD

Please visit this excellent facebook page. It is full of valuable up to date information about OCD.

Good Friday 18th April 2014

Every year, month, week, day, hour and minute is a new beginning. Beginnings never stop. It's never too late to begin again. Don't allow your negative yesterday's to cloud your positive tomorrow's. See these negative events as gifts of learning. There is always chance to start again. A new wiser you, can support a new beginning.
'Happy Easter' Everyone ~ Karen

Worry Box

When people are highly emotionally aroused their ability to think rationally is compromised. This could take up to 4 hours and more for the arousal to calm down. When you are having an OCD attack and trying to work something out 'time delay' is the tool to use. Put your worry, fear, anxiety into a worry box and refocus your thoughts on to something wholesome and constructive. Trust that's its OCD and promise your worry I'll deal with it later when my brain has calmed down and I am more rational. Then give yourself permission to open up the box at least 4 hours later to focus on the worry but for a maximum of 10 mins only. Please don't underestimate this technique it works. I have been using it for years and in all that time I have never opened up the worry box. Why? Because once I was rational I didn't need to. Give it a try. ~ Karen

13th April 2014

A metaphor about intrusive thinking!

Caution! Please be mindfully aware. Did you realise everyone's Devil's Advocate has a secret society called 'The Thought Police.'? Basically, your anxious mind has cultivated a fearful secret society called the Thought Police (T.P's). The job of the T.P's is to examine and interrogate every intrusive thought and feeling - 'Spike' you experience. T.P's are ruthless. They are searching for evidence to torture and imprison you. They rely on your fear and conscientious values. They will use your vulnerability to trick and torture you with it. They will place you under a flashlight of fear and lies and convince you that you have done something wrong. Your punishment is to serve them, by obeying their twisted rules and diversions. If you don't obey they will 'Spike' you with more fear and lies.

Hope and Freedom

Your key to freedom and secret weapon is your eternal friend and ally called your 'Wise Advocate.' Your Wise Advocate is always with you, although your lack of understanding and attention to it has made it weak. Over time the loud voices of the thought police have drowned out the true voice of reason your Wise Advocate.

Your Key to freedom is to get in touch with your Wise Advocate by following these guidelines:

  • Identify the Thought Police as internal false bullies.
  • Ignore their lies and interrogations.
  • Don't be afraid of them. They are cowards who rely on your fear to survive.
  • Switch your focus. Listen to your Wise Advocate who will support you back to wellness.
  • Trust. When you ignore the Thought Police and accept they are just conning bullies to be ignored and you refuse to obey their nasty cruel rules, the real you will return and you will set yourself free.

May the Wise Force be with you!

OCD Therapy Clinic

9th April 2014

Thoughts - Spikes

OCD intrusions are also known as 'spikes'.
The thought or spike is not the problem.
It's the value and significance you give the 'spike' that becomes the problem....
Accept the spike.
But! and this is important.... ignore it!
If you lived next door to a very loud yapping dog, would you say,
"I can't continue to do anything until that dog shuts up. Or every time it barks I have to stop and listen to it? " Most people would find it annoying, but as they can't do anything about it they would get use to it, and their brains will eventually habituate to the point they don't really hear it anymore. They have learnt to accept it and not focus on it. They continue with their lives whilst the noisy intrusion continues.
This analogy and situation is the same for combating OCD.
Refocus is your key to peace. What you focus on is what you get!
Accept and enjoy peaceful life!

4th April 2014

Pure 'O'

Did you know?
Rumination is a compulsion, it is mental recall. It's the state of thinking something over and over.
Therefore it's mental checking. You are trying to get 100% certainty that nothing bad will or has happened.
People with OCD can spend hours, days, months thinking the same thought over and over believing they will discover the answer and get the reassurance that they crave.
This type of OCD is also known as Pure 'O ' which suggests it's purely obsessional. However this is a misnomer as the ruminating is the compulsion.

In order to be well and to conquer your OCD you need to recognise rumination as a compulsion and a bad habit. The intention is to accept and allow the intrusive thoughts to be there but to learn to ignore them and work around them whilst focusing your attention on things that are more wholesome to you. What you focus on is what you get! It takes practice but over time the intrusion will get less and less. The most important thing is to recognise it's OCD and therefore irrational nonsense. So stop cultivating it by focusing on it!

OCD Therapy Clinic

1st April 2014

Nothing is permanent in life! Anxiety, worry, fear, uncomfortable body sensations are like waves that come and go or rain clouds passing across the sun. Change happens when you commit to acceptance but keep going. Learn to ride the waves and use a umbrella when the rain falls.

OCD Therapy Clinic

31st March 2014

Wellness isn't the intention of getting rid of anxiety, depression, worry, it's about accepting it's there but learning to work around it.

22nd March 2014

Exposure Response Prevention Support

Emotional Reasoning

People who experience anxiety disorders and or depression issues have a lot of distorted thinking errors. Emotional Reasoning is a typical distorted thinking error. This would for example present itself with a statement such as: "I am feeling anxious therefore there must be something wrong!" Or "I am feeling uncomfortable this means I am not safe." People with these thinking errors are misusing their experience of self. They are judging a situation on how they are feeling rather than gathering the real evidence of a situation. When you are challenging your OCD you cannot allow your emotions to guide you. You have to practice accepting that your feelings are not accurate to the presenting situation. Remind yourself, "Thoughts and Feelings are not facts!" "I have an anxiety related disorder; I can't allow my anxiety to guide me." If my fear was accurate why aren't others feeling anxious in the same situation?" These are good Anchors and Mantras to use.

Another Tip! Get out of your head and observe what others are doing. Allow them to demonstrate to you how the real world works. Their brains are working for them; your OCD brain is working against you.

Good Luck and keep challenging.

OCD Therapy Clinic

20th March 2014

Recognising OCD

Recognising OCD is crucial in your recovery. You need to diffuse yourself from your thoughts and behaviours. The first step is to be mindfully aware of what you are experiencing by recognising what you are doing. This is when you need to make a conscious effort to redirect your attention on something that is more wholesome to you. It can be anything that brings you back to the present and captures... your imagination in a productive way.

If you are experiencing the following, you can be certain it's OCD :

  • Doubting
  • Checking
  • Seeking reassurance
  • Worrying/ Ruminating
  • Feeling fear and anxiety
  • Experiencing themes of harm to self or someone else
  • Avoiding situations that make you anxious
  • Bothered by things others aren't
  • Thinking/feeling you are not 100% sure but what if
  • Demanding certainty nothing terrible will happen
  • Finding yourself locked on to a worry, urge, feeling.

What you focus on is what you get! Get out of your head and into your life! You have to make a conscious effort to redirect your attention....and when you do you will fix the glitch in your brain.

Here are some ideas for refocus:

  • Playing the piano/ or learning to play
  • Yoga
  • Long scented bath
  • Exercise to music
  • Singing
  • Relaxation (mindfulness CD)
  • Cooking
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Painting
  • Bird Watching
  • Gym
  • Reading an engrossing book
  • Seeing a band/live music
  • Gardening
  • Going for a walk
  • Crossword/Sudoku
  • Going out with a friend
  • Visit a friend or family member
  • Cleaning/Tidying up
  • Listen to music
  • Play a sport
  • Watch an engrossing film
  • Join a club
  • Knitting
  • Learn a new language
  • Painting/Decorating/Interior design
  • Dress making
  • Embark on a recreational part time course
  • Anything that takes you out of yourself in a healthy way!

Trust me it works.
Be well. Karen

March 16th 2014

Your OCD brain will give you many reasons why you can't: "It's too hard! I'm too sick! I won't be able to cope! My OCD is too extreme! Why bother, OCD is incurable!" My OCD is worse than theirs!.... Sounding familiar? I could go on........!...! Yep! I have heard it all! and I've said it to myself as well. But this attitude won't help you. You have to learn to trust in the process of therapy and build your confidence by challenging your OCD everyday. Your recovery starts now. Make a conscious effort to step out of your head and get into the real world. What you focus on is what you get! Wellness will not be achieved by being idol. The reality to any fearful situation is not as bad as your creative OCD brain is deluding you that it is. Trust me, I do know. When you switch your mind set to, "I can do this...." good things happen. Good Luck and believe you can.

OCD Therapy Clinic

March 13th 2014

"Chapter One of My Life. I walk down the street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It still takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two. I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I'm in the same place! But it isn't my fault. And it still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three. I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It's a habit! My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter Four. I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five. I walk down a different street."

OCD Therapy Clinic

Portia Nelson There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

Brain Lock

Authors: Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D
with Beverly Beyette

OCD Therapy Clinic

Book Review

By Karen Buckingham Adv. Dip. Couns. (Registered: MBACP)

As a former sufferer of OCD and now a practicing therapist specialising in the treatment of OCD, the one self- help book I recommend without doubt is 'Brain Lock'.

'Brain Lock' is a self- help book that covers every aspect of OCD. It explains the malfunction of the OCD brain and proves it is possible that self-directed cognitive behaviour therapy alone can alter brain function which decreases the intensity of intrusive thoughts.

Case studies of Jeffrey Schwartz patients helps the reader to connect and identify with their own journeys which supports the healing process via the acknowledgement that they are not alone with this isolating and cruel bizarre condition.

All of the above generates a sense of hope and inspiration for the sufferer which is healing in itself.

The Four Step Self- Treatment Method is deceptively simple, however it's undeniably powerful. If you can apply it, it works and I'm testimony to that. The inclusion and understanding of mindful awareness is accurately important in terms of OCD recovery along with acceptance and anticipation recognition which Jeffrey Schwartz highlights as important allies in the recovery process.

Within this Self Help book there is plenty to inspire you, including various quotes and antidotes which you can adopt to support your new approach to life.

It is evidently clear as a result of a lot of dedication, hard work and research this book came into being. There is a passion in the way the book is conveyed through the author backed up by scientific proof that makes you trust and believe OCD can be a beaten.

Jeffrey Schwartz has an intuitive understanding of OCD and a genuine empathy with those who suffer with the condition. I believe anyone who experiences OCD including sufferers, carers, health professionals and therapists should be encouraged to read this book.

November 2011

11th March 2014

Defining Yourself

Defining yourself through a mental illness label can have a detrimental affect over your well-being. Your brain only understands what you keep identifying it with. For example if you tell a child constantly that he is no good at team games that child could grow up believing this and will not attempt to try anything new that involves team support. This unhelpful belief could become so extensive that it could have an effect on his social life, avoiding anything that involved team collaboration, which would also affect his inability to connect playfully in any social situation. I can go on..... do you get my point? The constant dialog that you receive or tell yourself can become an unhelpful belief. Over time sufferers of mental disorders can lose their confidence. Ah! Yes people with mental disorders have higher levels of doubt, uncertainty, anxiety and depression that create more random negative thinking. But you have a choice. You can choose to listen to the internal dialog and convince yourself that this is true or you can focus on the positives in your life. Telling yourself you can't do something because of your mental state will not help with your suffering. What you choose to focus on is what you get.

3rd March 2014

The dialog of words and attributes I hear from my clients who describe the suffering of OCD:

Fear, anxiety, depression, rumination, stress, doubt, reassurance, guilt, worry, responsibility, uncertainty, alone and panic.

"BOY! A very depressing list!!!!"

The words used to describe their recovery of OCD, once they have gained the tools and techniques to conquer their condition:

Freedom, peace, ambition, hope, confidence, joy, happiness, understanding, collaboration, acceptance, energy, optimism, humour and wisdom.

"The latter can all be achieved through 'The Key Management Skills for Life Programme'!"

For further proof of my therapeutic work being evidenced, visit: Testimonials

"If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!"

27th February 2014

27th February 2014

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has ranked OCD in the top 10 of the world's most disabling illnesses.
  • It is a neuro-psychological- psychiatric-mental disorder.
  • OCD is treatable and manageable.
  • OCD is a systemic disorder and can affect the whole family.
  • Tourette's, BDD, Trichotillomania, CSP, Eating disorders are like siblings to OCD.
  • Other mental illness such as Bipolar disorder, Depression, GAD, Asperger's Syndrome, Addiction, Self harm and Schizophrenia can coexist alongside OCD.
  • The American congress has called it Basal ganglia disease and has awarded it the same ranking as other organic mental disorders.
  • The good news. OCD is treatable and manageable.
  • It is possible that you can have complete remission from symptoms.

26th February 2014

Jeffrey Schwartz- Brain Lock

What you focus on is what you get. People who are mentally well do not fixate on emotional distress. If you want to be 'normal/average' act normal! Refocusing fixes the faulty brain shift (caudate) and normalises the brain. Jeffrey Schwartz 'Brain Lock' analogy sums up OCD. Get refocusing. It will cure you of your suffering.

Check out this link to see how it works:


23rd February 2014

How Neuroplasticity - The Brain That Changes Itself Cures OCD

Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz teaches patients how to use neuroplasticity -the brain that changes itself - to cure their Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

OCD Therapy Clinic

In The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge M.D. overthrows years of dogma about the fixity of the brain by examining the ways in which neuroplasticity - a fundamental property of the brain - can bring about successful physical healing and personal transformation. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to rewire its circuits for change.

One example he explores is Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz's use of "plasticity-based treatment" to help patients locked in repetitive cycles of obsessive compulsions. These patients often "get stuck" in behaviors like hair pulling, buttoning and unbuttoning shirts, hand and body washing - rituals they utilize as an attempt to staunch their sense of impending disaster. Compulsive hand and nail biting often leads to injured fingers and hands known as dermatophagia.

By teaching his patients how to "unlock" the brain through mindfulness training, Schwartz claims that he was able to cure OCD patients without the use of stressful treatment processes like exposure and response prevention therapy.

What is Exposure and Response Prevention?

For years, patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD have mainly been treated with medication and a behavior therapy known as Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP.

Essentially ERP is a treatment process that saturates the patient with what he fears on the presumption that he will eventually get used to his phobia. For example, a patient who has a phobia of germs, disease and body secretions (often manifested as compulsive washing) will have his body, hair, skin and clothes rubbed with fecal material as part of his treatment. Moreover he is prevented from washing himself and forced to wait until his distress levels calm down.

According to Schwartz, this treatment provoked "greater levels of anxiety than is warranted," and he argued that it seemed "cruel and distasteful in the extreme."

Mindfulness Training and The Brain that Changes Itself

A practitioner of Buddhist Meditation for several years, Schwartz began to look for an alternate form of therapy in the use of mindfulness training. Could the practice of focused attention bring about physical changes in the brain that could attenuate compulsive behavior?

If mental force could influence heart rate and blood pressure, could it not influence brain structure as well?

He devised a plan to educate his patients about the structural basis of their OCD. With the help of PET scans, he explained to them that their compulsive urges were the result of brain abnormalities and not their "true selves."

They were not the problem; it was the brain lock in the head that was the cause of their condition. What's more, he claimed that their condition could be cured by rewiring the brain.

Activating New Neural Circuits to Modify Compulsions

Schwartz then embarked his patients on a journey, striving to activate new neural circuits in the brain. He told them that a brain that changed itself could also bring about changes in behavior. Since the brain was not a fixed entity, it could be rewired by the experience of different actions.

He asked his patients to substitute an alternate response to their compulsive urges. It they felt like washing their hands, they should consciously do something else like yoga or gardening. By exerting conscious attention on alternate behaviors, they could derail their compulsive circuits with new adaptive responses.

Schwartz's work with his OCD patients was highly successful. According to Norman Doidge, eighty percent of his patients improved when they used his mindfulness training method.

Some initially required medication which functioned like "training wheels on a bike to ease anxiety or to lower it enough for patients to benefit from the therapy." In time, however, almost all patients gave up the medication.

Brain scans of patients who exhibited an improvement in OCD symptoms also revealed that the parts of the brain that had been "locked" were firing separately in a normal way.

The neuroplasticity of the brain confirms the idea that evolution is part of man's genetic heritage, allowing him to cross frontiers never imagined possible. For this reason, the brain that changes itself remains one of the seminal discoveries of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It has given man greater management not only of body functions but thoughts, emotions and behavior as well.


  • Doidge, Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself. Toronto:Viking Penguin, 2007.
  • Schwartz, Jeffrey M. and Sharon Begley. The Mind and the Brain:Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

19th February 2014

Mood and Food

Karen Buckingham posted to?OCD Therapy Clinic

about a minute ago

Mood and Food
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
Can your diet really help put you in a good mood? And can what you choose to eat or drink encourage bad moods or mild depression?

While certain diets or foods may not ease depression (or put you instantly in a better mood), they may help as part of an overall treatment plan. There's more and more research indicating that, in some ways, diet may influence mood. We don't have the whole story yet, but there are some interesting clues.

Basically the science of food's effect on mood is based on this: Dietary changes can bring about changes in our brain structure (chemically and physiologically), which can lead to altered behavior.

How Can You Use Food to Boost Mood?

So how should you change your diet if you want to try to improve your mood? You'll find eight suggestions below. Try to incorporate as many as possible, because regardless of their effects on mood, most of these changes offer other health benefits as well.

1. Don't Banish Carbs -- Just Choose 'Smart' Ones

The connection between carbohydrates and mood is all about tryptophan, a nonessential amino acid. As more tryptophan enters the brain, more serotonin is synthesized in the brain, and mood tends to improve. Serotonin, known as a mood regulator, is made naturally in the brain from tryptophan with some help from the B vitamins. Foods thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain include fish and vitamin D.

Here's the catch, though: While tryptophan is found in almost all protein-rich foods, other amino acids are better at passing from the bloodstream into the brain. So you can actually boost your tryptophan levels by eating more carbohydrates; they seem to help eliminate the competition for tryptophan, so more of it can enter the brain. But it's important to make smart carbohydrate choices like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which also contribute important nutrients and fiber.

So what happens when you follow a very low carbohydrate diet? According to researchers from Arizona State University, a very low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet was found to enhance fatigue and reduce the desire to exercise in overweight adults after just two weeks.

2. Get More Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In recent years, researchers have noted that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts) may help protect against depression. This makes sense physiologically, since omega-3s appear to affect neurotransmitter pathways in the brain. Past studies have suggested there may be abnormal metabolism of omega-3s in depression, although some more recent studies have suggested there may not be a strong association between omega-3s and depression. Still, there are other health benefits to eating fish a few times a week, so it's worth a try. Shoot for two to three servings of fish per week.

18th February 2014


Healing= Optimism= Positivity= Energy

I've been reflecting on the word hope and how healing and powerful it is. When I was training to be a counsellor, we were ask to describe counselling through metaphor. I choose to write about the mythical legend of Pandora, who was tricked into destroying the world through being asked to look after a box that must never be opened. However like most females curiosity got the better of her and she opened the box. Out flew disease, death, fear, illness, pain and adversity. However she managed to shut the box in time to save hope. Therefore I like to believe Pandora actually saved the world.

For me counselling encapsulates hope. With hope anything is achievable.

16th February 2014

Photo of me next to Pandora in part of my garden.

Happy Valentines Day!

OCD Therapy Clinic

Love doesn't have to be exclusive to just one person. Love is infinite and universal. Love is infectious and healing. Be mindful and spread the love to everyone you care about. Notice what you put out is what you will receive. Tell someone you love them today.

14th February 2014


OCD Therapy Clinic

Your monster imagination will try and create a false reality. Stop feeding into it's lies. Focus on the present by doing something you enjoy or something constructive that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. The monsters of the mind will fade and disappear when you ignore them.

13th February 2014

Thought for the day!

OCD Therapy Clinic

Thought Action Fusion (TAF)

TAF is the mistaken belief that an intrusive thought or idea is tantamount to a real action. For example an intrusive thought of stabbing an innocent person is the same to the sufferer that they want to stab someone, or maybe they may loss control and stab someone or perhaps they have lost control in the past and stabbed someone. Or they may become obsessed with the stabbing thought and believe as they have had this thought that there must be something very evil or bad about them. Consequently the sufferer will feel very distressed by this type of thinking as they are suffering from OCD also known as the doubting disease whilst also experiencing brain lock where the thoughts keep coming up over and over. When this happens the brain rehearses the scenario over and over which only serves to confuse and delude the sufferer that something is wrong and they are compelled to try and work it out. The trying to work it out via mental recall, asking for reassurance and searching for clues is the compulsion. It is really important to all sufferers of OCD that they understand the concept of TAF. Your OCD will try to deceive and trick you. Understanding TAF and accepting it as part of your condition should help you to understand you are not what you think and you are not your anxious brain.

"Once you understand something, you no longer fear it!"

I can help you with your understanding. Give me a call for a free consultation, it may be the answer you need.

Does the way we think affect the neurological wiring of our brains?

The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years.
Norman Doidge, MD | The Brain That Changes Itself

Dr. Norman Doidge introduces principles we can all use to overcome a number of brain limitations and explores the profound brain implications of the changing brain in an immensely moving book that will permanently alter the way we look at human possibility and human nature.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Theorists have understood this realisation at an elementary level for years. This is why CBT therapy is so effective. It challenges your thinking distortions and sets you up with improved healthier ones which supports you to think healthier which in turn affects the way you feel, which also affects the way you behave.

Because OCD affects your thinking and your behaviour it's vital you deal with the symptoms that are exasperating your condition. First you need to cognitively reevaluate the situation and secondly you need to challenge your behaviour. Sometimes just by changing the person's perception of a situation alone can lead to a different behavioural response.

My work as a therapist deeply values the concept of CBT and is an integral element to the therapeutic process.

OCD is a misuse of the imagination.

What you focus on is what you get! Use your wonderful creative imagination in a positive way. Get creative. Do something you enjoy like: reading a book, drawing, painting, playing a musical instrument, watch a movie, cooking in fact anything that takes you out of your head and into your life. Giving yourself time out and refocusing your attention on constructive and wholesome activities will help with your suffering.

I was asked recently this very important question.

"What are the requirements needed to overcome OCD?"

My answer was easy as I know from a deep personal what was needed from me to manage my condition.

First: Identification, recognition and acceptance that you have a neurological disorder that sends you doubting anxious intrusive thoughts and feelings that feel real.

Second: Find a therapist that really understands OCD. Check them out. Ask questions: Do they have personal and professional experience of treating the condition? Do they belong to an ethical body such as the BACP? What is their method of treating the condition? Does their treatment involve ERP and CBT? (Exposure response prevention and cognitive behaviour therapy)

Third: Trust. Trust you have OCD. You also need to have trust in your therapist and their approach.

Fourth: Implementation and taking personal responsibility to change what you can change. You need to be 100% committed to doing the work. You have to accept the process, by being prepared to step out of your comfort zone and take the leap of faith.

Good Luck.

"I really value my work as a therapist but most of all I value the trust and bravery of my clients.

Nothing beats seeing someone so terrified of an irrational fear then within less than hour have a total reverse response by accepting the fear as a lie and a distorted thinking error. How did this happen? Well first it took bravery, trust and then the leap of faith. Yes the aftershock was very difficult to deal with, but once the emotional arousal subsided the rational thinking part of the brain returned and the client was elated with her achievements."

"Today's work is done and I can retire this evening with the knowledge that my client has proved that she can conquer her condition when she accepts discomfort and trusts in the process."

Exposure Response Prevention

I always remind my clients this very simple fact. When facing your fear and practicing Exposure Response Prevention the first time is always the worse. Why? Because your imagination is deluding you. Once you take the leap of faith and face your fear you will disprove your imagination. Therefore the next time will be easier and less anxiety provoking because you have already disproved OCD's theory. It's never as bad as you imagine it can be. However you can't afford to be complacent if you avoid and don't practice your ERP's the OCD lies will return. The key is to keep practicing until your anxious brain realizes there is nothing to worry about. Good luck!

My client and her mother have given me permission to disclose this information.

These are the reasons why I value my work so much.
"Thank you for such a challenging ERP day!"
"I have done so great today! I have had a shower that took only 2 minutes! I got a HUGE SPIKE but it was still great because I got chocolates!"
Amy Age 12yrs.


I love quotes I use them a lot in my therapy with clients and indeed my friends and family. For me quotes are little stories and truths that can stimulate the imagination to think, ponder, rehearse, inspire, motivate, challenge, smile and question. They can be so potent and effective that they can change someone's belief and philosophy towards life. Just one simple sentence can be a very powerful motto that can make a huge difference to your life and well-being.

Today's Quotes:

"Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well."(Robert Louis Stevenson - 1850-1894)

"If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!"(Author unknown)

Hello Everyone,
Welcome to my new CMS website. This is great because I now have complete access to the site and can add new material and update accordingly with additional information and resources. Facebook should be available soon as well and I'm hoping to use it as social media to promote ideas, awareness and resources.

However people please bear with me as i'm still being trained and i'm very busy with clients etc at the moment.

Thought for the day!

Over the last couple of days there has been a lot of media coverage regarding depression. Two thirds of the people visiting the GP for mental illness are woman presenting with depression. 71% are under the age of 50yrs old.

Did you know there are different types of depression?

  • Reactive depression: This is typically experienced after a loss has occurred such as, losing a loved one, a job, lifestyle, a relationship, also physical pain and immobility and loss of confidence and low self esteem can also induce depression.
  • Clinical depression: This is when there is nothing significant that has happened to trigger any emotional loss. It's their state of mind that has changed, which effects their state of being. This type of depression is a biological condition and often genetic.
  • Postpartum/Postnatal Depression: This is depression following childbirth. Interestingly men can suffer from this as well. It was once thought hormones were the cause here but not anymore. Although hormes will have an effect but it is generally accepted that it is the loss of sleep, new responsibility and loss of life-style which take effect here.
  • Prenatal Depression: This is when depression develops whilst pregnant. Environment and genetics will have a role to play here along with the surge of hormones that are released in the brain causing havoc if you are prone or sensitive to mental illness.
  • Bipolar Disorder: This type of depression is organic in nature. It typically presents episodes of elevated mood and episodes of low mood. There are different types of bipolar disorder and if you would like further information I recommend you follow this link: http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/02_diagnosis.html

Please post me your thoughts or questions.

Good Evening,
A week ago I was interviewed by a Trainee Counselling Psychologist who works for the NHS Mental Health and teaches mindfulness for the purpose of the following research: The research aims to find out what is the impact of mindfulness training on people with OCD. The objectives are to understand your experience of the mindfulness part of your treatment for OCD and what effect this has had on you and the symptoms of OCD. Being interviewed allowed me to deeply reflect on how much I use mindful awareness in my day to day living in terms of being in touch with the Impartial Spectator (the Observer Self) and how conversely I choose not to be mindfully aware. I have experimented with mindfulness meditation over the years and struggled to focus. Why is this so difficult for me and indeed some of my clients? Well thanks to the interview and the great investigative skills of Miya Bond (interviewer) I was able to articulate it in a way that never occurred to me before. In my experience; quietness, boredom and reflecting are triggers for my OCD. I believe, deep understanding, insight and acceptance of the obsession has to be developed before observation can take place. I am so good at refocusing my intrusive thoughts and not focusing on them that mindfulness meditation brings in a conflict that has the opposite effect of calm and tranquillity. Generally now a days I'm not obsessing when I practice mindfulness but my thoughts are so busy and random it's exhausting and I go from this crazy pinball machine to sleep. I am naturally a very proactive person. I enjoy doing! Giving myself something to focus on helps. Bringing myself back to the here and now if I'm ruminating helps. Strengthening my impartial spectator helps me to shift focus on constructive thoughts and behaviours. But mindfulness meditation for me isn't something I use to support my well being.

I would be very interested in your feedback on this subject. If you would also like to take part in the research, please contact: Miya Bond Trainee Counselling Psychologist Mob: 07979 260384 Email: miya2.bond@live.uwe.ac.uk Karen Buckingham MBACP

Your monster imagination will try and create a false reality. Stop feeding into it's lies. Focus on the present by doing something you enjoy or something constructive that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. The monsters of the mind will fade and disappear when you ignore them.

"Chapter One of My Life. I walk down the street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It still takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two. I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I'm in the same place! But it isn't my fault. And it still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three. I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It's a habit! My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter Four. I walk down the same street. There's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five. I walk down a different street."

Portia Nelson, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery


Anxiety is our body's way of expressing stress and fear. This could be in a real situation or in a imagined one. Where OCD is concerned it would be in a imagined situation conjuring up 'what if' scenarios. One of the reasons people are afraid to confront their fears or resist their compulsions is because they are afraid of the anxiety and worry/rumination generated as a result of their behaviour. Now please remember this... OCD will always try and sabotage your recovery. It will send you fear related messages that you won't cope or you don't deserve to be well. This is the' hooking in' to your condition. You have to trust it's not true. To be well you have to act 'normal'. Things are never as bad as you can imagine them to be. Trust your carers, therapist and 'normal' people. Stop behaving as if something is wrong. Stop trusting your OCD. ~ Karen