People with OCD often fear that they might be “crazy.” You may feel that seeking treatment is a confirmation that you are weak and that a doctor or mental health professional will only confirm this deep fear. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed that you need help. You are not alone! Nearly one in forty people have some form of OCD, and OCD responds well to proper treatment. You can have a life free from OCD. Presented below are some broad categories of OCD. They are presented to help you understand that many people experience common symptoms, and that they can be treated. It is not uncommon to have symptoms from across various “categories.”
You check that the doors are locked, that the garage door is down, that the widows are locked, that the iron is turned off, and that the stove isn’t going to be running all day. Even though you’ve done the checking rounds, you start all over again. You believe that harm may come to you or those you love by your “irresponsible” or “careless” actions and seek comfort and reassurance through your checking. Maybe your checking is health related, constantly checking your temperature or blood pressure to make sure you’re okay.
Many people who check experience relief from their anxieties through checking, but that relief is short lived and soon the thoughts return. Relief from this cycle is possible. OCD is very treatable. Neil works with people to understand the nature of their OCD and how OCD works so you understand the treatment every step of the way.
Washing and Cleaning
You wash and clean to prevent contamination by germs, viruses, bacteria, and dirt. You worry and live with dread that by not cleaning or washing enough you’ll bring harm to yourself or those that you love. You clean for hours on end and when you’re done you consider all the new ways in which you, your home, or those you love may be contaminated. Your cleaning becomes more extensive and elaborate. Preventative measures are put in place that cause strain on your relationships.
It’s important that therapy to rid yourself of OCD starts well. To this end Neil spends time with you to help you understand the various phases and steps of therapy. Neil will work with you to help alleviate your concerns or fears about treatment. You’ll understand the why’s and how’s of treatment before you begin.
Ordering and Repeating
In order to feel safe you must perform certain actions repeatedly like turning on and off a light switch, or crossing into a room, or counting. You may need to repeat a word or phrase, or maybe just think it until it feels “right.” Instead of, or maybe in addition to your repeating rituals, you need to ensure things are ordered correctly and arranged perfectly. If your hair isn’t correct, or your belongings where they should be you feel extremely anxious and must put everything right before something terrible happens.
Effective treatment of OCD includes something called Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP. Neil will work with you to develop exposures that are specific to you and your needs. Together, you and Neil will gradually work through them as your anxiety and need to compulsively react are reduced. You will find that you’re able to effectively manage your anxiety without engaging in your obsessions and compulsions.
You believe that God expects a great deal out of you and you feel like you continually fall short. You reach out frequently to clergy or other devout friends for reassurance that you’re still morally and spiritually pure. You pray a lot for forgiveness and a release from the worry that you’re a bad person. In spite of your efforts you rarely feel peace and take it as a confirmation that you’re not worthy. You feel as though you just haven’t abided by the precepts of your belief closely enough and endeavor to follow the rules even more closely.
It can be very helpful to talk with a caring and compassionate professional who understands the distress that OCD can bring. Neil will listen without judgment to your concerns. He believes that you are a good person with a treatable problem. You are worthy of love, compassion, and support.
You feel that items, no matter what they may be, carry a deep emotional significance. You may feel as though a receipt, once held by a loved one, cannot be thrown out because you’ll “lose a part of them.” You may feel that items no longer in use may become useful again someday. Throwing away anything causes severe distress and it’s simply easier for you to hold onto items “just in case.” Your house may be full to the point that it’s difficult to navigate. You’ve stopped inviting people over or you keep them from seeing the extent of your hoarding when they do come over.
OCD can feel like a trap that grows to consume your relationships, your work, and your life. Through effective treatment you can be free of OCD and live an open and unencumbered life. Neil can help you find the life you’re looking for.
Primarily Obsessional OCD
You feel plagued by intrusive and unwanted thoughts of violent, sexual, and repulsive images. You find the thoughts deeply distressing and wonder if you’re an evil person. You can’t imagine how anyone could have these thoughts popping up incessantly and not be a dangerous and horrible person. You engage in mental games to “negate” these unwanted thoughts by praying, counting, or repeating words over and over in an effort to “balance out” the intrusive images.
Neil T. Hetzel, MS, LAC specializes in treating anxiety. He uses an evidence-based and research-supported technique called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help people identify thoughts that cause anxiety. Once anxiety producing thoughts are identified, Neil helps his clients modify or eliminate them and anxiety is reduced. Through behavioral techniques Neil helps his clients developing healthy coping skills that allow them to face life’s challenges without suffering debilitating stress and anxiety. Neil works with clients who have: Separation Anxiety, Phobias, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, Performance Anxiety, and OCD.
Neil T. Hetzel is an LGBT friendly, Licensed Associate Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Neil is also a member of the American Counseling Association. His office is located in Chandler, and is a short drive from Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe. He is able to offer both daytime and evening hours. Contact Neil for your free, 20 minute phone consultation to ask any questions about anxiety treatment or his practice: 623-850-8103. You can also contact Neil via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.