CBT Warwickshire

Michaela Rayner – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Why Choose CBT for OCD?

Proven and Recommended

The only proven and recommended therapy for OCD and related conditions is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which can include Exposure and Response Prevention. This is often referred to as ‘CBT with ERP’. It is considered the golden standard of OCD treatment.

Change Focused

CBT does not focus on why you are obsessing over a particular topic or where the intrusive thoughts come from, but rather on making a change to the here and now that you are experiencing. OCD is a constant loop, so the goal is to get you out of it, and what pushed you into it in the first place isn’t part of that. Like any learning process it takes time, motivation, and practice to work. CBT is a very active and hands-on therapy. You will be given homework to do between sessions, which will integrate the learning into day-to-day life. The goal of cognitive therapy is to make a change to the beliefs or assumptions that keep the OCD cycle going, helping you understand that you are reacting to uncertainty rather than real risk. These will be different from person to person, so at the beginning you and I will work on identifying your individual experience.

Exposure and Response Prevention

The behavioural part of CBT focuses on the reactions, rather than beliefs, that keep the cycle going. One key aspect of this is learning about how anxiety works, how it is felt in the body, and why it causes the responses or behaviours that it does. Through this understanding and guidance from the therapist, you can then learn to respond in a new way to anxiety. This has to be a gradual process set at the right pace for you. The goal is not simply to choose a new reaction, but to build one. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) works to reverse the OCD vicious cycle. The meaning that OCD attaches to intrusive thoughts causes you to feel anxious and responsible, so you use compulsions to get relief from the anxiety. This relief then reinforces the brain’s assumption that the thoughts are bad, so the anxiety about them keeps getting worse. Through ERP, you practice the opposite – by choosing anxiety instead of running from it, it becomes less intense with time, and the brain re-learns how to respond to it without compulsions. Exposure involves taking part in an action that will bring on the anxiety. Response Prevention means making the active choice to stay anxious instead of doing a compulsion. ERP must be done in a gradual way, because you are learning and practicing a different way of going about life and this takes time. This is called graded exposure and can be done in lots of different ways. You might start off with small things that only bring on a bearable amount of anxiety and then build up from there, or you might only hold back compulsions for a few minutes at the beginning and wait longer and longer each time. Eventually, ERP exercises will involve doing quite scary things and then waiting for the anxiety to go away by itself, without doing any compulsions.

Are You Ready to Make a Change?

Get in touch now to book your FREE initial consultation to see if I am the right fit to help YOU move forward.

About Me

About Me

Michaela Rayner

I am a BABCP registered counsellor. This means I have undergone extensive training and have substantial experience in counselling and therapy, and that I work in accordance with their professional guidelines.

I specialise in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with depression and anxiety due to personal experience of caring for my daughter who has OCD.