OCD Therapy CBT Private Clinic East London
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder of the brain in which an individual has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts [obsessions] and behaviours [compulsions] that he or she feels the urge to repeat. The disorder can be treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both. Some individuals respond well to treatment, whereas some continue to experience symptoms. Some individuals with OCD can have other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression and body dysmorphic disorder.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and CBT Therapy Treatment
We welcome telephone enquiries in the first instance, call our offices on 0207 157 9924 we are closed on Sundays. Opening hours: Monday 8am–9pm, Tuesday 8am–9pm, Wednesday 8am–9pm, Thursday 8am–9pm, Friday 8am–9pm, Saturday 10am–5pm.) or you can send us a message via the Contact Form online.
Age, Sex and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Diagnosis
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can affect adults, adolescents and children. Most individuals are diagnosed by the age of 19, typically there is earlier onset in boys than in girls, but onset after the age of 35 can happen.
It is common for all individuals to double check things at times however those individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder cannot control their throughts or behaviour, even when such thoughts and behaviours have been recognised as excessive. Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both and they can interfere with every aspect of daily life, from work, to school and personal relationships.
OCD Common Obsessions: Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that can cause the individual anxiety:
- Fear of germs or contamination
- Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts, involving sex, religion and harm
- Aggressive thoughts towards the self or others
- Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order
Individuals with OCD do not want to have these thoughts and can find them disturbing. In most cases individuals with OCD realise that these thoughts do not make sense. These obsessions are typically accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is just right. These obsessions are time consuming and can get in the way of important daily tasks.
Compulsions are repetitive behaviours than an individual with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought:
- Excessive cleaning and/or hand-washing
- Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
- Repeatedly checking on things, such as checking to see if the dor is locked, or that the oven is turned off
- Compulsive counting
Compulsions are behaviours or thoughts that an individual uses with the intention of neutralising, counteracting, or making their obsessions go away. Individuals with OCD realise that this is only a temporary solution but without a better way to cope they often rely on their compulsions as a temporary escape. These compulsions are time consuming and can get in the way of important daily tasks.
These individuals often spend at least an hour a day on such thoughts or behaviours, they do not get pleasure when performing such behaviours or rituals but they may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts may be causing them, and they can experience significant problems in their daily lives due to those thoughts and behaviours. A tic disorder can also be common with some individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief and repetitive in nature such as eye blinking, facial movements, shoulder shrugging or head jerking. Common vocal tics can include repetitive throat clearing, sniffing or grunting.
Canary Wharf OCD Private Therapy CBT Clinic
These symptoms can come and go, ease over time or become worse. CBT Therapy is the most effective treatment for the symptoms of OCD and you can find more about how we treat OCD and many other common mental health difficulties with us here in Canary Wharf.
- You’ve been feeling low or irritable for most of the day, every day for two weeks or more. You might have found yourself worrying about past or future events for long periods of time, or simply feeling sad, cross or tearful. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize a gradual change – have others noticed that you don’t seem your usual self?
- You’ve lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Perhaps you have been seeing less of your friends or family recently, have stopped going to the gym, or cooking balanced meals. This is really about recognizing changes in what’s normal for you – no one is saying you have to exercise five times a week or eat your greens, but changes in your routine can offer concrete indications that your mood is changing.
- You are struggling to concentrate. You might notice that you struggle to focus when reading or watching television, for example, or to follow the thread of a spoken conversation. This could be affecting your performance at work, or limiting your ability to perform routine tasks such as food shopping. Again, we are looking for a change in what’s normal for you, so if concentration has always been something you find tricky there is little cause for concern.
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
– Robert Frost
What Is Low Self Esteem?
We are all guilty of perhaps not looking at ourselves in a constant positive light. Often, we self criticise, be it with a focus on the way we look, dress, our character, intelligence, or skill sets.
People with low self esteem have a tendency to perpetually fill themselves with negative thought processes, reminding themselves of the failures they have encountered and are likely to encounter in the near future. Of course, this has a direct impact on a persons mental health as the perception of self is constantly negative and overwhelmingly so.
Any form of negative thinking has a lasting effect on our psychological health and the further we let these unfavourable thoughts eat away at us, we become more and more convinced that we are just not good enough.
More often than not, low self esteem can be the leading cause of depression. As the train of negativity towards yourself sees no sings of abating, a person become discouraged and even fearful at doing something which will quite possibly confirm their own inadequacies Furthermore, the fear of others finding your inadequacies and your associated sense of humiliation, depression, and despair are also symptoms of true low self esteem.
Fear and anxiety are the fundamental components for those suffering with low self esteem; the fear of failing and of being a failure, and the anxiety which engulfs a person because of their fears. Feeling like they no longer have a place in the world, a person with low self esteem then becomes withdrawn and constantly expects the worst. This anxiety is often all consuming and develops without any rational thinking whatsoever, as a person is overtaken with their own clouded perspectives and judgements.
Another common trait for those facing the misery of low self esteem is over-sensitivity. A once confident person would suddenly become defensive and easily hurt or offended, repeatedly looking for proof that they are being rejected by those closest to them, despite this being far from the reality.
Low self esteem shows itself in very noticeable ways as those plagued with an unhealthy self loathing struggle to interpret their mixed emotions. Unable to bounce back from any situations, the lack of self confidence can subsequently lead to a mistrust of themselves and others, as well as a decline in social activity and motivation.
From the outset it may seem as though you’re just having a bad day and you’re allowing yourself to be buried in a bout of self pity however, it is easy to fall into a trap of self degradation for which escaping can be somewhat difficult. Once on a downward spiral it can be a tough job to pull yourself back, particularly when trying to understand why you’ve suddenly become so negative, and what triggered such destructive thoughts.
While low self esteem is not considered as a mental health problem , it is easy to see how, if not dealt with appropriately, low self esteem can interrupt daily life at an alarming rate. As a root cause of depression, this obstacle influences decision making skills and has the ability to cloud the senses, which can lead to frustration and further anguish. Breaking this cycle of negativity isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible either. With the right guidance and support, you can become more confident in yourself and your abilities, find the inner strength to challenge yourself, and develop more self awareness so you can prevent the way you feel from overtaking you both physically and emotionally.
The Symptoms of Depression
One of the most common questions we ask ourselves when it comes to depression is ‘how do I know if I or a loved one is depressed’.
It’s true that we are all prone to mood swings and feeling low at times when things just aren’t going in the direction we’d hoped and dreamed however, recognising the signs of true depression in yourself, and of those around you is a vital.
Recognising the symptoms of depression in the early stages can lead to you, and other individuals, getting the help they need and for you to find the resources required to help yourself or your friend/family member through this difficult period in time.
The degrees of depression vary on an individual basis and while many are capable of hiding how they are truly feeling, spotting the signs in yourself or a loved one is crucial first step on the road to getting better and feeling better about your situation, and in understanding why you feel the way you do.
In this article we are going to look at the symptoms of depression and what kinds of emotional and sometimes physical changes you can expect to see in both yourself and in the people around you, so if you do have concerns about how you’re feeling or indeed, how your best friend, daughter, son, or grandfather is coping in their particular circumstances, you’ve come to the right place.
The first thing you may notice about yourself or your loved one is the fact that there seems to be a sudden lack of interest in the things they used to enjoy and this runs in conjunction with having little or no interest in basic daily activities. Stemming from the complex feeling of self loathing and the loss of energy those with depression experience, these symptoms can have an impact on friendships and social activity. With these perceptions of self loathing and overall worthlessness comes an amount of anger, irritability, and frustration as a person in distress tries to make sense of why they feel the way they do but are unable to pinpoint any direct causes.
These overwhelming feelings are something quite different from having ‘the blues’ and often spiral much deeper as an individual begins to find that sleep is difficult to come by, and a loss of appetite is also affecting them on a physical level.
One of the most difficult symptoms to spot in others is how they are constantly tuned in to negative thoughts. These negative thoughts usually show themselves in a ‘what’s the point’, or similar kind of inward attitude, forcing an individual to retreat into themselves as they begin to feel their contribution to the world simply isn’t good enough nor will it ever be.
If you or the loved one you have concerns for seems to be drinking more than they usually would, or indulges in any other form of reckless behaviour, they could be suffering with depression too. Alcohol tends to be viewed as a quick fix escape from the stress of a situation or as a sleep aid however, alcohol itself is a depressant and often drives feelings of negativity.
If you do have concerns about depression and think perhaps you or a loved one is afflicted with this illness, the symptoms can be relatively simple to spot if you know what you’re looking for. If you often find yourself questioning your abilities, and if you are trapped in a never ending spiral of negative thinking which is leading to a loss of sleep and appetite, then it’s time to seek the advice of a professional, and of course, if you recognise these or any of the symptoms we have mentioned today in someone else, you can help set them on the road to recovery with confidence and clarity.Learn More
How Common Are Panic Attacks?
It may surprise you to learn that the NHS estimate that one in ten of us will suffer a panic attack at some time in our lives. Triggered by a stressful event, a person can become overwhelmed with fear and show physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, visible trembling, heart palpitations, and a sense of overpowering dizziness. This fear can either stem from something that is current; a stressful and sudden encounter / trauma, or as a result of a phobia or as part of another syndrome such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Health Anxiety, Social Anxiety or Agoraphobia.
For someone who hasn’t experienced a panic attack before, the symptoms as detailed above can also cause further distress and a sense of uncertainty for the victim. Described by some as a violent experience, it can be something which is painfully uncomfortable to say the least, and if it’s your first time suffering a panic attack, you could liken the feeling to perhaps having a heart attack and be sure that death is quickly becoming your reality. This however is untrue, and with proper measures, the panic attack will take its natural course and subside.
As a general rule, the panic attack itself can begin with no pre warning, and can last from just a few minutes, with the peak being reached at around the ten minutes however, in minimal cases, the panic attack may not reach is peak, before slowly ebbing away, for up to twenty minutes.
With statistics suggesting that one in ten of us will suffer a panic attack at some point in our lives, it’s safe to assume that panic attacks happen much more frequently, and to many more individuals than one would first have predicted, and with that, the trend seems to be that women are more prone to panic attacks than men. Triggered by either a build up of stress and worry, or ignited by a sudden trauma, such as the loss of a loved one, the panic attack acts as a release for the emotional anguish and turmoil you are feeling at the time.
So, in answer to our question, ‘how common are panic attacks’ we can broadly look at the statistics and realise, that in fact, panic attacks are not a rarity, they are very common amongst individuals, from all backgrounds, and can occur at any stage of our lives. There’s no set parameter when it comes to common age ranges in which a panic attack is more prevalent, and the underlying causes are also based on the individual, rather than anything that statistics can confirm.
CBT Therapy is the most effective treatment for the symptoms of Panic and you can find more about how we treat Panic Attacks and many other common mental health difficulties at the home of CBT Therapy – The CBT Clinic London. www.cbtcliniclondon.com.Learn More
We humans are funny creatures.
At some point in our lives we start thinking that our emotions, our thoughts, our actions and what is occurring in our bodies are a threat or danger to us. Therefore, as these things come along, the mind tenaciously grabs hold of them and labels them as being good or bad, right or wrong, pleasant or unpleasant and usually does its best to change them or get rid of them.
It’s not those things that are manifesting themselves in us that cause us the difficulties but our labeling or judgement of these phenomenon that get us into “psychological” hot water. Labeling and judging is the opposite of acceptance and as a result causes us to resist, try to change or avoid all the things within us that we wish weren’t there. Which in turn causes us lots of problems and lots of stress.
But how can any part of us be wrong or bad? We are simply part of nature and the natural way things are in this world. How many of us believe that nature itself is wrong. It would be like saying I don’t like that leaf on that tree over there. Or I wish that cloud would change into a different shape. Or even the way that duck is swimming is just so wrong. We just don’t do it do we?
But we are constantly judging and criticising ourselves every time we have an emotion or a thought that we don’t like. It’s as if we have forgotten the simple and eternal truth that we are nature and so too is everything that occurs within us.
So whenever you notice that you are having a thought or an emotion that you don’t like today, just notice the “unliking” and as best as you can try to allow that part of nature to just be exactly as it is, in the moment it is occurring. In the same way you allow a flower to bloom, a river to be wet and a bird to sing.
I wish you well,
No sorry, Antonio Banderas isn’t about to swing through the window and save you. But keep reading and later on you will see how the swashbuckling hero can really help you gain control over your life if you follow a few basic steps.
But just like the young Zorro who wanted to become a Master Swordsman before he could even lift one, I’m getting ahead of myself and I need to get back to basics. In this case, we need to go back to a basic psychological principle about control.
You’re a control freak, I’m a control freak, and the person sitting opposite you on the bus is a control freak. No, this isn’t an insult. In some way we human beings are all control freaks. Because the need for control is literally hard-wired into our human brains. There are clear links to our basic need for control and how good we feel both psychologically and emotionally. In fact it has been scientifically proven, time and time again, that:
The more control we have over a situation or the more control we perceive we have, the better we feel.
This basic psychological principle is so important for us to understand. This one psychological law can help us understand ourselves better. It explains why we react so badly in situations when a change has been forced upon us i.e. redundancy or when our partner leaves us. Also it shows us that when we proactively do things to increase our levels of control, how this can be immensely beneficial to our psychological well-being.
Of course there are individuals in this world who need too much control. Men* who perpetrate sexual, physical or psychological violence on their partners or others, are an example of people with a pathological need to control. This pathological control is a totally different type of control and shouldn’t be confused with the natural need for control that we all have, to have a high degree of control over our lives and ourselves.
So what about Zorro? Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about our masked hero. He’s arriving right now to help us gain more control during those times we feel overwhelmed. In the movie Zorro Returns young Zorro is living a life of a bum and is a pretty poor swordsman. One day after seeing our hero commit an act of courage a Master Swordsman seeing his potential, takes him under his wing. Now Zorro must begin his training. His Master makes the young Zorro fight within the confines of a tiny circle. Around the small circle are larger circles that get bigger and bigger. Every time the young Zorro tries to fight out of the small circle his Master instructs him to get back in the small circle. The young Zorro is frustrated and bewildered until his mentor explains that he must master fighting in the small circle first and once he has achieved this goal then he can progress to the larger circles drawn around him in chalk on the floor.
So what does all this have to do with us? Well we can use the Zorro circle principles to gain control over any aspect of our lives but we must always start in the tiny circle first and must master this before we can progress.
To explain what I mean let’s take a common every day situation. Let’s say our office is a total mess and we wish to tidy it up, but it’s so messy that the task seems totally overwhelming. Using the Zorro Circle principles we start by selecting a small area of the office, let’s say half of the desk – that’s all we’re going to focus on for now. In our minds we need to draw a tiny Zorro Circle around this area. Now we need to tidy up the mess in this small area and once it is tidy we then set ourselves the simple goal of keeping it tidy for a whole week. If we succeed – bravo we can then enlarge the Zorro Circle to encompass the whole desk and keep that tidy for a whole week. With every success we can allow ourselves to widen the circle. If we fail then we must try again or choose an even smaller area of desk to keep tidy. The principal is not to widen our circle until we have successfully achieved mastery in the first circle. Gradually our circle of control will grow so much that we are able to keep our whole office tidy with minimum effort. Now you can celebrate by throwing a wild party in there – only kidding!
Zorro Circles work. They give us a small amount of control over a seemingly overwhelming situation and can be applied to most problems. They also work because once we have achieved control in a small area we can then go on to gain a wider circle of control. And as we’ve already discussed- more control equals improved psychological health and we feel emotionally stronger and happier.
If you are facing a situation at the moment in your life that seems too much to handle or out of your control, why not use the Zorro Circles to help? Often when a situation seems overwhelming it can be an excellent idea to start to make a list of all the things, no matter how small, that are in your control relevant to this situation. We can then use one of those as our first Zorro Circle to work from.
Often when we do this we are surprised to discover that even in the most difficult situations we do have some level of control. History has shown us that even in the most awful situations where all or most control has been stripped from us, we do have control over the way we think about the situation and the choices we make. In those situations Zorro himself may not be coming to rescue us, but by using his circles and understanding the psychological law of control, we can begin the process of rescuing ourselves.
*Yes women too! Although those cases are much rarer.Learn More
“I can’t cope”…”I’ll never get through this” ….”I can’t bear the pain”…”I can’t live without him/her!” We hear these words every day, endlessly gushing from the mouths of our favourite characters as we sit glued to the latest TV soap. In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT for short, this way of thinking is what we call “catastrophising” and it’s not just limited to Kat from Eastenders or Kevin from ‘Corrie’, to some greater or lesser extent we all do it.
But research has shown we actually underestimate ourselves. “Things are never as bad as they seem” may seem like something you may see on a tacky card in your local gift shop or something a good friend may say to us as we are sobbing into our fourth cup of tea….but it is a fact based on fundamental human biology.
Thousands of years of evolution and a huge amount of really tough challenges like: volacanoes, famine and war, to name but a few, have made us humans incredibly good at adapting to even the most difficult circumstances. Because of millions of years of overcoming adversity we have developed a incredibly strong and robust psychological immune system. This is very good news as what this means to you and me is that our problems never hits us quite as hard or for as long as we originally think. Phew what a relief!
In fact research has shown that after a relationship break up or being told we’re being made redundant, we humans actually over-estimate how unhappy it will make us feel and for how long we’re going to feel that way. In short we fall victim to what’s known as “IMMUNE NEGLECT” meaning we constantly forget how good our very own psychological immune system is at helping us to get over adversity.
So the next time we think ‘ I’ll never get through this’ , let’s leave the endless suffering to those addictive characters we love watching so avidly and instead let’s all say to ourselves “You know…perhaps I shouldn’t underestimate myself so much”Learn More
That’s pricey for a pair of shoes! Her next door’s not bringing her kids up right. What does she think she looks like? That bloke on the news is definitely guilty. Does Mohair go with suede?
Well, we are human after all and as result we naturally judge and evaluate everything in our lives. We see things as good or bad, right or wrong and positive or negative. Our ability and desire to judge and evaluate everything is hard-wired into the human brain, without it our species would not be here today it’s literally what’s kept us alive. But sometimes as we’ll see it can also keep us trapped and cause us a whole range of other problems too.
And as is if we didn’t have enough in our life to judge, some clever soul way back in the 1940’s discovered a whole new domain that we ‘need’ to keep judging – our thoughts! Originating from the USA, early self-help books, started talking about the necessity for us to all think positively too.
This is a message that has been drip fed to us for so many years it is now been ingrained in our psyche. There appears to be no caveats, no exceptions, thinking positively is the right way to think, for everyone and in every situation in life.
When we are depressed though, this “positive thinking” mantra can easily backfire on us. Firstly, as any depressed person will tell you, just like doing the Hoovering, “Positive Thinking” is so much easier to do when you are not suffering with depression. Trying to constantly think positively when depressed is exhausting and we often end up depleting our already limited energy reserves. Secondly the idea that we must “think positively” when we clearly aren’t or we feel unable to do it, can make our depression worse as oops, now there’s another thing we’ve failed at.
Of course positive thinking can be highly beneficial when our psychological health is already in great shape. But what do we do when our psychological well-being has taken a real nose-dive?
In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT for short, we like to think differently. We ask our depressed and anxious patients to try to suspend the positive or negative judgement on what they are thinking and to ask themselves a different question– “Is my thinking helpful or unhelpful”. And when we say ‘helpful’ we mean:
- Does that thought or idea make you feel the way you want to feel?
- Does that thought get you to become the person you wish to become?
- Does that thought or way of thinking aid you in achieving your goals and where you want to be in life?
You see this way it’s up to you. You say whether that thought, idea or belief is helpful or unhelpful to you and your life. You evaluate the thought through your own criteria and not through someone else’s.
If we decide that the thought, idea or belief is unhelpful then the impetus to change it to a more helpful one (again you decide what is a more helpful thought) can come from deep within us. As a result we can often get a extra burst of self -generated motivation or energy to aid us in making the change. Also hopefully, like millions of other people around the world, you may find that the harshness and the intensity of the emotion you are feeling is also reduced.
Like everything in CBT we never ask you to blindly accept anything without trying it out first and experiencing it for yourself. So here’s a little assignment:
Select a week when you are going to try it out. Then on the Monday keep a diary of your thoughts. Look at them as you are writing them down and ask yourself are they helpful or helpful? Notice and record how you feel emotionally on that day *. On the Tuesday go back to harshly judging your thoughts as right or wrong, good or bad, positive or negative. Notice how you feel that day. Keep switching between the two different ways of thinking every alternate day until the week is up.
By the end of the week you’ll be in an excellent position to judge for yourself which way of evaluating your thinking works best for you.
*For a bonus to the assignment also write down a more helpful thought to substitute for the unhelpful ones and again record how you’re feeling.Learn More