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Why it is possible to overcome OCD?

Why it is possible to overcome OCD?

A couple of years ago I recorded a series of videos about different psychology-related subjects, and those who had the most views were by far, the videos about Obsessive Disorders. Now that I’ve set up IPITIA in Barcelona, a center specialized in OCD and anxiety, and I’m managing a team of young and excellent professionals, I will again explain the reasons, and now even with more certainty and security, of why it is possible to overcome an obsessive disorder.

Many of the things I will say are the result of the experience of treating hundreds of people, some even from different continents of the world, and with a more than satisfactory effectiveness in the majority of the cases. Even though we encounter some cases of resistance in the therapy process, which we are researching and working on to keep on improving the treatment.

The origin

In the first place, an obsessive disorder develops, independently from the fact that there can be a genetic predisposition which does not mean you will get OCD automatically, because there have been certain circumstances in the life of the person, normally in infancy or adolescence, because even though it is possible for these circumstances to be present in other moments in life, this doesn’t happen often.

We find ourselves in front of situations that generate a profound level of anxiety or inhibition and block the development of the instinct and nature of the child or adolescent, which causes them to live a life that is “thought” instead of lived in an emotionally felt and spontaneous way.

When someone has suffered from heavy bullying, lives in a very strict or even tyrannical environment, or on the contrary, an anxious and insecure environment, if one suffers psychological or sexual abuse, or if one has to face certain difficult situations such as the permanent fear of constantly seeing their parents fighting, it is quite likely that this child or adolescent will inhibit his most genuine nature and will try to avoid all this kind of circumstances, while reasoning about what he should or should not do, while avoiding socializing, hiding himself from his environment, and shielding off his inner world while not sharing it with anyone.

The first symptoms

All this will already cause difficulties in the moment this happens, but it is in the moment when the child turns into a young adult when the first symptoms can start to appear in the shape of obsessive ideas, rituals, incapability of performing certain activities, and even though many of them will try to hide it, they can reach a moment in which it takes a hold of them in a way that it will be impossible to hide it any longer.

When they explain their symptoms they will encounter many professionals in both psychiatry and psychology who will explain them that is a problem with a biological cause, and that this is a permanent problem that can only be treated by taking medication, accepting their condition, and learning to manage their symptoms in the best way possible. What is really going on is that this is is an ultra conservative view of the human psyche which tends to label and make chronic those phenomena that they don’t understand and above all allows a traditional social structure which won’t be questioned. It is as if they told you: it doesn’t matter how much you have suffered; you were born this way and there’s nothing we can do.

Recover our instinct

So yes, we have managed to help a big number of people, how have we managed this? We could say that we simply helped them to get back their life.

Let me explain myself, imagine a lion cub who has lost his parents and is left alone, we save him and we bring him to a rescue center but our intention is to bring him back to the Savannah when he is an adult, so we have to procure that he doesn’t lose his instinct. In order to reach this we cannot treat him as if he were a cat, we have to teach him to hunt, not to become dependent of his caretakers, and we will teach him other things until we can consider he’s ready to be set free again.

How to bring back someone with OCD to the Savannah

The people who suffer from OCD have a similar problem, we have to help them recuperate their instinct, they have to recuperate their courage, boldness, their capability to position themselves in life and to face their fears, we have to help them regain their hope and dreams to live a fulfilling and authentic life, and therefore it is necessary to train them and activate their drive, which is how I called the AFOP method I developed, Drive, Activation and Focalization, and through which the patient experiences a series of vital processes which allow the body to activate all those biochemical and cognitive processes that were blocked at the time. But this won’t be enough.

The most important moment comes when he has to start to fight to reach vital goals that are linked to an authentic desire and which maybe go against all the ideas and beliefs that he was infused with throughout his life. He will have to accept himself completely and face his real inner truth. This might question many elements of his life in the present in which the person has ended up living, more because of resignation rather than a feeling of yearning. And it is here where we find ourselves in many cases facing strong resistance because to assume radically what one wants in life, for some people might turn out to be an insurmountable goal.

What you should do

In any case, if you’re suffering from an obsessive disorder I will give you some recommendations. This doesn’t mean that you will now be able to cure yourself because that’s a more complex process but you can start to notice some improvements. You have to think that we adapt and personalize every treatment completely to the patient, so the following might be a bit generic, however it can already help you some.

Everything that I will say is meant as advice for adults, if you’re younger please consult with a health expert or with your parents.

Start to engage in a contact sport: martial arts, boxing, kickboxing etc., alternatives are rock climbing or horseback riding. It’s important that you do this in a monitored environment with expert teachers who will teach you with care and in a progressive way. In our experience these are the activities that are useful to start activating our more primal nature.

Dance, it doesn’t matter how old you are, dance in private but let yourself go as if you could set free everything that you have repressed, sweat, have fun, … express yourself without any issues.

Write down what you don’t like in your life and what you would really like, be radically authentic, please don’t censor yourself, say everything and don’t get frightened by what maybe are your true thoughts and feelings.

When guilt appears

Once you’ve done this tear it apart and if you have been authentic it is quite likely you will now start to notice a feeling of guilt. People who suffer from obsessive thought feel guilty of almost everything, about having said this or that, of not loving someone that much, of feeling something that is not completely appropriate, of feeling bored around someone. They are people who are quite easily dominated because through activating their feelings of guiltiness they will easily be subdued.

That’s why every time you will experience a sensation of freedom it is quite likely that guilt will come with that feeling, for the moment accept this but don’t stop being truthful in what you think and feel even though it feels wrong. You have to overcome the temptation of resignation.

And something else I will recommend you that you find a way of expressing yourself: writing, painting, acting, photography, dancing… But you have to be free, this is very important in everything you do.

Follow the articles that we write on our website IPITIA and there you will find information about what we do and how you can overcome OCD from a different perspective which focuses on curing OCD completely.

Damián Ruiz

Clinical Psychologist

Jungian Analyst

Director of IPITIA

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