The thoughts in your head, omg. You wish you could stop thinking them. The word obsessive really does fit.

What’s hard is that you realize that this thinking is excessive, and that the things you do in response…are also excessive.

You know it’s unreasonable to repeat things, clean things, say things in your head to the degree that you do, but you don’t know how to stop. Doing your rituals definitely works, but only for so long. Then it’s the same endless loop of anxiety, followed by the ritual, and some mild relief…only to have it all resurface again.

You wish you could stop the terror, the agonizing thoughts and fears. And you worry that if others knew what you were thinking, they’d think you were crazy. You think, I must be the only one who thinks like this. There’s something wrong with me.

It’s not true. What’s going on is that you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a fairly common anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you’re likely struggling with obsessive fears that you try to calm down by doing rituals or compulsions either with behavior or mental strategies.

You’ve likely heard of the some of the more widely known forms of OCD, such as :

  • Contamination OCD, which involves obsessing about dirt or germs and rituals such as repeated or prolonged washing, bathing, cleaning, or sanitizing
  • Checking OCD, which involves obsessing about safety and repeated checking of things such as door locks, stoves, or the baby’s breathing
    Need for order or symmetry, or concern with counting things or lucky/unlucky numbers

What may be a relief to know is that there are many other even more common forms of OCD. Those scary “intrusive” thoughts that you get in your head that you think no one else has? Everyone else has them too. It’s just that if you have OCD, your brain is particularly good at focusing on them and thinking they’re really important. Here are some other forms of OCD that are strikingly common, but that you may not have heard of:

  • Harm OCD. You fear that you may cause harm to yourself or someone else and experience intrusive thoughts or images of violence. Harm OCD is the most common form of OCD we see in our practice. You are not alone. While these thoughts are scary, the fact that you are horrified by them (ie, and not wanting to act on them) suggests you are suffering from OCD. In counseling you learn that your brain has gone on overdrive trying to protect the things you care about the most…not that you’re a terrible person.
  • Relationship OCD. You become obsessed with the idea that you don’t really love your romantic partner or that you may have chosen the wrong partner. You become consumed by doubts about your relationship and “check” your thoughts and feelings about her frequently, comparing your relationship to others.
  • HOCD, or homosexual OCD, also known as SO-OCD, sexual orientation OCD. In this form of OCD you anxiously question your sexual orientation, think you might be gay, and monitor yourself for signs that you are attracted to a member of the same sex.

Many other variants of OCD exist, such as religious scrupulosity (fear of offending God), fear of losing bowel or bladder control, and fear of offending or being misunderstood by others.


The good news is that OCD is actually highly treatable with the correct form of counseling or therapy.

We use one of the most scientifically supported forms of counseling in the field of mental health for this condition, exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, which is a highly specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What about Online Counseling for OCD? Can that Work?

Absolutely! Both cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy can be done online, effectively. Learn more about online counseling here.

Give us a call today at 630-269-2886 to learn more about counseling for OCD, or contact us here.  You can get better! With an office just outside the city of Chicago in Park Ridge and another in Willowbrook, we’re not too far from you.