For many people struggling with OCD and related anxiety disorders, one of the most beneficial treatment tools is imaginal exposure. The above link will give you some understanding of how this might work for you. To do imaginal exposure effectively there needs to be some understanding that what you are exposing yourself to is a thought. Using ACT can help this process enormously by supporting the development of diffusion, so you are much clearer that the exposure is to your own thoughts.
Here’s a short video of something I use a lot with the people I work with. Looks too simple ? Perhaps give yourself some time to try it without putting the pressure on to get a result! Expect it to feel wooden and a bit mechanical to start with. Play around with it, as it is a means to an end, a step towards where you want to be, not the goal itself. After a while it will feel like the obvious way to handle those unhelpful thoughts that can take you to the places you really don’t want to go.
Are You Looking to Buddhism When You Should Be Looking To Therapy?
The ultimate goal of Buddhist practice isn’t about achieving mental health.
By C. W. Hunington, Jr., SPRING 2018 Tricycle
Some 30 years ago Jack Englerpublished an influential study based on his experience as both a Buddhist meditation teacher and a clinical psychologist. He had discovered over the years that many people who come to Buddhism are looking for the kind of help they ought properly to seek in psychotherapy. “With the ‘triumph of the therapeutic’ in Western culture,” he wrote, there is a tendency in mindfulness meditation to “analyze mental content instead of simply observing it.”
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing EMDR, is a type of therapy that can ensure you don’t finish therapy with a “nail still stuck in your head”.
EMDR does two very important things it unlocks the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and it helps the brain process the experience. In a session of EMDR an individual is asked to bring an unpleasant image, memory or negative belief related to their traumatic event or situation to mind. With these thoughts and images in mind, individuals are also asked to move their eyes side-to-side for several seconds. Afterwards the individual will discuss what was brought up during the exercise. Whatever was brought up can then be used for another exposure exercise. This cycle continues until distress has reduced.
EMDR is typically known for the treatment of trauma but is now being used to successfully treat individuals in a wide range of conditions such as depression, phobias and difficulties of self-regulation such as panic attacks.
Urges and compulsions are some of the most difficult behaviors to change. This ACT metaphor above is often used to describe a way of change that does not draw us into a battle or struggle with ourselves. Having spent some time surfing real waves myself I think its worth adding that surfing can be really hard but when you get it right is immensely satisfying.