Episode 13: Pedophilia OCD

Episode 13

Pedophilia OCD

In this episode, Kelley and Lauren talk about Pedophilia OCD (aka POCD). They discuss the obsessions common to this theme as well as typical compulsions – like avoidance and rumination. As usual, they consider some exposures that someone with this subtype might try in order to support their recovery.

This can be one of the most shame-filled OCD subtypes. People with POCD often worry that they’re “monsters” because of the thoughts that they have.

Important caveat – this type of OCD is very different from Pedophilia. People with POCD have intrusive (i.e. unwanted, upsetting thoughts) related to children being sexually harmed. They then worry about the fact that they had the thought and try to get rid of them or figure out what it means. 

Another way to put this involves two terms:

Ego-syntonic and Ego-dystonic.

Ego-dystonic thoughts involve thoughts that are counter to our values. Ego-syntonic thoughts, alternatively, are consistent with an individual’s self-image.

In POCD, the thoughts are Ego-dystonic – although sometimes people worry “What if my thoughts are Ego-syntonic?” and spend long periods trying to make sure that they dislike their thoughts.

Obsessions in POCD might sound like:

  • Did I just feel something in my groin?
  • What does it mean that I had that thought?
  • What if I did something inappropriate and don’t remember?

Compulsions in POCD might sound like:

  • Checking physical feelings and emotions to make sure that thoughts are upsetting.
  • Avoidance of children.
  • Mental Review of situations (to make sure that one acted appropriately)

They talk about the sense of paranoia around exposures and compulsions alike. When reassurance seeking occurs, it tends to be more covert.

Lauren and Kelley vow to punch stigma around POCD right in the face (DUH!)  

You are not a monster and if you say the thought “feels real”, know that “real” is not a feeling.  Fear leads you to believe the thought is real, but it’s not.


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Disclaimer: This information is meant to be general information not unique to any individual. Before following any guidance or advice found on this site or in the Purely OCD Podcast a visitor or listener should always consult with their own licensed healthcare practitioner. The Purely OCD Podcast and Website are not therapy or intended as a replacement for therapy. They are for educational purposes only.

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