Episode 30: The Obsessive-Compulsive Cycle

Episode 30

The Obsessive-Compulsive Cycle

In this Episode of Purely OCD, show hosts Lauren and Kelley get back to basics, discussing what obsessions and compulsions are and demonstrating how people with OCD get stuck in the Obsessive-Compulsive Cycle. Understanding how OCD functions is key to recovery, so Kelley and Lauren do a deep dive and discuss examples too. 

So, what are obsessions

  • Thoughts, Images and Urges
  • Unwanted
  • Intrusive (like Intruders)
  • Sticky
  • Anxiety/doubt inducing

And what are compulsions?

  • Behaviors aimed at reducing doubt and anxiety, which are:
    • Overt
    • Covert (Mental Compulsions – the spies of OCD)
    • Reassurance Seeking
    • Avoidance

Compulsions are the problem.

Unfortunately people think they’re the solution.

The reason people think this is because compulsions take anxiety away, at least in the short term. But the obsession will pop back up, and if you perform them then, over time, you become a slave to compulsions. 

Kelley’s having none of it.

“It’s payback time OCD. I’m coming for you.” – Kelley

Kelley Franke, LMFT

The good news? People do get better! How? Exposure and Response Prevention.

This involves facing triggers on purpose and sitting with the feelings that come up. When we say sit with your feelings, we don’t necessarily mean literally sit with them. We mean accept the presence of them.

In their discussion, Kelley shares the two most helpful things in her recovery

  • Humor
  • Having a best friend who has OCD (who also happens to be an OCD specialist – aka Lauren)

While the second part isn’t necessarily accessible to everyone, having a friend who has OCD can be helpful, regardless of their profession. And humor, that’s something we can all infuse our recovery with.

Kelley and Lauren talk about important factors in choosing a therapist with OCD

  • Vet them
  • Ask, what their expertise is
  • Make sure they’re specialized in OCD
  • Check in about what type of therapy they provide
  • ERP and ACT are both evidence-based treatments
    • Some people who don’t focus on ERP are experts in the field – like Reid Wilson.
    • Other individuals with different theoretical approaches can also be great OCD treatment providers – like Sheryl Paul.
  • Beware of people who say they specialize in treating a ton of different disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc.)


Like what you’ve heard? We’d love to hear your feedback. Head over to your podcast app of choice where you can comment and like the podcast in order to help build our audience and spread awareness about OCD. While you’re there, subscribe so you never miss an episode.

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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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