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What is Harm OCD? Why Do I have violent and intrusive thoughts?

Harm OCD is a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that involves intrusive and unwanted thoughts about causing harm to oneself or others. It can cause significant distress for individuals who experience it, leading them to fear that they may act on their intrusive thoughts despite not wanting to do so. As such, these fears can lead people with Harm OCD to engage in compulsions or behaviors designed to “protect” themselves from potential harm.

There are two main subtypes of OCD related to harm: aggressive/harm OCD, which involves intrusive thoughts about aggression or violence towards others, and self-harm OCD, which involves intrusive thoughts about harming oneself. Other subtypes of OCD include pedophilia OCD (intrusive thoughts about harming children) and scrupulosity OCD (intrusive thoughts about spirituality / blasphemy).

OCD intrusive thoughts can cause significant anxiety and distress for those experiencing them. People with OCD often fear that they may act on their intrusive thoughts, despite not wanting to do so. This fear can lead to a range of compulsions or behaviors designed to protect themselves from potential harm, further reinforcing the OCD cycle.

The OCD cycle involves intrusive thoughts, anxiety and compulsive behaviors. Intrusive thoughts are unwanted and repetitive thoughts that can cause significant distress for those experiencing them. Anxiety is the fear or worry that these intrusive thoughts may lead to something bad happening. Finally, compulsive behaviors are activities people with OCD engage in to try and prevent the feared outcome from occurring.

Is OCD Curable?

OCD is not a curable condition, however it can be managed with the right treatment and therapies. One such therapy for OCD is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, which is an evidence-based form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). ERP works by deliberately exposing someone to their OCD fear and teaching them to resist engaging in their OCD behaviors. This type of therapy is highly effective at treating OCD, however it can be difficult for some people and requires patience and commitment to make progress.

Harm OCD can be distressing and challenging to manage on one’s own, but with the right help and treatments such as ERP, it can be successfully managed. If you or someone you know is experiencing OCD related to harm, it’s important to seek out professional help from a mental health provider experienced in OCD and ERP therapy. With the right support and treatment, OCD can be effectively managed and individuals can experience a life with less fear and more freedom.

ERP For OCD in Orlando

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy is the gold standard for treating OCD, including Harm OCD. During ERP sessions, a trained therapist will work with the client gradually exposing a person with OCD to the images and ideas that cause anxiety without engaging in any rituals or avoidance behavior.

Finding an ERP therapist can be difficult and time consuming. It is important to find a therapist who is trained in OCD and has experience with ERP therapy. It’s also important to make sure that the therapist you are considering has adequate training and certification, as this will ensure they have the knowledge and skill necessary to provide adequate treatment for OCD.

It may also be helpful to check online OCD support groups and OCD-related websites such as the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) which provide information about OCD and its treatments, including lists of trained ERP providers across the United States.

OCD Therapy Telehealth Therapy for Harm OCD

Harm OCD can be successfully treated with ERP via telehealth. Telehealth is a convenient way to receive OCD treatment from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. During online sessions, a trained OCD therapist will work with you to gradually expose yourself to triggers associated with OCD, and help you resist engaging in any rituals or behaviors that reinforce OCD. Telehealth can also make it easier to access a true expert in the field of OCD treatment.

Research indicates that OCD treatment is equally as effective via telehealth as it is in person. OCD therapy can be conducted with the same evidence-based approach regardless of whether the sessions are provided online or in person. Telehealth has been shown to be just as successful at treating OCD, including Harm OCD, and can often provide greater convenience and flexibility for some clients. It is important to note that OCD treatment is an individual process, so finding a therapist who you trust and feel comfortable working with will be key to success, along with their expertise in ERP therapy.


At GroundWork our OCD specialists Marion Rodrigue and Courtney Hubscher, specialize in ERP treatment for OCD, along side a dedicated, and specialized team of CBT and ERP therapists. Both of our lead specialists are trained via the International OCD Foundation, and exclusively work with clients struggling with OCD at GroundWork in Orlando.

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