skip to Main Content

Why Rationalizing with OCD Doesn’t Work: Understanding Why Your Someone With OCD Doesn’t Listen to Logic

OCD is a disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts, fears/obsessions, that lead to repetitive behaviors. While it is common to think that a rational conversation can calm an individual with OCD, it is essential to understand that reasoning with OCD does not work. In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons why your child with OCD doesn’t listen to logic and why they find solace in performing compulsions, even if they do not make sense. Leveraging information from ADAA, and IOCDF we will explore why rationalizing with an OCD sufferer isn’t an effective technique when dealing with the complexities of OCD.

OCD and Its Impact on Reasoning

Rationalization and OCD are two incompatible concepts, but why? OCD is driven by intense fear / obsessions and/or intrusive thoughts that render logical reasoning ineffective. Therefore, people with OCD are unlikely to be swayed by rational arguments, no matter how compelling they may appear. OCD compels an individual to focus on every detail and possibility, making it challenging to counter their compulsive behavior with logic. Unfortunately, sometimes well meaning but poorly trained therapists can also fall into this trap and attempt to help someone with OCD by encouraging them to “dispute” or “argue” with their OCD thoughts; this is not only unhelpful and ineffective, this will inevitably make OCD worse by perpetuating the cycle of mental compulsions that will strengthen OCD.
Sometimes an OCD sufferer will ask family members for reassurance this can be a very serious compulsion as it actually feeds the OCD cycle and prevents suffers from learning how to manage their own anxiety. So, by trying to be helpful families can inadvertently make things worse for their loved one with OCD, trying to use logic and reasoning. If there is a decrease in the sufferers distress, its often very short lived.

Understanding Compulsions

Children and adults with OCD often find solace in the compulsive behaviors they perform. Compulsive urges take over a sufferers mind, making it challenging to resist the impulse without proper training and treatment (ERP). As a result, expecting them to listen to logical reason is unattainable when they are battling compulsion. Moreover, OCD thrives on doubt and uncertainty, making it hard for individuals to ignore their compulsions. Hence, the idea that someone with OCD would respond to reason is unfortunately an unrealistic goal.

Virtual ERP as a Treatment Approach

Virtual ERP has emerged as one of the most promising treatment approaches for OCD, with various success stories emerging from around the world. Virtual ERP helps individuals with OCD build resistance to compulsions and train themselves to listen to rational arguments. It is essential to understand that ERP is a cognitive-behavioral approach that targets irrational beliefs and obsessive thoughts. Virtual ERP for children with OCD is a great way to address their compulsions, and with time and well-structured management, ERP can help children overcome OCD compulsions.

Why ERP is different than logic and reasoning

ERP is different from rationalizing with OCD because it focuses on facing fears and resisting compulsions, rather than trying to reason with irrational thoughts. ERP allows individuals with OCD to confront their fears in a controlled environment and gradually build up their tolerance for anxiety-provoking situations. This approach helps individuals learn how to manage their obsessions and compulsions without relying on external reassurance or validation from others. It also empowers them to take control of their thoughts and actions, instead of being controlled by their OCD.

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation is key to addressing OCD and its compulsions. It would be unrealistic to expect an individual with OCD to listen to rational arguments when they are in a heightened state of anxiety. Instead, it is essential to help children and adults with OCD learn how to manage their emotions to overcome their compulsions. Emotion regulation can take the form of mindfulness activities and exposure therapy, which can provide an individual with a sense of control over their thoughts, anxiety and compulsive behaviors.

Our Orlando OCD Therapists Are Here to Help

It can be frustrating when your family member with OCD does not listen to logic when it comes to their Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. However, it’s important to realize that OCD is a complex disorder that requires a tailor-made approach. Individuals with OCD find solace in their compulsions due to the intensity of their fears and anxiety, making appealing to their reasoning futile. Helping your loved one build resistance to their compulsions and managing their emotions is the key to overcoming OCD. Seeking treatment with a therapist that specializes in the treatment of OCD can provide the necessary skills and resources to overcome OCD. There is hope, and with guidance, support, and the right approach, individuals with OCD can live a fulfilling life free from the constraints of OCD.

Finding The Right Help

When seeking an OCD therapist is is crucial to find someone who specializes in the treatment of OCD and has specific training in ERP. At our practice, we have therapists who specialize in treating OCD using evidence-based approaches such as CBT and ERP. Our therapists understand the complexities of OCD and are dedicated to helping individuals overcome their compulsions and manage their emotions effectively.

Ready To Make A Change?

GroundWork is proud to offer both in-person &
virtual Telehealth appointments.

In-Person Sessions: Central Florida
Virtual Sessions: Florida, Utah, Montana, Vermont, Maine



Contact our office via phone, or complete a call back request online with a time thats best for you



We learn about your goals and struggles, and match you with a specialized therapist



Whether in person or virtual, you’ll start meeting with a specialized therapist to make lasting change



CBT and ERP are goal-oriented and solution focused; it doesn’t take long to notice big changes

Professional Affiliations

Request A Call Back

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Contact Us & Location
GroundWork Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
341 N Maitland Ave #330
Maitland, FL 32751


411 Congress St #3292
Portland, ME 04101

Burlington, VT 05043

Virtual & In-Person Appointments

Virtual / Telehealth appointments available for individuals residing in: Florida, Maine, Vermont, South Carolina & Montana

In-person appointments available in Central Florida. By appointment only.

Back To Top