Therapy for OCD

  • Are you dealing with obsessive and intrusive thoughts that feel too overwhelming to share with others?
  • Do you ever worry that you’re a bad person or that there’s something wrong with you?
  • Have you ever considered that your struggles may be the result of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Maybe you have thoughts that are scary and you feel like you have no control over them. 
Perhaps you feel emotionally distressed and have trouble carrying out day-to-day tasks because of how much your negative thoughts consume you. Sometimes, you might even worry that you’re a bad person or that there’s something wrong with you. For instance, if you’re a new mom, you might have an irrational fear of hurting your baby—even though you know that you would never do such a thing. The more overwhelmed you feel, the more you may be considering therapy for OCD.

OCD symptoms look different from person to person, but for the most part, the condition is characterized by thoughts and compulsions that are so intense they make it difficult to do your job, perform daily tasks, and regulate your stress levels. You might become so preoccupied with rituals—checking with other people to make sure you didn’t say the wrong thing, going to extreme lengths to ensure your safety, ruminating about what someone said—that you have little time or energy left for anything else. Yet the more you try to satisfy your compulsions, the more powerful your anxiety grows.

If you want to get control of your OCD symptoms and break out of the behaviors that reinforce them, we encourage you to pursue counseling with us. At the Therapy for Women Center in Philadelphia, our mission is to help you gradually reduce your fears so that you can feel more empowered and stop letting OCD get in the way of your best life.

The term OCD is constantly thrown around in casual conversation, but few people actually realize that it’s a serious mental health disorder. For many, OCD simply means being obsessed with cleanliness. Think of Khloe Kardashian and other public figures saying, “I’m so OCD,” because they like cleaning. 

While being preoccupied with cleanliness and contamination is a subset of OCD, the condition is so much more than that. Many people with OCD suffer from disturbing and upsetting thoughts that create severe anxiety and emotional distress. They might worry about hurting others, worry about their own safety (or the safety of their loved ones), or worry about contracting serious illnesses. The spectrum of OCD-related anxieties is far and wide, yet because of how misunderstood OCD is, very few people get the help they need. 

In fact, the average person with OCD spends 17 years struggling with the condition before they are properly diagnosed (1). Many of them are misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders that overlap with the symptoms of OCD. This is why it’s so vital to seek professional support. A therapist who specializes in treating OCD can help you understand both what OCD is and what it’s not. And once you have a better understanding of your symptoms, managing them becomes much easier. 

No matter how hard you try, you can’t think your way out of OCD because of its irrational nature. OCD has a way of convincing you that, in order to relieve your anxiety and feel better, you just need to keep doing the rituals and compulsions that make you feel safe. But the more you engage in your rituals and compulsions, the more reliant on them you become.

The goal of therapy is to help you increase your ability to tolerate your anxiety so that you’re not so reliant on your OCD behaviors. This way, you can feel safe without having to endlessly check on things, seek reassurance from others, or perform other habits dictated by fear. 

Our therapists provide treatment for people struggling with harm OCD, contamination OCD, relationship OCD, and every other form of OCD out there. We know that certain OCD fears can feel embarrassing to talk about, but we are well-versed in treating such fears and will not judge you for them. Our goal is to provide a shame-free atmosphere of unconditional acceptance where you can learn new skills for managing, reducing, and challenging your stressors. 

Traditional talk therapy isn’t helpful for dealing with OCD, because talking engages the rational side of the brain and OCD isn’t rational. That’s why our therapists use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which seeks to slowly and systematically expose you to your OCD fears in a safe and controlled setting. ERP can help you build your confidence so that you can stop relying on your rituals and make different choices when you’re triggered. 

For example, let’s say that you have a terrible fear of being in a car accident, so you’re reluctant to get in your car. ERP can help you gradually build up the courage to drive your car by first sitting in your car, then riding in your car, then driving for five minutes, and then eventually driving normally again. The goal is to get you to a place where you can tolerate anxious feelings and drive without being overpowered by OCD. This way, you can gain your sense of power back and have the choice of engaging in your OCD thoughts or not. 

No matter how you feel today, it is possible to live a life where you aren’t controlled by your anxious thoughts. When you have the support and trust of a therapist who truly gets it and won’t judge you for having OCD, it becomes easier to overcome feelings of shame, stop engaging in unhelpful rituals, and experience peace of mind regardless of what’s going on around you.  

We completely customize treatment based on your comfort level, ensuring that therapy always goes at a pace that’s comfortable for you. We like to create a hierarchy of exposures so that you are only exposed to your fears in small, gradual steps. Not only is going slowly the most comfortable way to treat OCD, but it’s also the most effective, since OCD is resistant to most forms of treatment that move too quickly or try to do too much right away. 

It’s very difficult to open up to others about OCD, especially if you have disturbing thoughts that you feel ashamed of. The good news is that our therapists have worked with many clients who have the same fears as you. There is nothing that will surprise us or alarm us—we know that OCD can feel shocking, embarrassing, or strange. Part of OCD treatment involves helping you understand that you are distinct from your thoughts. Just because you have thoughts that are violent or disturbing, that doesn’t mean your desires or actions reflect that. 

Our counselors have a proven track record of helping individuals get control of their OCD symptoms. This is because we are trained to treat OCD and we know how to utilize specific interventions that have been shown to help with the condition. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that ERP can effectively treat OCD, since it enables clients to both reduce their distress and tolerate it at the same time (2). 

OCD may be scary, but it is highly treatable, and our therapists can help you work toward a life where you’re no longer controlled by obsessive thoughts. To learn more about our approach to OCD therapy, you can contact us or book an appointment. 

(!) OCD: A fact sheet » Department of Psychiatry » College of Medicine » University of Florida (
(2) Exposure and Response Prevention in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Current Perspectives - PMC (

Do You Feel Powerless To Control Your Thoughts?

The Intensity Of OCD Makes It Hard To Stay Focused And Be Productive

OCD Is One Of The Most Widely Misunderstood Mental Health Issues

Therapy Can Help You Manage Your OCD Symptoms And Experience Peace Of Mind 

What To Expect In OCD Counseling Sessions

What if I’m too anxious to do the exposures?

What if I’m judged for my thoughts? 

How do I know that you’ll actually be able to help me with OCD?

You May Have Some Questions About OCD Therapy…

You Are Not Your Thoughts And You Don’t Have To Feel Controlled By Them Anymore

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