Acceptance, Motivation, Correct Therapeutic techniques
I will choose to write in the first person. If you believe this makes sense and could work for you as well then great.
In my view acceptance is key when dealing with OCD. If you like it's the first step in treating a problem, first we have to accept that we have a problem. This is a fairly universal phenomena for overcoming any problem and the same applies with OCD. We have to first identify that we have OCD. This can be very challenging in itself because the OCD and the fear it creates can feel so real, so real that we believe the OCD is our own identity. This can be very difficult then to disassociate ourselves from the OCD because how can we disconnect from ourselves. However ACCEPTANCE is a crucial first step to take. A common question posed is how can I tell if an OCD thought is real or not. This was a very common question I faced from OCD sufferers when working on the helpline at OCD Action and whilst in therapy with clients. In fact I find myself asking this question still to this day when an OCD thought pops up in my head (Yes like I said OCD never disappears completely, but we can gain mastery over it). The best answer to this question is that if you have to question whether something is an OCD thought then normally it is an OCD thought. Remember that OCD preys on uncertainty and we will never be able to gain complete certainty over any thought. However as a general rule of thumb if we have to question whether it's OCD then normally it is.
MOTIVATION This is so important when undertaking therapy for OCD. From my experience, others who have it and clients I've worked with therapy for OCD will be challenging. There is no getting around this and anyone who tells you otherwise is once again not being honest. It's difficult because the therapy requires you to become anxious voluntarily and continue to make yourself anxious. Dependent upon what your OCD this could be voluntarily exposing yourself to an intrusive thought or if you had contamination fears it could involve putting yourself in a situation where you make contact with something that it is unhygienic. This sounds scary yeah and it is but the therapy must be anxiety provoking for any significant shift to occur to those who have OCD. This is where motivation is required because naturally as humans we don't like to make ourselves uncomfortable as it makes us feel bad. We must be motivated because to voluntarily make ourselves feel anxious is to go against our natural tendency.
Correct Therapeutic texhniques This was essential too for my recovery. There is no point if I have acceptance and motivation but lacking in the correct response to my OCD thought. When I put myself in anxious state of mind I must be mindful of not performing a compulsion when feeling anxious. This leads me to feel very very anxious but it's important at this point that I learnt to sit with my anxiety and not try to alleviate it. This was very very challenging and is why this MUST be done with a trained therapist present. Never attempt to do this on your own.