Planning for Recovery
The plans below can be used to help you think about how to take action to transform your obsessions and compulsions. If possible, choose a family member or friend to work with you. They can help you stay in contact with feared objects or situations, refocus on body sensations of anxiety, playfully exaggerate your imagery stories, and postpone or prevent urges to ritualize. Before getting started it is necessary to prepare by:
GENERIC PLAN 1
This plan relies on postponing and refocusing and generates gradual but steady reduction in OCD thoughts and habits without requiring large time commitments.
GENERIC PLAN 2
- 1Send a letter to your support person with several missing periods.
- 2Watch violent movies, hold knives, and go to restaurants.
- 3Go to the grocery store without taking a shower and examine people’s faces to see if they notice.
- 4Throw out hoarded items, little by little.
- 5Touch ‘unclean’ objects and focus on anxiety until sensations decrease
- 6Have a friend create a disorder and look at it for ten minutes, 4–5 times a day.
- 7Stop yourself from checking to see if the stove is off or the door locked.
- 8Stand on a sidewalk crack without crossing your fingers to prevent bad luck.
- 9Intentionally think ‘dangerous’ thoughts or imagine a misfortune.
- 1Make it impossible to avoid ‘contamination’ by touching a tissue with an ‘unclean’ object and rubbing it over your clothes, counters, or sheets and use imagery practice until distress lessens.
- 2Symbolically reinfect your hands with your ‘contamination’ tissue after washing them.
- 3Keep your house disorganized or go through the kitchen often without checking the stove when you first start your recovery program.
- 4Make sure all of your routines for cleanliness, caution, and order are within normal limits.
- 5Do not let yourself cross your fingers or repeat ‘good’ words to ‘undo’ misfortunes you are imagining.
This first plan is based on ideas in the book, Brain Lock by Jeffrey M. Schwartz (HarperCollins, 1996).
This second plan is based on the book, Stop Obsessing! by Edna Foa and Reid Wilson (Bantam Books, 1991).