Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Do you have obsessive thoughts about losing control, hurting others, or getting contaminated? These thoughts can become so upsetting that the only way you find relief is to engage in a ritual of checking, repeating, counting, or washing. Intrusive thoughts and rituals can take hours out of your day and have a huge impact on your life.

Fighting OCD takes a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. When you work with Jenny Matthews, she will help you to create a plan designed to address your OCD symptoms using evidenced-based treatment.

State of Mind Therapy is located in the Twin Cities metro area. Located conveniently off 494 and East Bush Lake Road in Bloomington, MN. If you live further away and unable to get to the office, you can still get the treatment you need with Jenny through online therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions About OCD Treatment

What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition that involved a cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Obsessive thoughts are unwanted, intrusive thoughts that cause a lot of distress. There are many different types of obsessive thoughts. Examples include obsessive thoughts around harm to self or others, religion, relationships, unwanted sexual thoughts, contamination, and/or perfection. Compulsive behaviors are actions a person takes to relieve their distress caused by the obsessive thoughts. Compulsive behaviors can be mental and/or physical. Common types of compulsions can include checking, washing, cleaning, or mental rituals. Watch this video to learn more about OCD.

How do you treat OCD?

My approach to OCD therapy is active, hands-on, and collaborative. The first-line of treatment for OCD is with using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, specifically using a technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). I have received specialized training for treatment of OCD by the International OCD Foundation. I also maintain ongoing consultation through ADAA and other local OCD providers to further my training and education.

What is ERP?

ERP is Exposure and Response Prevention. Research has proven ERP to be the most effective treatment for OCD. This exposure part of the treatment includes exposing yourself to the thoughts or images that produce distress. The response prevention part of the treatment is deliberately not responding to the anxiety with compulsive behaviors.

How does ERP work?

This treatment may sound scary to you. And perhaps you have tried to exposure yourself to your fear before without success. But it works. By working with a therapist specialized in using ERP, you will be approaching your fear gradually. You will be in control of the process by determining which exposures you are willing or unwilling to do. By confronting your fears and not responding with compulsive behaviors, you are able to “train your brain” not to send off “the alarm system.” When you stay in the feared situation, your anxiety will drop. And by repeating the process, you end up “rewiring” your brain to not see this is a feared situation. 

How is ERP different that traditional “talk therapy” or counseling?

In traditional counseling sessions, a person tries to improve their symptoms by gaining insight. This could include exploring childhood upbringing or unresolved issues. Although talk therapy is helpful for many conditions, it is not helpful in treating OCD symptoms. The most effective treatment for OCD includes a behavioral approach using ERP. 

What can I expect when working with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist for OCD?

When you seek counseling for OCD, you will start with an assessment. This can last anywhere from 1-3 sessions. During this time, you will complete questionnaires, discuss your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, and share other relevant information. 

Upon completion of the assessment, you will then work with your OCD Therapist to develop a hierarchy or list of fears. This list is used as your treatment plan to guide future sessions and homework outside of session. Your OCD Therapist will work with you on a specific fear that causes the least amount of anxiety. You will practice this with your Therapist in session, and then practice this for homework in between sessions. You will be asked to keep track of your homework with various rating scales. Once you are no longer experiencing high levels of distress from the exposure, you will work your way up to next one on your hierarchy. 

Do you work with kids or teens?

Yes! Much of my experience over the years has been specifically treating children and adolescents. I am most skilled at working with kids ages 9 and up. Furthermore, I really enjoy working with parents on how to help their child or teen. Learn more about my work with children and teens.

How do you work with parents?

If you have ever taken your child to therapy before, you may have been passively involved in the process. Maybe you sat in the waiting room most of the time or even dropped your child off for anxiety counseling. Have you ever wondered what your child was learning and if your time and money was being well spent? And even if your child was benefiting from anxiety therapy, you may have felt like YOU didn’t know how to help your child. This is why when I’m working with children and teenagers, I include parents in the sessions. My approach is practical and about skills building, which means that I need parents to understand how to reinforce these skills at home. In my counseling sessions, parents are often present for the entire session and other times I meet with parents separately for further support. If your child or teen is not willing or able to participate in anxiety therapy, then I am happy to work parents alone on learning ways to help reduce their child’s anxiety symptoms. You can also sign-up for one of my workshops for parents of kids and teens with anxiety!