Mindfulness for OCD

We will begin our posts this week with looking at the potential benefits of mindfulness practices for people with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Welcome to a new week everyone. We will begin our posts this week with looking at the potential benefits of mindfulness practices for people with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). According to the trailblazing charity, OCD Action, OCD is a clinically recognised disorder which affects around 1-2% of the population. It is debilitating and paralysing. People with OCD experience intensely negative, repetitive and intrusive thoughts, combined with a chronic feeling of doubt or danger (obsessions). In order to quell the thought or quieten the anxiety, they will often repeat an action, again and again (compulsions).

One of the greatest challenges that people with OCD face is the need to fight both the all pervasive stigma of mental health disorders and the widely held belief that OCD is a mild or even “quirky” problem that is nothing more than hand washing. Many people now use the term “a bit OCD-ish” without understanding the onerous nature of the disorder in its severe form.

Mindfulness-based interventions are a relatively new approach for OCD, which are initially based on Buddhist meditation, and aims to provide better consciousness of the present moment. Indeed, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), have shown effectiveness for the reduction of depressive and anxiety symptoms and relapses of depressive episodes in unipolar depression. It has no side effects and is overwhelmingly well tolerated.

There have been very few studies, however, directly exploring the efficiency of mindfulness-based interventions in OCD. Researchers in this article propose a cognitive model of mindfulness-based therapy action in OCD involving the correction of OCD's cognitive bias. In this model, MBCT is supposed to treat specifically the cognitive aspects of the struggle. Researchers present a clinical study aiming to prove the feasibility and the interest of the use of mindfulness in OCD. Its results show the feasibility of MBCT in OCD patients and tend to prove that it could be more effective in young patients suffering from less severe forms of OCD. Researchers also discuss the role of a specific form of mindfulness based cognitive therapy adapted for OCD, specifically for its benefits in psycho-education, which could reduce the dysfunctional beliefs present in people with this diagnosis.

We hope you enjoy reading this article. Please share with anyone you know with a diagnosis of OCD or their loved ones who may find it helpful. Have a lovely week!

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS