Archive for July, 2013

Extreme OCD Camp

I have just watched a news segment on BBC Breakfast for Extreme OCD Camp. Some sufferers had gone to USA to learn to manage their OCD. The clip showed the sufferer having to face her fear in direct confrontation. I don’t know if this was typical of the whole treatment but I get very frustrated watching TV like this as I don’t think it is necessary to put someone through such fear. Also the sufferers they had in the studio didn’t seem to have moved forwards too much. One said he used to take 13 mins to wash his hands and now his record was 5mins 1 second. This is great but the very act of timing himself is saying “I have a problem”. It is very difficult to overcome a problem when you are so focused it.

As a hypnotherapist I get very frustrated with direct confrontation of fear. It is not pleasant for a sufferer and it is not necessary. So much can be done to reduce the fear before that stage is necessary.

Hypnosis is a wonderful way to overcome fears and anxieties because you are in a relaxed state and therefore training your mind to cope with a situation and feel relaxed.

A good analogy of this is my own story of wanting to be a runner again. I had used a mobility scooter for 15 years because of ME/CFS/PVFS (Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome). I tried using graduated exercises to build up my walking ability. I was told to walk 50 meters a day and then 60m, 70m etc. I was able to build up to 2 minutes walk a day but then my body would shut down again under the pressure and I would go into a crash state. I would reduce the walks and build up again hit the same barrier. It was like hitting a glass ceiling. I was the first failure of the physiotherapist that was helping me.  I had only had the illness about 3 years at this point but over the years I didn’t move forward. Then I learnt the principles behind hypnosis and started applying them to myself. One of the key changes for me was I wanted to be a runner. It used to really frustrate me seeing people run. I didn’t care about walking, I want to run. I therefore decided to sit down and go into a trance and go for a run.

Our brains are completely isolated inside our bodies. The only way we know the world is out there is because of the information sent to our brains from our senses. If we imagine the information from our senses there is little difference to the brain.  Therefore going for a run in a trance the brain thinks it is going for a run for real. It can barely tell the difference. What it can tell however is that the body is not getting tired. I would probably spend 3 mins a day going for a 3 mile run around my old cross country route at school. After 6 weeks of daily “runs” I had reason to test a cross trainer machine and I did about 0.3 of its miles. I thought nothing of it which I thought was curious. I decided to do it the next day and the next day. Then I did 0.4 miles and followed it by 0.2 miles but faster the day after. Soon I found myself building up and up to the point I eventually did start running and eventually got to complete a half marathon.

What happened after 15 years that didn’t after 3? Well clearly nothing can be known from my isolated cases but I think scientific studies when pieced together with my own insights lead to the following theory.

When I tried walking and building up I got instant physical reactions and by body could not cope. I was already tired and the walking was a pointless exercise with no benefit only fatigue.

With the trance run the brain thought it was running. Scientific studies have shown that muscle mass can increase by mentally weight lifting each day. So my body probably started adapting to running over the six week period. And the massive difference was there was no fatigue. My brain therefore thought it was healthier and that my body could run. So when I did some light exercise it thought “Why should this be a problem. You have run for 6 weeks now”.

Breaking the link between the physical and the reality was a crucial step here and it is my belief that it is the best way to move anyone forward on a fear issue. If you get comfortable with doing something mentally first then it will be easier in reality.

The sufferers in the program all knew logically they should not have the problem. To me the unconscious mind has got some settings slightly out of sync and these need adjusting. This can be done without the stress of direct confrontation.

If you have any questions for me or a different point of view please get in touch I am always looking to expand my knowledge of how the human mind works so that I can move more people forward.

One final point to think about. If you were told that your OCD would be gone in a year as long as you focused on what you would be able to do in a years time would you focus on that for one year? What if you saw no change in that time?

It took me 2-3 years to run that half marathon. I expected I would get there in a year. All the delays were important information for me and my body. I did it. You can make massive leaps forward with your life too.


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