Jamie, a freshman in college, was referred to me by the student health service. She had developed a state of agitation: sleeping poorly, highly anxious, often tearful, and sometimes very withdrawn. She wouldn’t tell anyone the nature of her problem, except that she was having “terrible thoughts.” They had started after a party in her […]

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I worked recently with a student in his early 20’s who had suffered from mild OCD symptoms since his mid-teenage years. His obsessions, all involving contamination, had been tolerable; and his compulsions, such as washing his hands and showering excessively, took at most a half an hour a day. He had never actually realized he […]

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Christians sometimes have a problem employing exposure and response prevention for OCD: How do I do it without sinning? We know that ERP is a very effective form of therapy. The problem is that it sometimes seems to involve activities that are in opposition to biblical precepts. Marissa, a graduate student in English, came to […]

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C.S. Lewis, perhaps the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th century, possessed an unrivaled talent for presenting Christian truths in fresh and imaginative ways. I was working with a student recently who carried an excerpt from one of Lewis’s books everywhere he went. He said it was the best thing he had ever read for […]

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Faith, a heartfelt trust in God and his mercy towards us, is the most important thing in a Christian’s life. A good argument can be made, in fact, that it is the only important thing, because faith is what pleases God more than anything else. Furthermore, it is faith that gives us salvation, creates all […]

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On this website is a list of ten strategies for dealing with obsessional fears when they strike. They are taken from my groups—the approaches students found most helpful. Most of them fall under the general heading of “cognitive therapy.” They represent ways to change perspective on an obsession—the way you look at it or evaluate […]

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A while ago I worked with a middle aged man who cleaned and washed for several hours every day. Most of his time was occupied by various contamination fears. He stayed by himself, living a fairly impoverished existence. We tried all the usual approaches to improve his symptoms, such as ERP, ritual delay, and cognitive […]

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“Works-righteousness” is a term often heard in Protestant churches. It means attempting to become righteous (the “right kind of person”) through doing what one assumes are good acts. The great insight of the Reformation was that righteousness does not result from works, but rather from faith. The problem with works is that we become prideful […]

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One problem I keep running into is the bad advice given by well meaning Christians to OCD sufferers. What typically happens is this. An exceptionally devout individual, the type who takes her Christian faith and practice very seriously, suddenly develops a clear-cut obsessional fear—perhaps an intrusive idea that she is not ‘saved,’ an urge to […]

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I was talking with a graduate student the other day with chronic obsessive-compulsive disorder. She has been making some good progress with therapy, and she made a telling observation. “One thing that I have realized as I’ve learned more about OCD,” she said, “is just how much it permeates my thinking. I used to kind […]

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