Will only 'thinking positively' help with my anxiety and OCD?

I recently went to a psychologist to help me cope with my anxiety and OCD. Its the first time, even though i have had it for a long time. I went since its getting worse, and stressing, and tiring. After some time, he said that i need to think positively, and just try to ignore it. He said i should focus on something else while being triggered, and he doesn't say anything about another meeting. I've had it for so many years, and i don't think i could overcome it with only positive thinking. But its my first time and i haven't talk to anybody else about how to overcome it. Will i need to seek for other treatment, or does it really work? Thanks

12 Replies

  • - he doesn't say anything about another meeting

    Good, you can find somebody else who is competent. Seriously, if you were to go to a doctor with a broken finger would he tell you just to think of something positive? No, of course not. This is no different, you need help - quite possibly medication, not platitudes.

  • Thanks so much! You are right. I will try someone else. He made me feel so stupid for having those obsessive thoughts. He went on saying how every time i want to wash my hands i should divert my focus and instead go watch a movie. I have had it for years and i told him that. Anyways thanks so much. You helped a lot.

  • Any psychologist who thinks that the power of positive thinking is adequate therapy is being unprofessional. If it was that easy, we wouldn't need therapy. Distracting oneself can help as OCD moves in to fill a vacuum. But genuine therapy needs cognitive behavioural therapy over a period of time to learn how to do it. I found that the more gently it is done, the easier it is to follow.

  • Thanks so much! Almost after the therapy i went on crying by myself. He made me feel so stupid for even having those kind of obsessive thoughts. I guess i will try to find someone who can help me feel better.

  • A therapist that makes you feel worse is no therapist! Obsessive thoughts are idiotic in themselves, but the people who have them are far from idiotic! CBT - cognitive behavioural therapy - is effective - though it is hard work. Any decent professional recognizes how upsetting OCD is, and genuinely tries to help. It is unprofessional to make you feel daft, and to offer no real help. I found a not-too-pushy approach to CBT most useful. Distracting oneself is important, but until you are getting real help it is very difficult to do on your own.

  • Thanks a lot Sally! I know positive thinking is also a way to go, i just don't think i am strong enough. I will find another therapist. I asked here because i thought maybe that's the way it is. Maybe my anxiety is so minor it requires nothing at all (even though i felt it is not minor). I am so glad i asked here! By the way, all the luck to you for helping a stranger in need!

  • If it doesn't feel minor to you, it isn't minor. Anything that makes life difficult needs to be taken seriously and treated. It can help to bolster one's treatment with reading - the 'Overcoming' series is good and the one on OCD very helpful. The trouble with feeling the need to wash your hands is that until you do it you are afraid of contaminating other things. CBT helps you to resist and to understand that the contamination is not real. It can be hard, but is worth the effort.

  • Sorry for babbling but i just need to get it out of my chest (FEEL FREE TO NOT REPLY).

    What makes me feel so dumb for even having the session is when he says, "it is healthy to be dirty once in a while.. you will more likely to get disease by being so clean, since you haven't been expose to the germs". I know i am being irrational with these obsession and i don't pay you money for saying things i already know. And he add, "you have to see that other people are capable of living without having to be so clean. You can see those kids who lives in garbage dump are healthier than those who live indoor."

    And i am also struggling with anxiety, which could keep me up at night over thinking. His response was gold.. He said you have to think positively. Just find some activity to focus on, like watching movies.

    I was down for hours after the sessions. I felt like i was stupid for having those kind of thoughts, that there are no such thing as OCD and anxiety. Now after talking to several people and family i feel kinda mad you know. I felt so trapped for sometime and he made me feel even more down.

  • So this man actually gets paid by you to state the obvious and make you feel even worse! He doesn't sound reputable at all. Get a referral to an NHS therapist - go to your GP. In the private sector there is no quality control - practically anyone can set themselves up as an 'expert'. The point about OCD is that people know they are being irrational, but the 'panic' part of the brain kicks in and makes you do things you know are silly. A good therapist teaches you how to let the rational part of the brain cancel out the panic. Also, it isn't easy to focus on something else while your levels of concentration are low. Still, try to keep as busy as you can, as OCD likes to fill in a vacuum. But don't feel bad about yourself if you can't do as much as you'd like.

  • From my own experience - and forgive for being melodramatic - OCD is a lot like having your own internal torturer. You can argue with it, reason with it, compromise with it but ultimately it just wants to have its own way. You can't bluff it away because it is you and it knows all your weaknesses: black becomes white, up is down, peace is checking/thinking about something interminably when you know there's no need to. There is definitely a place for things like CBT and, as Sallyskins suggests, the Overcoming OCD (actual title) is very helpful but it isn't something you should be expected to deal with alone. I don't know if you haven't already but don't be afraid to go to your GP about it!

  • yeah! i tried to reason with it but it won 100% of the time. I went to psychologist and he 'recommend' me to just try to ignore it. I will try to find another therapist but i kinda feel beat right now. I am not an open person and when i talked to my psychologist i try to be as open as i could. I talked while crying almost the whole session and his response was that i have to think positively.. Thanks for your response!

  • In my opinion, his advice was very bland and not helpful to the sufferer. This is like the pink elephant example. Try not to think of a pink elephant and you will find it hard. Try not to think of your negative thoughts and only think positives and it will be hard. ERP has helped many people with OCD and could help you.

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