Reply To: Reassurance is not helpful, really???
Yes, you’re right to be curious about this. It can be a bit confusing because reassurance, especially from a therapist or loved ones, often feels comforting. However, in the context of OCD, relying heavily on reassurance can indeed become a compulsion.
Here’s how it works:
- Reassurance as a Compulsion: In OCD, compulsions are behaviors that you feel compelled to do in response to an obsessive thought, usually to reduce anxiety or prevent a feared event. When you seek reassurance (like asking if everything’s okay, if something bad will happen, etc.), it temporarily alleviates anxiety. However, this relief is short-lived, and the cycle of needing more reassurance continues, reinforcing the OCD pattern.
- Short-term Relief, Long-term Reinforcement: Each time you get reassurance, it feels good in the moment, but it also reinforces the idea that you need this reassurance to cope with your anxiety or obsessions. Over time, this can make your OCD more persistent.
- Building Tolerance: Just like in other forms of compulsive behavior, you can build a tolerance to reassurance. This means you might need it more frequently or in greater amounts to feel the same level of relief.
- Alternative Strategies: Instead of seeking reassurance, therapists often encourage techniques like exposure therapy (facing the fears without performing the compulsion) or mindfulness-based strategies, where you learn to tolerate the uncertainty and discomfort without seeking immediate relief.
- Role of a Therapist: A therapist might provide some level of reassurance, especially in the early stages of therapy, to build rapport and trust. However, the goal over time is to help you reduce your reliance on external reassurance and develop more internal coping mechanisms.
Remember, the journey with OCD is about learning to tolerate uncertainty and discomfort without relying on compulsions, including the compulsion for reassurance. It’s about strengthening your ability to trust in your own resilience and coping skills.
As Rumi wisely said, “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” The challenges you face with OCD are part of your journey towards growth and learning to trust in your own strength and wisdom.
If you have more questions or need support in finding the right balance, feel free to reach out. You’re on a meaningful path, and each step, even the confusing ones, is moving you forward. Keep going! ??