Harming Others OCD Therapy in San Jose/Saratoga

At the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, we offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for OCD about Harming Others. Our approach is practical, goal-oriented, compassionate, and scientifically-based while focusing on your individual needs. We are located on the border of San Jose and Saratoga by Westgate Mall and serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Campbell.

What is Harming Others OCD?

Harming Others OCD involves intrusive thoughts of hurting another person, especially a loved one or people who are important to you. You may find yourself constantly worrying that you will “snap” and hurt someone you love or you may fear inadvertently causing harm. In order to deal with the anxiety this causes, you may find yourself constantly checking to ensure you haven’t harmed anyone, avoiding situations where harm seems possible or asking others for reassurance that you have not hurt them or someone else.

Symptoms of Harming Others OCD

  • Fear you will snap and violently attack a loved one or stranger, or that you have already done so
  • Fear of acting on disturbing or violent thoughts
  • Fear of making a mistake and being responsible for someone being hurt or killed
  • Checking family or friends for signs that they may have been harmed by you
  • Checking your body for any signs that you have harmed someone else
  • Hiding or locking up items (knives, weapons, etc) that could be used to cause harm
  • Avoiding people or places that trigger harming thoughts
  • Asking others to confirm that they believe you would not do a horrible thing or that you did not hurt someone and somehow fail to remember it

Cognitive Behavioral Model of Harming Others OCD

According to the CBT model, it is normal to experience intrusive thoughts and we can’t control the content of our thoughts. From time to time, many people have horrible or violent thoughts but people without OCD are able to quickly dismiss the thoughts as irrational or ridiculous. If you have Harming Others OCD, however, you might view these experiences as threatening and assign a great deal to importance to your intrusive thoughts. For example, you may have a bad dream about your spouse dying, then see a knife and wonder if you have or might hurt your spouse. Since you love your spouse and the thought of any harming coming to him/her is horrifying, your intrusive harming thoughts cause you significant distress or anxiety. You may then attempt to soothe yourself with a ritual or compulsion that temporarily reduces your anxiety such as asking others for reassurance that you would not harm your spouse or checking him/her for any signs that you have caused harm. Because anxiety is relieved in the short-term, the anxiety cycle continues with the next intrusive thought.

Cognitive Behavior Treatment of Harming Others OCD

The goal of CBT for OCD is to teach you that you can manage the anxiety associated with intrusive thoughts about harming others without performing checking compulsions or rituals. You will learn a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Treatment will include education about Harming Others OCD and how it is maintained, cognitive strategies that will help you respond differently to anxiety and intrusive thoughts, and behavioral strategies to help you delay and/or eliminate compulsive behaviors. ERP/CBT will help you face your fears about harming others, in session and in the real world, and practice new ways of responding to anxiety. With practice and experience facing your fears, you find yourself to be less disturbed by intrusive thoughts and more able to cope with anxiety and uncertainty.

How to Get Help for Harming Others OCD

The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley is located at 1475 Saratoga Avenue on the border of San Jose and Saratoga by Westgate Mall. With our convenient location between highways 85 and 280, we serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Cupertino and Campbell, CA. Contact us at (408) 384-8404 for more information on how we can help you manage your reaction to intrusive thoughts related to Harming Others OCD.

Serving the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Santa Clara, CA

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