Safety Checking OCD Therapy and Counseling in San Jose

At the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, we offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for Safety Checking OCD. 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, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Altos and Palo Alto.

What is Safety Checking OCD?

Safety Checking OCD involves the need to repeatedly check your stoves, heaters, appliances, doors, and other items to be sure you and your loved ones are safe. If you have Safety Checking OCD, you may feel a huge amount of responsibility and believe that a dangerous or catastrophic situation is just “one mistake away.” In order to deal with the anxiety this causes, you may find yourself constantly checking to be sure you have turned off the stove, unplugged your curling iron or locked your doors.

Symptoms of Safety Checking OCD

  • Obsessional fears around fires, burglaries, or other catastrophes that are out of proportion with actual risk
  • Repeatedly checking locks, electrical appliances and other perceived hazards before leaving home
  • Repeatedly checking the placement of paper, curtains, or furniture to ensure that nothing can catch on fire
  • Locking and unlocking doors (or turning appliances on and off) a certain number of times
  • Asking others for reassurance that doors are locked, appliances are off,etc.
  • Calling loved ones repeatedly to check for safety

Cognitive Behavioral Model of Safety Checking OCD

According to the CBT model, it is normal to experience intrusive thoughts and fears related to safety from time to time. If you have Safety Checking OCD, however, you might view these experiences as threatening and assign a great deal to importance to these thoughts. For example, you may have the thought that you left your front door unlocked and therefore burglars will break into your house. You may believe that if you do not respond to this thought that you will have caused the break in or that deep down you wanted to be burglarized. This causes you significant distress or anxiety. You may then attempt to soothe yourself with a ritual or compulsion that temporarily reduces your anxiety such as going back to check the locks or locking and unlocking the door a certain number of times. Because anxiety is relieved in the short-term, the anxiety cycle continues with the next intrusive thought.

Cognitive Behavior Treatment of Safety Checking OCD

The goal of CBT for Safety Checking OCD is to teach you that you can manage the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts about safety without performing checking compulsions or rituals. You will learn a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Treatment will include education about Safety Checking 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 checking behaviors. ERP/CBT will help you face your fears about safety, in session and in the real world, and practice new ways of responding to anxiety. With practice and by experience facing your fears, you will find yourself to be less disturbed by intrusive thoughts and more able to cope with anxiety and uncertainty.

How to Get Help for Safety Checking 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 Safety Checking 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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