617 – Treating Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts

It’s Not What You Think
Martin Seif & Sally Winston

Recent evidence suggests that unwanted intrusive thoughts (UITs) represent an unreported epidemic affecting as many as 6 million people in the US. People with UITs fear that they might act on their intrusive thoughts, or come to believe that their thoughts represent significant defects in their underlying character, personality, or mental health. This workshop presents the newest approaches to working with a wide variety of stuck, obsessive, frightening, or disgusting thoughts. You’ll focus on:

  • The nine metacognitive myths that contribute to the formation and maintenance of UITs, such as the idea that repetitive thoughts reveal hidden wishes or that every thought is worth thinking about
  • How three factors—stickiness, paradoxical effort, and entanglement—empower and escalate UITs
  • Metacognitive techniques for helping clients to recover from UITs using ERP, metaphor, and play


Martin Seif, PhD, ABPP, cofounded the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Along with Sally Winston, he’s coauthor of What Every Therapist Needs to Know about Anxiety Disorders.

Sally Winston, PsyD, cofounded the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland. She’s the inaugural recipient of the Jerilyn Ross Award of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Along with Martin Seif, she’s coauthor of Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts.

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