A Paradoxical Approach to OCD and GAD
SALLY WINSTON & MARTIN SEIF
Some anxious clients have such an overpowering need to know they’re not making a mistake, missing something important, or thinking or feeling something wrong, that they constantly seek reassurance from therapists, family, friends, doctors, and the internet. Most compulsive reassurance seeking attempts to answer unanswerable questions, solve unsolvable problems, or know for sure something that’s unknowable. In fact, reassurance often works backwards with clients who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder or OCD, actually increasing distress. Rather than helping them to achieve greater certainty, the best approach is to teach them how to tolerate uncertainty. In this workshop, you’ll explore how to:
- Identify key factors that create reassurance junkies and keep them hooked
- Maintain a strong therapeutic alliance while still avoiding “the reassurance trap”
- Refrain from offering empty reassurance disguised as comfort or problem solving, instead teaching tools to help break the cycle of their symptoms
- Help clients live in a world of “maybe” by changing their relationship with their thoughts and identifying subtle self-defeating internal voices
Sally Winston, PsyD, and Martin Seif, PhD, are coauthors of What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Anxiety Disorders, Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts, and The Reassurance Trap.