Just because OCD gets lucky sometimes does NOT mean it's right, and what we're really trying to prove with ERP therapy for OCD.
Is OCD right, or just lucky?Have you ever had something bad happen to you that your OCD used as proof that it’s been right all along? “See! See! This is why we need to [insert annoying compulsion here]! I told you so!”
If this has happened to you, then you’ll find comfort in the following: according to at least one expert (Princeton economist Burton Malkiel in “A Random Walk Down Wall Street”) sometimes a blindfolded monkey throwing darts at stock listings in a newspaper can pick a stock portfolio that performs just as well as one chosen by a professional investor.
In other words, sometimes luck or randomness or something other than expertise prevails, and you might not have to know what you’re doing to get something right. So …. I’m sorry, OCD. (But not really.) You and the blindfolded monkey can leave now and go console each other over a banana split...
ERP is about learning to live in a world of uncertainty, where we have no control over the majority of things, and trying to live a happy life anyway. It’s not about the OCD content, such as getting sick from touching doorknobs. It’s about learning we can handle the uncertainty of not knowing whether we might get sick from touching a doorknob, and using the doorknob as intended anyway because we want to, because it allows us to open the door to a full life … one not controlled by OCD.
To learn more about living in a world of uncertainty and being happy anyway, and how I learned this concept from Dr. Jonathan Grayson, see Chapter 12 of Fred, “Playing a New Game,” and Chapter 19 of Fred, “A New Rule #1.”
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My blogs are not a replacement for therapy, and I encourage all readers who have obsessive compulsive disorder to find a competent ERP therapist. See the IOCDF treatment provider database for a provider near you. And never give up hope, because you can tame OCD and reclaim your life!