Welcome

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, treatable mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by obsessions, which are repeated, unwanted, intrusive thoughts, and compulsions, which are behaviors aimed at reducing the discomfort associated with these thoughts. Compulsions (a.k.a. rituals) can be physical, such as washing or cleaning, or they can be mental or covert, such as excessive analysis, reassurance seeking, or thought-neutralizing strategies.

A disorder is not a character flaw or personality defect. A disorder is simply something that is out of order. We all have unwanted thoughts from time to time and we all have rituals that save us time and energy. When this “normal” experience of coping with unwanted thoughts and rituals begins to impair functioning, causes severe anxiety, takes up significant time, and steals the enjoyment from work, leisure, and relationships, then we call it a dis-order. Fortunately this disorder is well understood and research over the years has provided us with safe and effective evidenced-based therapies that can help develop mastery over OCD.

Common OCD-Related Concerns That We Treat:

Hyper-responsibility OCD

Common obsessions: fear of making a mistake, causing a tragedy
Common compulsions: excessive checking of light switches, stove, appliances

Just Right OCD

Common obsessions: fear of not being able to tolerate specific feelings
Common compulsions: repeating routine behaviors, arranging/ordering, checking/repeating writing and reading, homework, or work tasks

Hypochondria / Health Anxiety 

Common obsessions: fear of having or catching illnesses
Common compulsions: checking body for symptoms, excessive googling/researching symptoms, excessive reassurance seeking or avoidance of medical professionals/procedures

Religious and Moral Scrupulosity OCD

Common obsessions: fear of religious blasphemy or of exercising faith inadequately, fear of being morally imperfect
Common compulsions: compulsive prayer, excessive review of religious concepts, avoidance of triggering situations, excessive attention to issues of honesty or morality, excessive mental review of perceived mistakes

Hyper-awareness OCD

Common obsessions: fear of not being able to stop attending to breathing, blinking, swallowing, thinking, or other semi-voluntary behaviors
Common compulsions: checking for awareness, excessive distracting, reassurance seeking about symptoms or about what is normal

Phobias

Common obsessions: focused fear of specific triggers, such as throwing up (emetophobia), small spaces (claustrophobia), open spaces (agoraphobia), specific animals or environments
Common compulsions: avoiding triggers directly or indirectly, various rituals designed to feel certain that triggers will not occur

Social Anxiety

Common obsessions: fear of being evaluated negatively by others, fear of public speaking, fear of being humiliated in public, fear of not being able to connect with others socially
Common compulsions: avoidance of social situations, mental review of social interactions, excessive comparison of self to others

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Common obsessions: fear of being unattractive or of having a physical deformity
Common compulsions: excessive weighing, mirror checking, ritualized eating, checking of specific body parts

Panic Disorder

Common obsessions: presence of panic attacks and fear of having panic attacks
Common compulsions: avoiding situations that could trigger attacks, avoiding environments that do not have easy escapes

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Common obsessions: excessive and impairing fear/worry associated with everyday issues such as work, finance, relationships and responsibilities, fear of becoming anxious
Common compulsions: mental review, reassurance seeking, over-preparing, perfectionism, avoiding situations that may produce anxiety

Trichotillomania/Excoriation

Common obsessions: obsessive concern with or habit of pulling hair or picking skin, focusing on thoughts/
feeling/sensations of discomfort around hair or skin
Common compulsions: hair pulling, skin picking, avoiding or over-checking in mirrors, camouflaging physical damage caused by pulling/picking, use of tools to aid in pulling/picking

How We Treat OCD and Anxiety:

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

Exposure and Response Prevention

Gradually confronting fears while resisting compulsive responses.

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Cognitive
Therapy

Cognitive
Therapy

Identifying and challenging distorted thinking that leads to compulsions.

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Mindfulness
Skill
Development

Mindfulness
Skill Development

Paying attention to the present moment without judging thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

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Jon Hershfield, MFT

hershfield-80x90Director of The OCD and Anxiety Center of Greater Baltimore and specialist in the treatment of OCD and related disorders.
Learn more about Jon

Brenda Kijesky, LGMFT

Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist, treating children and adults with OCD and related disorders.
Learn more about Brenda

Molly Schiffer, LGPC

Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor, treating children, adolescents, and adults with OCD and related disorders.
Learn more about Molly

Recent Articles

Latest News/Upcoming Events

April 7th at the 2017 Anxiety and Depression Association of America Conference in San Francisco, CA

“Using Games to Improve ERP Compliance When Treating OCD” by Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely

July 7th at the International OCD Foundation’s 24th Annual OCD Conference in San Francisco, CA

“ERP Games for Living Joyfully with OCD” with Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely

July 8th at the International OCD Foundation’s 24th Annual OCD Conference in San Francisco, CA

“The Use of Technology in OCD Treatment” with Elizabeth McIngvale, Monnica Williams, Katrina Rufino, and Jon Hershfield

July 9th at the International OCD Foundation’s 24th Annual OCD Conference in San Francisco, CA

“My OCD Says I’m a Bad Person: Tackling Moral Scrupulosity” with Jon Hershfield and Patrick McGrath