Overcoming Scrupulosity OCD & Religious Intrusive Thoughts
In this episode, I discuss how to overcome Scrupulosity OCD & religious intrusive thoughts. This is the fourth episode in this series on Scrupulosity OCD. I also discuss how important it is, when treating Scrupulosity OCD, to accurately identifying all the different compulsions that you engage and systematically remove them from your routine. Enjoy!
00:08 All right. Hey there everyone, and welcome to another episode where we're going to continue our series on intrusive thoughts. And so in this episode we're going to talk about, again, a specific subset of intrusive thoughts that fall under the religious category. Oftentimes this is referred to as scrupulosity OCD or religious intrusive thoughts. And you can call them whenever you want. But, uh, in this, in this episode today, we're going to talk about how to treat them right or how to overcome them, right? And so, um, you know, this could be for other therapists that are working with someone or you know, if this is something that you deal with, this is really about the path you need to take to overcome these intrusive thoughts. And so first and foremost, um, you know, this is the, the fourth part of this series. So if you haven't, um, you know, seeing the other parts of the series where I talk about specific, uh, specific intrusive thoughts like, um, you know, blasts miss thoughts or you know, and all that, um, I'll link down in the, in below, uh, to, you know, show.
01:04 Uh, so you can check those out before this video. Cause then this video, I kind of want to tie this altogether of what I've talked about in the past few episodes. So, um, when we're talking about looking at the problem of religious intrusive thoughts, the thing that we need to first and foremost do is identify the correct problem. And it's the first thing is understanding that it's not a religious problem, right? Because, um, you know, with OCD and anxiety, it loves to mask itself as something else, right? And so we think that it's a contamination problem or an AIDS problem or a, um, a sexuality problem, a hit and run problem, right? And whatever, whatever the problem that OCD and anxiety is saying it is, it's not that, right? The problem is, is OCD and anxiety, right? So first, first and foremost, the, it's accurately identifying the problem and it, and if you are, if you're watching this video, it means that chances are you ha are seeking out the idea and learning more about OCD and anxiety.
01:58 If this is something that you're dealing with, then, um, once we understand what the problem is, then we need to take the correct action for that problem, right? So, you know, and, and one of the analogies I like to use, um, in order to, you know, kinda just paint a picture, is the idea of like, okay, well let's pretend that you had a problem with your car or your automobile, so to speak, right? Whatever car you drive, right? And you know, if you had a radiator problem and you took it to a shop that specializes in radiators, right? And you show up and you're like, well, you don't understand, this is a, this is a, a silver car, right? And so, you know, this is the radiator prom, but it's a silver car, right? And, or if it's a truck or if it's a, you know, a range Rover, whatever, right?
02:41 It's a certain model of a car. And then you keep telling the person that they're just going to look at you like, okay, it's fine. You know, because they know that they're just going to fix the radiator, right? And then they specialize in and in the same light. That's what happens with anxiety and OCD is people say, well you don't understand the cause. This is a, these are religious intrusive, right? Or these are sexual intrusive thoughts or you know, whatever. Right? And they get so focused on the outer part, right, whatever, like the color of the car, so to speak. And you know, so many times people will come into my office and they'll be talking to me and is like, well you don't understand cause I'm having this type of thought. And I'm just like, okay, like we, we use the same method. It doesn't it because again, it's not the content of the thought doesn't matter.
03:23 Right. And that's really, and, and because it's such a sensitive subject, usually that people, people get lost in the idea of what the content is. So assuming that the content is the problem, again, it will just lead you on a, on a very, very bad path because as a path, a path that I went on, right. You know, as I shared my story a little bit in a past episode where he know I was going to do, no, the church is trying to get help, right? And the thing was is someone finally was like, Hey, you know, this is OCD, right? And that's what set me kind of on my path to recovery from OCD is first I had to, you know, accept and acknowledge that this was an OCD issue first. Right? And so that, that idea of that car radiator analogy is something that I often use with, um, with clients because it's just, it's realizing that, Hey, look, this is an OCD problem and just leaving it at that.
04:14 And so if you're struggling with religious intrusive thoughts or blasphemous thoughts or intrusive concerns about, um, you know, I don't know, I mean, it could be anything, right? Whether or not God exists, the morale, uh, you know, the, the, like these big existential questions or whether or not you're going to go to hell, whether you're going to get possessed, right? It takes on so many forms and oftentimes they'll overlap and you'll worry about one thing and then bounce around, right? That's what OCD does. And so realizing that whatever OCD is generating is not the actual issue. The fact that it's degenerating stuff and that you're listening to it is the problem. Right? And the more and more we try to fight it, the more and more we try to resist it, the worse and worse it gets. And so when we look at this as an OCD issue, then the solution is very, very straight forward.
04:56 Right? And it's the idea of not doing compulsions. Right. And that's, if I had to summarize OCD treatment in just one sentence aside, it's compulsion elimination, right? And that's why, you know, the treatment model of exposure and response prevention has proved the most effective treatment for intrusive thoughts, any type of any form of OCD. And in most cases of anxiety, right? It's the idea of being able to diffuse the thought by experiencing the thought, experiencing the feelings, and then preventing yourself from doing any of the compulsive behaviors. Right? And so that's where the identifying the compulsion's is so crucial, right? And really understanding what your compulsion's are, whether it's avoiding certain things that trigger those thoughts, whether it's, you know, getting reassurance from certain people, like, Oh, are you sure that this, so, you know, if, so if you're going and asking the same questions again and again and again and again, you know, that's reassurance, right?
05:50 And it's also checking, um, you know, and then any mental rituals, thoughts, oppression, thought, replacement, counting, silently praying, right? And, and so when, when we talk about, um, you know, treating OCD or, or treating any kind of intrusive thoughts, and, and that's what we're really talking about in these series is these, these religious thoughts. People often, um, they, they get lost in this idea between faith and OCD, right? And they try to sit there and analyze to the T which one, which one is this? Which one's that? And they get stuck in, in that actually prevents them from getting better in many ways. And so I'm, you know, I was just working with a, a client recently on, um, on these kinds of thoughts. And we had this discussion and I was like, look, you know, and so I'll just share my own personal stories.
06:37 Like I, I eventually after dealing with these for, for years, right. You know, uh, on my journey. Cause again, I didn't, I didn't know what OCD was. I didn't know about this kind of treatment. Right. So, um, you know, part of why I share this and stuff is to hopefully for those of you that are struggling is to kind of help get you on the right path because it took me a long time to find that right path. And, um, but what people do is they get so caught up in that minutia and then eventually I just had to ask myself like, look, like, okay, assuming that you have faith in God. Right. You know, cause again with scrupulosity it's often that mix of faith. It's asking yourself the question like, look, do you think God wants you to sit and suffer and worry like for the rest of your life?
07:18 And that's how he actually desires you to spend your life. And so, and because again, it's a question of the kind of like what you believe about God ultimately, right? It is what it comes down to because if you believe that he wants you to suffer and all this, well then okay, you know, you can continue on that path. But again, um, you know, at least from my own beliefs, that's just not something I believe. And that was something where I realized like, look, I don't think this is how God wants me to spend my life. Just worrying and worrying and worrying and worrying and worrying and worrying. Right? Um, you know, and, and so once I realized that, that it was a worry problem and not a God problem, then I really invested in and went all in and the treatment and, um, and you know, ultimately that's how I get better.
07:58 And it's not something that I, that I deal with. And that's when I see people get better with this. When I'm working with them. The common thread is that separation, um, that separation between, Hey, look, this is not a faith problem or a God problem. This is an OCD problem. And then a true, you know, analysis of, Hey look, these are all the compulsion's I do, removing them, allowing for that habituation to take place, right? Allowing for those emotions to drop. So whether it's writing out the thought again and again and again with a written exposure or writing narratives, um, you know, doing, doing certain InVivo in person exposures, right? And then literally complete compulsion removal. What happens is, is you're ultimately retraining your brain on the fact that these thoughts aren't dangerous. They aren't something that you need to react to, right? That rewiring process takes place through neuro-plasticity, right?
08:46 And, and you really can heal your mind and heal your brain. When I'm, when it comes to this, uh, with, with intrusive thoughts and it doesn't matter the type of intrusive thoughts, right? So that's the thing, just don't get caught up on the type realized that this, you know, if it's a radiator problem in the car, it doesn't matter if it's a yellow car or a truck or you know, whatever kind of car, right? The radiators, the problem, that's what needs to be fixed. And then once you fix that, then it works. Right? And it's the same, same process when it comes to, um, you know, dealing and overcoming and treating with these intrusive thoughts. Um, and so regardless on the content of the thought themselves, and so, you know, OCD and anxiety loves to tell you that these thoughts are going to be harder than this and that and that, but it's just not the case, you know?
09:30 And so if these are the ones, if you're struggling with these, you know, this is, this is the treatment and a, this is how you overcome them. And so again, if you found this video or this series helpful, um, we really appreciate your support by liking, commenting, and subscribing. Um, and again, on all our social channels. Uh, we really appreciate it and we have links down below. Also, we have some free resources available for you if you're struggling. Um, you know, and, and you'll just see it right down in the link below in the notes where we have, um, you know, different, um, guides. We also have, um, compulsion, inventories, assessments, things like that to help get you started on your journey. And again, um, you know, we also have our, um, you know, private communities and stuff if you're interested in that and you can check out our site as well. And again, um, you know, we just, we just thank you for tuning in with us and, uh, and for all your support and we really do hope this is helpful and, and that you're finding a success on your journey and that's why we do what we do. So again, uh, you know, there's, thank you so much for tuning in and we will see you next week as we continue our series and we're going to be talking about harmful obsessions. So thanks so much and have a great week.