Ego Dystonic Thoughts

Ego Dystonic Thoughts

When talking about OCD it is important to understand the difference between Ego Syntonic and Ego Dystonic thoughts.

It is important to recognize that obsessions are Ego-Dystonic.

As Dr. Richard B. Joelson explains,

“Ego Syntonic –  Ego Syntonic refers to instincts or ideas that are acceptable to the self; that are compatible with one’s values and ways of thinking. They are consistent with one’s personality and beliefs.”(1)

“Ego Dystonic – Ego Dystonic refers to thoughts, impulses, and behaviors that are felt to be repugnant, distressing, unacceptable or inconsistent with one’s self-image” (1)

Here is a quick example:

Let’s pretend you were eating lunch and saw someone drop a necklace. Then you had the thought, “What if I stole a necklace?”

To a person who is a thief, stealing a necklace would be considered ego syntonic,...

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