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Turning Shame into Sunsets: How ACT can Help you Commit to your OCD Treatment

By Richard Bunker

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a highly debilitating psychological disorder which affects approximately 3% of the population. Yet despite its prevalence, many people with OCD will often delay seeking treatment because of shame, embarrassment or fear of being judged. So powerful is this shame that sadly the delay can be months, years or even decades. Unfortunately, OCD does not get better on its own and requires evidence-based treatment delivered by a therapist trained in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). However, ERP can be a tough treatment and some people discontinue treatment prematurely before they experience an improvement of their OCD symptoms. This is where Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help.

At the heart of ACT is a real connection between two human beings. This relationship is built from a place of warmth, respect, compassion and from an understanding that you are not broken, damaged, nor a bad person. An ACT therapist will sit with you during your deepest moments of shame, doubt and embarrassment without judgment or evaluation. It is from within this context of a healing relationship where we turn shame into sunsets and create meaningful life change.

You are not a bad person and you are not alone. Having unwanted and intrusive thoughts even about the most distressing content, for example molesting children, incest, rape, bestiality or harming others does not mean you are a bad person. You are a perfectly normal human being. Most of us; roughly 85% experience having unwanted intrusive thoughts. It’s normal and so are you.

ACT will help you open up to living and to see a bigger perspective than just what the OCD says. You will learn powerful tools to create distance from the painful intrusive experiences, connect more with the world around you and discover the important things in life that matter to you. ACT is a powerful approach that will help you commit to your OCD treatment journey.

You are so much more than the content of your OCD. You are so much more than the horrific and painful intrusive thoughts that repeatedly bombard you. You are so much more than your compulsions and rituals that consume large portions of your day. You are so much more than your OCD suffering. Your OCD does not define who you are, and you no longer need to sit alone in silence with shame.

With ACT you turn crippling fear into courage, transform self-doubt into self-compassion, and turn embarrassment into connection. Together with your therapist, you will be taking small steps toward your OCD treatment goals and turning shame into sunsets as you build a life that is directed by you and not your OCD.

About the Author

Richard Bunker is a clinical psychologist and ACT therapist interested in helping folks suffering with OCD. He has extensive experience in delivering Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) and has helped many people overcome their OCD using ERP and ACT.

If you would like to know more about Richard, please view his profile here: https://www.brisbaneactcentre.com.au/project/richard-bunker/

If you would like to make an appointment with Richard, please phone the Brisbane ACT Centre on 07 3193 1072.

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