Saturday, April 26, 2014

Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts - Book Review

This is a great first book to read if you are just starting to explore the world of OCD literature. It contains wonderful explanations of a lot of key concepts in the realm of OCD self-help. Unfortunately, it was not the first book on the subject that I read. By the time I read this book I had heard most of the information  before. That being said, I would still highly recommend this book for anyone suffering from OCD, particularly those who are relatively new to it and still have a lot to learn.

The book recommends a pacing guide totaling 8 weeks, to give adequate time to read the chapters, complete the exercises, and apply the findings. I would seriously encourage putting a great deal of effort into these exercises and taking them seriously. I have to admit that I did not successfully do this myself, mostly because I had already done many of them in other books and practices. But having done them all at some point or another, I can honestly say that they are very helpful and worthwhile, especially if you are using books as an alternative to actual therapy. David Clark and Christine Purdon do an excellent job of outlining and explaining a lot of the practices that I also covered with my therapist.

I think what makes Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts such a great work is that it does a fantastic job of exploring the many different ways in which OCD can present itself, while simultaneously highlighting the underlying trends and themes that all of the various presentations have in common. Many different examples of obsessions and compulsions are described, along with the thought distortions that underlie them. And then there are exercises that guide you in identifying your own obsessions, compulsions, and thought patterns. The book really gives you all of the guidance and information on OCD you could hope for from a therapist or shrink.

One word of caution I would offer is that this is not really a book for family members or friends of those with OCD who are trying to understand the disorder. There are certainly sections within the book that could provide useful information for these readers, but as a whole this work is clearly directed at those who actually have OCD. The exercises and follow-up readings would be very much lost on those who don’t have actual symptoms to observe. If you are a friend or family member looking for reading material, there are much better books to turn to before this one.

Overall, though, Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts is a great resource and guide. Happy reading!

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