If you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even from obsessive thinking, no doubt youve run the gamut of help available and not been too pleased with the results. Maybe the best youve been offered is CBT and medication? Well now there is far better help available, but first lets look at a brief history of OCD treatment!

The Old Days …

In the distant past, the first commonly-used treatment for OCD was psychoanalysis, based on the theory that OCD behaviour was outside of conscious control, and therefore caused by deep unconscious impulses which had to be discovered and understood. It was believed that once this occurred, the OCD would be cured. The trouble with psychoanalysis was 2-fold. Firstly it went on for very many months and even years (at enormous expense!), and secondly, it didn’t work! Psychoanalysis was a lousy failure.

CBT – Better than Nothing (Just) …

Since the 1980’s we have known that OCD is often (but certainly not always) receptive to a mixture of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and medication which alters brain chemistry (specifically neurotransmitters). This approach involves deliberately exposing the patient to the OCD triggers that give rise to ritualistic thoughts and/or behaviours, and then preventing the patient from taking the desired action. Although this does work in roughly 65% of cases, the process is unnecessarily cruel, creating enormous anxiety and even distress for the patient, and at the same time expecting the patient to control his/her impulses through sheer willpower, a silly and callous expectation if there ever was one!

Finally, an Humane and Effective Treatment …

Over the last decade a very new approach to OCD has been developed and refined. This treatment centres on accurate identification of the array of precise trigger stimuli to obsessive or compulsive thoughts and behaviours. These are the triggers that can be shown to predictably give rise to OCD responses which can quite accurately be labelled “conditioned responses”. Conditioned responses are by nature automatic, and often occur before the person is even aware they are happening.

It has previously been believed that conditioned responses were difficult to resolve or eradicate but recent studies involving chemical manipulation of brain pathways utilised during the replay of a conditioned response has provided the key to freedom from OCD, freedom which is often acquired quite quickly and easily, although some cases still require some persistence.

The name of this treatment is Brief Multi-Sensory Activation, or BMSA. It is a gentle treatment, often giving at least some relief almost immediately, and works by eliminating the conditioned responses which characterise OCD. In cases of obsessive or compulsive behaviour, the patient will feel little difference, except that he or she may (with some surprise) notice in hindsight that they did not do the behaviour, and that they now feel little or no need. In cases of obsessive thinking, the same thoughts may continue to arise for some time, but they no longer carry an emotional charge, and soon they no longer even arise.