Cover Image: The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD

The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD

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Great explanations and easy workbook to aid client's with OCD disorders in addition to receiving therapy from a trained clinician
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I loved this read.

As someone who has suffered from OCD for almost 20 years, it's nice to see a different take on how to help yourself. I'm not a huge fan of exposure therapy but I do try to include mindfulness in my every day life. Suggestions on how to take mindfulness to help you with your OCD is such an interesting concept that not many people/resources seem to talk about. The fact this title was broken down into 3 parts that all served their own purpose made it feel like the concept flowed instead of being rushed or suddenly just dropped on you.

The way the author tries to make you understand and see your illness in a different way was refreshing.. By the end it definitely made me reconsider my view point on exposure therapy. Did I actually do it? Little by little but nothing too crazy or too big just yet.

Thankful for this title! Review will be live on my blog in July.
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The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD is a valuable resource to use when remediating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This book combines multiple different psychological methodologies in order to assist individuals with combatting the thoughts and feelings that accompany the diagnosis of OCD.  This resource provides exercises, information, and activities that work on mindfulness, acceptance, and cognitive therapy.  The book is broken down into three different parts. Part 1 focuses on developing an understanding of mindfulness, cognitive therapy, and behavioral therapy.  Some activities and exercises presented in this portion of the book focus on being mindful, challenging your thoughts, and participating in exposure activities.  Part 2 of the book focuses on common obsessions held by individuals with OCD.  Each chapter in part 2 focuses on a specific obsession/thought/activity and provides tips for dealing with these in a mindful fashion. This book is a valuable resource in that you can just read the chapter of Part 2 that deals with your specific obsessive- compulsive thoughts/actions.  Part 3 discusses other details of living with OCD such as what others may observe in regard to your OCD, how stress may exacerbate your OCD thoughts/actions, and resources to gain help. This is an excellent book not only for individuals struggling with OCD, but also, psychological professionals assisting individuals with this diagnosis.
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I like the combination of ocd and mindfulness.  Mindfulness has so many applications, and here's another one.  I like the ideas on checking.  Say you want to check the door because you aren't sure it's locked or closed (or whatever your checking issue is), and instead of doing that you focus on the moment and breathe and say something like I could check this later or not.  Also, noting where you feel the stress.  Is it in your forehead or chest or somewhere else?  Just really being with it, but not checking to alleviate it.   The author explains people without ocd lock the door and think ok that's done, but ocd makes it so that you are questioning everything and feel compelled to check again and again and again, but you can interrupt this cycle by sitting with and exploring the feelings and sensations that come up, instead of just checking again and never getting a resolution to the problem of checking. 

It reminds me of a practice called somatic tracking for chronic pain or anxiety.  You want observe it neutrally (like an outside observer kind of thing) and describe it in neutral terms (like I'm feeling pain or anxiety now and it's hurting in my head or whatever you are feeling) and then you want to tell yourself that it's ok you can just live with this and it's not going to hurt you and there's nothing to worry about.  That somatic tracking works on chronic pain, and I've already been trying it out on  things I worry about.   I will continue on this path with more information specifically about ocd from this book.  Well worth the read for any ocd tendencies.
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The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD by Jon Hershfield and Tom Corboy has just been released in its second edition. I was curious what a mindful approach to OCD would look like, but as the subtitle says, this is a mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in combination book; it’s not a pull up a cushion and meditate book.

Sometimes mindfulness books start going into the territory of suggesting that you can meditate an illness away. This book definitely doesn’t do that. It ties acceptance into exposure, and frames compulsions as resistance (to the discomfort of obsessions) rather than acceptance.

The book emphasizes that “thoughts are thoughts, not threats.” Meditation in this context isn’t about trying to empty the mind; it’s about being there with those uncomfortable thoughts and just letting them be rather than trying to do anything about them.

Some CBT basics are covered, like ways to challenge cognitive distortions. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is emphasized throughout the book as a fundamental of treatment.

The authors explain that if you try to to control the thoughts that are running around in your head, that’s a form of compulsion. Automatic thoughts and feelings simply aren’t under your control. Different forms of mental compulsion are discussed, including rumination, mental rehearsals, rationalizing, and self-criticism. Self-criticism is identified as an area where mindfulness can play a role, as it “represents a confusion over what you can and can’t control.” I thought that was a really interesting way of framing it.

Compulsions are explained as a type of reinforcement; they temporarily reduce distress, but they reinforce to the brain that those thoughts were distressing and intolerable. Choosing not to act on a compulsion is a choice that requires mindfulness, and mindfulness can help in identifying what has led up to the compulsive urge. It also provides feedback to the brain that obsessive thoughts don’t need to be acted on.

The books explains that the fundamental rule of a mindfulness approach to OCD is

“to fully accept that the thoughts going through your head are indeed the thoughts that are going through your head. It means dropping any denial that what you are thinking is anything other than what you are thinking. Compulsions are strategies for resisting the experience you are having, whether it be an experience of thought, emotion, or anything else. So mindfulness is the anticompulsion, the antiresistance.”

The second part of the book included chapters on several specific types of OCD, including contamination, checking, harm, sexual orientation, pedophilia, relationship, scrupulosity (religious/moral), hyperawareness/sensorimotor, and existential. These were quite interesting to read, and the authors offered some really insightful exposure ideas, including for pedophilia-focused OCD. For scrupulosity OCD, they pointed out that “the present of guilt is not evidence of the commission of a crime.” The authors’ tone was very nonjudgmental; they were realistic about the nature of the illness and kept the focus on thoughts being just thoughts.

I must admit, I was slightly dubious going in about a mindfulness for OCD book, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It was more CBT with a twist, and I thought the authors were very skillful at bringing in acceptance and mindfulness in a very practical, focused way. This is a book that can enhance ERP without going off in a different direction. I can see this book being helpful both for people who’ve been recently diagnosis and people who’ve been dealing with this illness for a while. It could also provide some good insights for loved ones of people with OCD. Overall, I thought this book was really well done.

I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
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This book is so much more than a workbook.  The author is able to explain why OCD tendencies are happening and then provides ways to work through them.  It is rare to have a book that not only explains what is occurring in language that is easy to understand and then provide the tools to work through it.  This is a great resource for any therapist with clients suffering from OCD or for anyone that has OCD and is looking for some useful tools.
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This book is a useful tool for those seeking some help with their OCD. It has some useful tips collected in one resource. While it won't fix all of the problems and doesn't substitute a real therapist or doctor, it can be a useful tool to help manage. I like all of the ideas included in this book. It will be helpful to many people.

Three out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and New Harbringer Publications for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
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The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions & Compulsions Using Mindfulness & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Second Edition, by Jon Hershfield, MFT, and Tom Corboy, MFT – A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook, offers readers a therapist in a book; a rescue inhaler for those struggling to push breath in and out of their bodies during each minute of their struggles.
According to Hershfield and Corboy, 2.3 percent of the population struggle with obsession, unwanted intrusive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors. The OCD Workbook is designed to help readers reduce or avoid the discomfort of those tiring maladies.
This book was created to discuss how "mindfulness" can be used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder in combination with a type of treatment called "cognitive behavioral therapy. Patients, however, can successfully interact with the OCD Workbook whether or not they are in active therapy.  
The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD was put together in three sections:
A. To develop a basic understanding of the relationship between mindfulness, cognitive therapy, and behavioral therapy. 
B. To break down common obsessions found in OCT and describe how much the use of mindfulness can help. 
C. To explore other details of living with OCD and using mindfulness to maintain healthy relationships. 
Hershfield and Corboy intersperse the OCD Workbook with questions posed to readers in an effort to help control the continuous struggle with roaming-thought-problems. Its advice is presented in a logical, understandable, and encouraging way.
"Once you educate, and remove the unknown ... (It is possible to turn) OCD aspects of your life into something positive or at least manageable on a day-to-day basis," Hershfield and Corboy write.
The greatest mindfulness challenge for the OCD sufferer is to respond non-judgmentally to physical sensations, he says.
"Mindfulness asks that you view physical sensations just as you see thoughts and feelings. They are experiences. Pain is pain, and we all agree that it feels bad. But if you let it feel bad and leave it at that, then you maintain clarity," Hershfield and Corboy write. "Clarity is what enables you to see the difference between a headache and a brain tumor. In other words, see physical sensations as what they are and observe your urges to define them as what they could be."
Mindfulness is setting time aside from a single moment to several hours, to stop resisting the present moment and just observe it … tether your attention to one thing (e.g.. the experience of breathing, sitting, or hearing) and acknowledge when your attention strays from that thing. Then, begin again with your attention on the first thing without judging yourself for having wandered, they say.
Whether you are considering the OCD workbook for yourself or someone else, as a gift or as a much-appreciated tool that can help you face your daily struggles, this book is going to help and could easily be the lifesaver OCD patients are looking to find. 
Pull out quote: 
"You're not just anxious. There's something sharp jabbing into your mind. But all is not lost. Although your suffering may e great, your ability to change this experience is within your grasp."
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This book has really good informative material & some strategies. In its current layout, however, the text seems too dense & overwhelming.
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Fantastic, a must read for anyone experiencing OCD or interested in learning more about the disorder. 
A practical guide written for the everyday consumer. It features many insightful exercises and allows the reader to move at their own pacing. Highly recommend. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC.
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This book is a great read for those suffering with OCD. It has insightful information and exercises for the reader to utilize. The book allows you to move at your own pace as you process and learn what you are reading. I recommend this book for any reader struggling with OCD. 

*I was provided a free copy of this book via the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A really  excellent self help book. I have been working through this, and have found it useful for  anxiety too.  It is easy to read, and I feell it is really  Highly recommended.
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I was not aware that mindfulness is a tool for OCD, nor that it makes cognitive behavioural therapy more powerful. This knowledge will help me in many ways, from the personal to the professional, as I am a trained counsellor. Thank you to Netgalley and the authors for permitting me to read this book, I am sure that I will find it useful, and have learned a lot of new things from it.
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