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OCD & The Simpsons

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is proven to be the most effective type of therapy in dealing with anxiety. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is a type of anxiety, where to try and reduce their anxiety sufferers think or ‘do’ things obsessively, compulsively or both. Whilst OCD takes lots of different formats in that people all have their own ‘special’ way of doing OCD there are always common themes.

Everybody’s favourite cartoon Dad, Homer Simpson illustrates something that lots of OCD sufferers have in common in an episode of ‘The Simpsons’

In the show, a bear wanders into town for the first time ever and the people of Springfield arrange a Bear Patrol to stop it happening again.

The following is a conversation between Homer and his daughter Lisa;

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.

Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.

Homer: Thank you, dear.

Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.

Homer: Oh, how does it work?

Lisa: It doesn’t work.

Homer: Uh-huh.

Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.

Homer: Uh-huh.

Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?

[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]

Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

[Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]

It’s pretty obvious that the rock isn’t keeping the tigers away. Both the rock being present and there being no tigers is an example of ‘correlation, not causation’. Two things happening together that are actually unrelated.

When OCD sufferers have to touch things a certain number of times they think they have to do this to ensure that something terrible doesn’t happen. In stopping OCD it’s my job to help you find out that actually, nothing happens when you stop the OCD actions or thoughts. Just as in Lisa’s rock, people pair the fact that their compulsion keeps them or others safe with the actions that they do. Don’t continue to try and manage OCD, you really don’t have to.

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JB

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