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In episode 231 I chat with Dr Reid Wilson. Reid is a licensed psychologist and director at the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center in North Carolina. Reid is the author of many books including ‘Stopping the noise in your head’.  

In this episode I discuss with Reid his 2019 IOCDF conference speech about these principles:

Acceptance speech-OCD Conference 2019: “The 5-Minute Version of 8 Self-Help Principles”

1. In the beginning, this work is frightening, difficult, and takes courage

  • BUT it’s not complicated. It’s simple once you learn it.

2. You gotta treat this as a mental game. You can win this game. 

  • You have a challenger. It has a strategy. Learn it’s strategy. 
  • Create your counter-strategy. 
  • You will be saying to OCD, “I’m not playing your game!”

3. Don’t do exposure. Exposure doesn’t work. Do exposure with attitude. That works! 

  • What’s the core attitude? “I want to do this.” 
  • “I want what I don’t want.” “I want whatever scares me.”

4. Own this work. 

  • Don’t follow the steps out of a book. Make sense of them!
  • Don’t comply with your therapist’s instructions. Collaborate!
  • Decide on your plan. Defend the logic of your plan. And then want to do what you should do
  • Own this work! 

5. This is an aggressive sport. You need an attacking offense

  • You gotta bring it.
  • “Hey, OCD, if I’ve got to take what you’re dishing out, then give me two servings, and give them to me NOW!”

6. Don’t say, “Maybe I locked the door, maybe I didn’t; I can handle uncertainty.” Or, “Maybe I ran someone over with my car and killed them, maybe I didn’t; I can handle uncertainty.” Nobody can handle THAT.

  • The good news is: This work has NOTHING to do with your theme, your topic, your content. NOTHING! 
  • It’s about anxious uncertainty. Not uncertainty “about” anything. Just plain, old, fearful uncertainty. 
  • Go find uncertainty! Do something that gives you doubt. Then walk on, without answering that question.
  • What do you say in those moments? “Good. I’m here to handle uncertainty.”

7. You win this game moment-by-moment. 

  • Don’t worry about the long-term; don’t worry about the future. It’s about right now.

8. Again, obsessions are terrifying in the beginning. I know it. You know it. But if we can make it simple… Here’s how it looks and sounds…

OCD: “Boo!”


YOU: “I’m going to call that an obsession.”

YOU: “I’m so done with that.” Turn away

YOU: “Yikes! Feeling uncertain is hard! But I can do it.”


Find out more about Reid:

Twitter: DrReidWilson

Reid’s website –

“Don’t Panic” by Dr Reid Wilson (

“Stopping the noise in your head” by Dr Reid Wilson (

“8 OCD self help principles in 5 minutes” video

Reid’s first time on the podcast 


Dr Steven Hayes on the podcast

All the best,


Comments (4)
  1. Reid Wilson was the first person I ever heard say that it’s not about the content and that, to me, was huge. The man is a genius. Because it’s NOT about the content – the content always changes. OCD fools you into thinking it’s the content but it all comes down to not being able to tolerate uncertainty.

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