With the exception of the last decade, for most of the last 50 years OCD has primarily been viewed from the lens of fear and anxiety. However, over 100 years ago Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis and the birth of psychotherapy as we know it today, viewed obsessions as primarily being fuelled by guilt. Whereas, he viewed phobias as predominantly driven by anxiety alone.
Over the last 50 years OCD has been treated with anxiety as the focus, put in the same category as phobias, when for many, guilt, shame, disgust, anger, depression, and other emotions can be as big of a driving force behind their OCD symptoms as anxiety can.
Mainstream psychology in the last decade has increased its focus once again on guilt and these other emotions, while also giving anxiety the focus it deserves too. This change will hopefully continue to identify more people with OCD, and help give them effective therapy that supports them in living the life they deserve.
This post is simply to raise awareness around the other emotions that can fuel OCD symptoms, so that if anxiety is less of a driving force for your OCD symptoms, you feel heard, seen and understood.
To quote legendary psychiatrist Irvin Yalom, “Freud was not always wrong”.
To find out more about guilt and obsessions please check out my episode with Eva Surawy Stepney (Episode 307).
Hope that helps.
Illustration by https://namiralph.com/
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