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Schematic Model of OCD

Schematic treatment model of OCD developed by Steven Phillipson, including sub conscious mental processes, instinctive and extinction response, conscious awareness.

Read below about each aspect of the process. Video to come soon.

Instinctive response section of schematic model for OCD treatment via ERP
Instinctive Response


  • Relief Seeking

  • Exerting an effort, cognitively or behaviorally, to neutralize the threat

  • Reassurance seeking

  • Reacting with intolerance toward being anxious


Sub Conscious Mental Processes of Schematic model of OCD, include externally and internally triggered automatic thoughts, unanswered thoughts.
Sub Conscious Mental Processes


  • The brain's natural tendency to process information on a sub conscious level and send this information to conscious awareness when a significant association is made

  • Internally or externally triggered automatic thoughts

  • Unanswered and/or ambiguous information tends to be identified and prioritized

Anxiety Center of the brain, responsible for experience of emotional mayhem in Steven Phillipson's schematic treatment model
Anxiety Center of the Brain


  • Affective experience of tremendous jeopardy and imminent threat

  • Physiological processes are preparing for potentially life threatening situation

  • Fight or flight response activated

  • Emotional mayhem

Extinction response part of treatment for OCD is not relief seeking
Extinction Response


  • Choosing to accept the possibility that the risk is valid, yet not seeking escape

  • Making an allowance for one's own brain to create these upsetting ideas

  • Creating mental space and tolerance toward the persistent nature of the unwanted thoughts and experience

  • "Letting it be there"

  • Focus on management strategies

  • Not relief seeking!

Conscious awareness part of schematic model of OCD
Conscious Awareness


  • Becoming unavoidably aware of a threat which experientially and viscerally demand immediate attention and resolution

  • Being aware that the threat has a thought component

  • The mind is highly motivated to find resolution


How an OCD spike happens in the brain



  • Pay more attention to this spike and related themes

  • Biochemically reinforces hyper-sensitivity to this theme

What happens in the brain to cause an OCD or anxiety spike
What happens in a spike
Treatment process of CBT using ERP
Mental treatment process CBT using ERP and schematic treatment model by Steven Phillipson, Ph.D.




  • Lessening the brain's sensitivity to these and related thoughts

  • Reduction of bio-chemical sensitivity to this theme





Automatic and spontaneous cognitive associations are linked with physiological experience of distress.






  • Choosing to go against one's own natural instinct

  • Turn your back on greatest temptation





  • Option of greatest temptation. Follow most basic reflex or instinct


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