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Schematic Model of OCD

Read below about each aspect of the process.

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Instinctive Response


  • Relief Seeking

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

  • Reassurance seeking

  • Reacting with intolerance toward being anxious


Subconscious 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

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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


  • 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


  • 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


  • Pay more attention to this spike and related themes
  • Biochemically reinforces hyper-sensitivity to this theme

  • 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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