Can Mindfulness help with OCD?

Dear Dr. Kelly,

I have OCD. Sometimes I am late for work because I have to keep rechecking my front door to make sure it is locked. Once I was halfway to work and I had to go back to check the door. Part of me knew better but I was too tense to just leave it. I could give you a million other examples, of having to check the stove, the lights, the bank card in my wallet… I have had this problem for years. It gets worse when I am stressed. Can mindfulness help for my problem? I have been taking medication but it has not fixed my problem.

-Concerned about OCD

Dear Concerned,

A few years ago someone saw me for a consultation. His problem was very similar to yours. I used a psychometric test to confirm his diagnosis and then I reviewed his problem with him and gave him some advice. I recommended that he read Brain Lock, a book by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz. The book explains a 4 step approach to using mindfulness to get obsessive thoughts and compulsions under control. He thanked me for the advice and said that he would call if he wanted another appointment. I did not hear from him for 2 months. When he came in for the second meeting he said “I have a family problem I want to talk over. I don’t need any more advice about OCD–my symptoms are 80% better. I read Brain Lock and I have been using the 4 steps every day. It was hard at first but now my symptoms are pretty easy to control. Thanks for recommending the book.”

If you would like to read a short article about the 4 step approach, have a look at this website. To watch Dr. Schwartz explain the 4 steps, have a look at this video.

I was very pleased that my patient had been able to make so much progress after reading the book. At The Mindfulness Clinic we always try to help people improve quickly. I suggest that you purchase Brain Lock and give the approach a try if the information in Dr. Schwartz’s video makes sense to you. I have recommended Brain Lock to dozens of people with OCD symptoms and most of them have found it to be very useful. If you find that it is hard to apply the 4 steps, it may be worthwhile for you to find a mindful psychotherapist who understands the method so you can get some coaching and guidance. It is not easy to overcome OCD but the 4-step method will give you a very helpful tool for taking care of yourself.


Dr. Kelly

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Dr. Paul Kelly

Dr. Paul Kelly is the founder of The Mindfulness Clinic. He is a Registered Psychologist in Ontario and has been meditating for more than 40 years.

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