Have you ever had a dream that seemed so out of reach, so impossible to achieve? And the shame of not being able to achieve it became unbearable so overtime you slowly buried it deep within you, and now you have forgot about it altogether. If so, then welcome to my brain, my office, my world– where we will be uncovering and exploring those hopes and dreams hidden in the dark corner of your soul.
K.D. Holmes Blog
Exposure Response Prevention
Many of my clients often inquire about the meaning of ERP. Exposure and Response Prevention may sound formal and technical, but in simple terms, it is a behavioral process that brings order to the chaos of the OCD merry go round. It involves systematically confronting your obsessions while resisting the urge to engage in compulsive behaviors. ERP becomes even more effective when combined with various other skills and techniques.
Sometimes in my office people are curious about me. Some ask what do I struggle with? There is an assumption that therapists do not struggle because of what they know. Knowing and doing are two different types of learning. I had an anxiety disorder for most of my life. I suffered from depression and anxiety when I was a child and young adult.
Have you ever had a thought that just keeps popping up in your head? These kinds of thoughts can be images, phrases, even feelings that intrude upon an otherwise perfect moment. These intrusions are not hidden desires or even thoughts the sufferer wants to think. They just pop on in your head and terrify you. In Obsessive Compulsive Disorder they get stuck, and play on repeat in your mind. Because once isn't terrifying enough, let's play that thought again and again, and compulsively check if it is still there.
I began working with individuals who have OCD about 10 to 12 years ago. I was taught about OCD in my graduate program, but did not have an accurate understanding of its symptoms and treatment at that time because more specific training and education is required. When someone came to me with OCD symptoms and needed treatment, I was stumped, and anything that baffles me sparks my curiosity.
I am told by my clients I am soft, easy to talk to, and silly. But objectively it's hard to gauge when you work alone in a room with one other person. Therapists are trained to be soft, warm, and do no harm. When we only do that, we create an environment for people to stay stuck, avoid, and ultimately not improve.
Many of the individuals I work with (myself included) are plagued by an obsessive brain. Obsessive brains are repetitive and stuck, living in a rabbit hole of thinking that leads to nowhere but feels real to the sufferer. These individuals are often diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is composed of obsessions followed by compulsions.
Many of my clients would never guess that I have social anxiety. If you watch my videos, it would seem highly unlikely that I become overwhelmed when I am around a group of people I don't know. There is a big misnomer that if we know better we do better...but knowing is not learning. The two are completely different concepts. You can read a book about brain surgery, but doing it is a learning process based on lots of actions.
I have been called "nervous" since I was a child. I would venture to say that large doses of caffeine and chocolate probably did not help my "nervousness". As a small child, I would drink a coke and eat a bag of Hershey's chocolates and literally run in circles at family functions. We still laugh at these memories.
Recently I relearned about inhibitory learning. I love knowledge that challenges me to look at things in an alternative way. It is probably due to my Anthropology brain/degree. I’d compare it to learning another perspective of viewing a problem.