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What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or ‘OCD’, as it is commonly abbreviated, refers to a condition where people repeatedly experience obsessive and intrusive thoughts (worries and fears).  People who experience OCD engage in compulsive behaviours, which can be ritualistic in nature.  These compulsions are aimed at ‘neutralising’ obsessive fears. For a person with OCD, it feels like the rituals protect the from the obsessive fear coming true.

Obsessions can range and vary.  Often, when people think of OCD, they think of people who areobsessive about germs and contamination, or disasters that may occurif they leave a door unlocked or an appliance turned on, like a stove or iron.   For a person with these types of obsessions, compulsions may involve repeated hand washing or checking of locks and switches.

These examples represent the types of obsessions and compulsions that most people associate with OCD, but in reality, obsessions and compulsions can vary greatly.  Obsessions often relate to misfortune that may befall an individual or their loved one.

Compulsions can vary greatly too.  In addition to repeated checking, people experiencing OCD will often feel compelled to follow a certain pattern of behaviour, such as a complex routine for doing certain things, or touching things in a certain manner, or a certain order or a particular number of times.  For others, the compulsions can involve following certain patterns of thoughts.

Obsessions and compulsions can vary immensely, but the common underlying pattern is that of experiencing unreasonable thoughts and fears, and feeling a strong urge to follow a certain pattern of behaviour or thought to ‘neutralise’ the threat.  People experiencing OCD feel an extremely strong urge to complete their compulsions, and can experience great distress if they do not do so.  At the same time, they possess the insight to rationally understand that their compulsions do not, in reality, prevent the misfortunes that they fear.

Learn more about OCD

There are some excellent psychological approaches that are used to help people who experience OCD. These include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Behaviour Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention, and a range of Mindfulness based approaches, to name a few. Psychoeducation is also very important in order for you to understand how the OCD mechanisms work. It can be very useful to apply general anxiety reduction strategies, but more specifically, to set a clear agenda for logically understanding the problem and finding ways to manage the discomfort of resisting your compulsions (‘response prevention’). As you learn to tolerate and manage the discomfort of response prevention, your brain will start to extinguish the old patterns, and the momentum behind your compulsions can start to decrease.

At Laburnum Psychology, we have psychologists who are very experienced working with OCD, and with Intrusive Thoughts. Over the years, we have been able to assist many people in their quest to break free from OCD. If you are wanting some assistance with OCD, please consider making a time to speak with us.

People who experience OCD typically experience high levels of anxiety.  OCD is linked to anxiety, and is technically classified as an anxiety disorder.  Aside from the understandable impacts of anxiety, OCD can impact your life in a range of significant ways.  You may find that your obsessions prevent you from being mentally and emotionally present.  This may be because your mind is dwelling on the obsessive worries.  You may feel like you miss out on experiencing the enjoyable moments in life, because your mind is elsewhere, circling around the fears, or completing rituals.

Compulsions can be highly undermining of day to day life.  For more extreme cases, compulsions can take up a lot of time, sometimes multiple hours.  This can literally get in the way of you focussing your attention and energies toward other important things in your life.  You may find that your compulsions make you late, or block you from completing tasks.

More generally, OCD can impact relationships.  If you are engaging in compulsions around others, or recruiting others into your compulsive rituals, this can cause great strain in your relationships.

Often, people are able to observe their OCD symptoms with great insight and awareness, and with the knowledge that what they are doing doesn’t make sense to them.  This can be confusing and depressing.

With most anxiety disorders, a key pattern to look out for is avoidance of anxiety.  At a neurological level, the more we engage in avoidant behaviour, the more we reinforce our anxiety.  For people who experience OCD, compulsions represent the avoidant behaviour.  While compulsions feel like they protect you from your fears, the truth is that the pattern is very self-reinforcing.  The more we enact our compulsions, the more we consolidate the problem.

Our approach to dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

We are here to create a comfortable and supportive environment where we'll work to achieve the goals together

Our approach to dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Work with professionals who don't just listen, but support life challenges

Call us on 03 9877 9179 or complete the enquiry form below. One of our staff will personally be in touch with you.

Lauren Chapman

Lauren is an experienced Clinical Psychologist who has been practicing across public mental health and private practice roles for over ten years. She completed her Master of Clinical Psychology at Deakin University and is a Board Approved Supervisor with the Psychology Board of Australia, and a member of the Australian Psychological Society.

Lauren’s approach is warm, empathic, and collaborative, drawing from a range of evidence-based therapeutic models such as Schema Therapy, CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

Lauren works with adults aged 17 and over across a range of mental health issues including:

Hilary Austin

Hilary is a highly experienced Psychotherapist and Mental Health Social Worker. She has worked in acute mental health, educational and community settings.

Hilary has a depth of experience working with adults & adolescents facing acute and complex mental health difficulties.  She has a keen interest in psychoanalysis and approaches this with deep value of helping in pragmatic and sensible ways.  Hilary will work closely with you to identify your goals for change, and to navigate the path. Hilary brings warmth and pragmatism to her work, which is of immense value in helping her clients to feel comfortable and understood.

Key Interest Areas

Dr. Josie Sinni

Josie is a highly experienced member of the Laburnum Psychology team, bringing fourteen years of experience to her work.  Josie holds a Doctoral degree in Clinical Neuropsychology and has worked both as a neuropsychologist and a generalist psychologist. In her generalist work, Josie works with clients who experience anxiety disorders, mood disorders, stress, adjustment issues, and low self-confidence.  Josie values building strong rapport with her clients and will work with you to identify meaningful goals and work toward building positive change in your life.  Josie is conscientious to base her interventions in evidence-based therapeutic frameworks, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Key Interest Areas

Dr Carissa Kuswanto

Carissa holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Having achieved a high degree of academic training and clinical research, she now focusses her efforts upon applying these learnings in her work as a psychologist. Carissa’s true strengths as a therapist lie in her empathy, authenticity, and compassion, as well as her genuine curiousity in people. Carissa aims to establish a safe space when engaging in therapy. She loves to learn and she deeply values sharing her learnings in practical and real-world ways, tailoring and blending evidence-based therapy approaches for each unique individual. Carissa works across all age ranges, including adults, older adults, adolescents and children. Carissa also speaks fluent English and Bahasa Indonesia.

Special Interest Areas:

Tim McCorriston

Tim is a registered clinical and counselling psychologist and one of the Practice Principals at Laburnum Psychology.  Tim has over twenty years experience as a psychologist, working primarily with clients, as well as supervising other psychologists. Tim places high value on creating a comfortable environment for people to explore change.  Tim assists people to become conscious of their patterns, identify their change goals, and find practical and relatable ways to intentionally work toward these goals.  Tim has an interest in the neurology of change.  He assists people to understand, from a neurological perspective, the ways that they can intentionally drive and practice their own change processes.  From this base, Tim works with his clients to better understand themselves, manage difficult situations, and improve sense of peace, wellbeing and contentment in their lives.

Key Interest Areas

Kylie Allen

Kylie is a registered clinical psychologist with over twenty years of experience.  She is one of the two Practice Principals at Laburnum Psychology.  Kylie has worked in private practice for the past fourteen years.  She brings extensive experience in working with children, adolescents and adults.  Kylie will tailor an approach to therapy specifically for your set of circumstances and personality, so that you can become your best self.  Kylie helps her clients to achieve a stronger and more conscious sense of self, so they can live with greater alignment to their core values and life goals.  Kylie works with many people to help them understand the impacts of early life experiences, be that trauma or deprivation, or more subtle influences.  Kylie assists her clients to restructure unhelpful emotional and behavioural patters so that they can avert ongoing negative patters in life, and find their way to a greater sense of peace and wellbeing, and more positive relationships.

Key Interest Areas

Larissa King

Larissa is a deeply experience psychologist, with over twenty years counselling experience. Larissa has been with Laburnum Psychology for over ten years.  She brings a breadth of experience to her clinical work.  Larissa’s approach is to develop a safe, warm and trusting relationship and to use an eclectic range of evidence-based psychological approaches matched to each individual’s needs. Larissa has worked in a range of counselling settings including Gambler’s Help, youth sexual assault counselling and generalist counselling.

Key Interest Areas

Elizabeth Charalambakis

Like all of our psychologists, Elizabeth has been recruited based on the individual strengths that she brings to her counselling work, and to our team. Elizabeth works across a wide age range. She works with young people, aged sixteen and above, but also brings a strong knowledge around active aging principles. She is interested in working with a broad range of presenting mental health issues. Elizabeth approaches her work with excellent relational skills and a strong capacity for empathy and rapport. From this excellent base, Elizabeth will draw upon her tool kit of evidence based techniques to assist her clients toward positive change.

Key Interest Areas:

Fina Triany

Fina is a Clinical Psychologist who brings a depth of experience working across a very broad range of life issues and clinical presentations.  Fina is fluent in both English and Indonesian.  Fina always aims to work collaboratively with clients, drawing on their own unique strengths and capacities to achieve change, and find greater peace and contentment in their lives.

Key Interest Areas:

Latha Iyer

Latha has completed a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology.  She approaches her work with a strong sense of compassion and a desire to understand the uniqueness of each individual client and the situations they face.  Latha utilizes a strong blend of interpersonal skills, empathy and technical ability.  Latha’s warm and personable manner helps her clients to feel at ease in their sessions with her.

Key Interest Areas

Mili Vukalo

Mili has a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. She has experience working and volunteering across a range of settings, including educational institutions (secondary and tertiary counselling environments).  Mili brings a strong sense of peace and calmness to her work, as well as her strengths in compassion.  She has an excellent capacity to help clients feel safe and at ease in exploring challenging areas of their lives.

Key Interests Areas

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Grief and loss
  • Academic difficulty
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Life adjustment

Simone Ray

Simone has a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology, and is currently completing her PhD, studying personality and schemas.  Simone is a warm and empathic psychologist who aims to create a safe and authentic environment for her clients.  Simone works to identify and draw upon her clients own strengths, so that together they can develop effective strategies for change.  Simone has worked in university clinics, schools, community mental health (headspace and drug and alcohol), as well as custodial settings.  She works with a breadth of clients across the lifespan and from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds.  Simone works with individuals and groups, and is confident to work across a wide range of mental health concerns.

Key Interest Areas

Sivan Hadas

Sivan is a Clinical Psychologist who brings vast and varied experience to her work.  She has a high level of professional experience and expertise.  Sivan builds very strong rapport with her clients.  She works with integrity and authenticity, and creates a very secure and calming space in which to conduct her sessions.  Sivan possesses great strengths in case conceptualization and formulation.  She works with adults and adolescents, and is fluent in English and Hebrew.

Key Interest Areas

Emma Gillespie

Emma approaches her work with great strengths in empathy and compassion. Prior to her work in psychology, she has worked and volunteered all around the world, with vulnerable children and communities, and people in sanctuaries, orphanages and primary schools across Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica. Emma has worked with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds, socio-economic groups, and across all ages. She aspires to create a safe space for individuals to explore their story, and with the goal of identifying practical skills and strategies to move towards their goals and find healing, change and personal growth.

Key Interest Areas