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Pure O

Pure-O OCD is largely a mental experience from the triggering of the distressing thought to the relief attempts such as mental reassurances and review. After all, the O in Pure-O is for obsessions. Many people believe this is a unique form of OCD because there are no observable compulsions. However, with further assessment, it is often the case that we can identify mental compulsions that serve the same function as behavioral compulsions. Those who deal with this subtype of OCD struggle to separate from the intrusive thoughts and believe the thoughts are a reflection of their true character. Guilt, embarrassment and shame are common experiences with

Pure-O OCD.


Typical obsessions fall into one of these four categories:

  • harm

  • relationships

  • sexuality

  • moral or religious


  • avoidance of people, objects, media and situations that trigger intrusive thoughts

  • neutralizing unwanted thoughts with something opposite

  • pushing thoughts out of your mind

  • repeating something in your mind over and over for relief or reassurance

  • thinking through past situations for "proof" that the thoughts are not true

  • trying to think the "right" thought that prevents the intrusive thought from playing out in real life

The Problem with Seeking Certainty

Intrusive thoughts of the nature described here are common for everyone though the great majority do not experience the level of distress associated with OCD. This distress is fueled by difficulty accepting the uncertainty that comes along with the thoughts. And herein begins a pattern of trying to get certainty and relief each time a distressing, intrusive thought arises. And the more you push the thoughts away or seek relief through the mental rituals above, the stronger the OCD gets.

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