Many people have contacted me asking for a therapist specialising in HOCD when you should be looking for a trained clinician with extensive experience working with OCD. Looking only for a therapist specialising in Homosexual OCD is a tiny net to cast, and you will miss genuine experts who can help and may find charlatans who lack the expertise to help.
What is HOCD?
Homosexual OCD is a less common manifestation of OCD, where you constantly doubt your sexual orientation. The article will not discuss HOCD in-depth, but please see the following articles on MoodSmith, which cover the topic in depth.
- HOCD – complete guide
- HOCD stories
- Cognitions in HOCD
- Stages of HOCD
- Why wanting to stop HOCD makes it worse
- Steps for overcoming HOCD
Why do people look for HOCD specialists?
People more than likely come across the name HOCD on the internet when googling their symptoms. Once they decide to get professional help, they look for a specialist in the area.
The person may not yet know that HOCD is just another manifestation of OCD. All those thoughts and doubts about sexuality are obsessions, and the things you do to make yourself feel better, such as ‘checking’, are compulsions.
If you would like my help
Structured self-help course for HOCD from the privacy of your home
Dr Ryan: Psychologist and Founder of MoodSmith
Looking for someone who specialises in HOCD, in reality, means you are looking for someone who specialises in the obsessions you get relating to sexual identity. That is okay, but it is only one small part of what you shall need from treatment to get your life back.
What do you need from treatment?
Thankfully there are guidelines that tell people like me (psychologist) what therapy works for what conditions, and you want me to adhere to them as they protect you.
An example of these guidelines is NICE guidance on OCD. It is worth a read when you have time, but the important points for you to note are as follows.
Awareness and recognition – the NICE guidance notes that less typical forms of OCD may not be recognised and states that ‘relatively few mental health professionals have expertise in identifying and assessing less common forms of OCD.
This is an important point, as even though they state that less common forms may be harder to spot, it is still within the realms of OCD. So if you want to get better, you must meet with a licensed mental health professional, usually a psychologist or psychiatrist specialising in OCD. If they are familiar with or have a specialised interest in how your OCD manifests in having HOCD, all the better!
What treatment will they offer you?
Once you have found a therapist, you will be offered;
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; CBT
I want a therapist who specialises in ERP.
You probably have read online that Exposure Response Prevention ERP will help with HOCD. That is correct. But if your therapist suggests you should have CBT, this does not mean you are not getting ERP!
When undertaking CBT, a large part of what you shall be doing is called behavioural experiments, hence the name cognitive behavioural therapy. During these experiments, your therapist will draw up a series of homework which is exposure response prevention.
If you think you have HOCD, rather than looking for a therapist who specialises in HOCD, look for an experienced psychologist or psychiatrist who has extensive experience and knowledge of OCD. If you are unsure where to start, your local GP should be able to help with a list of reputable therapists in your area.