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Breaking the Stigma: Understanding and Overcoming OCD with Taboo Thoughts

February 13, 2024

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is often shrouded in stigma, particularly when it involves taboo thoughts. As a therapist specializing in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), I understand the profound impact this stigma can have on those struggling with OCD. This blog delves into the nature of OCD stigma and how evidence-based strategies can provide relief.

The Stigma Surrounding OCD and Taboo Thoughts

OCD is frequently misunderstood, leading to significant stigma. This is especially true for those experiencing taboo thoughts – intrusive, unwanted thoughts that can be disturbing and often contradict personal values. This stigma can exacerbate feelings of shame and isolation, making it challenging for individuals to seek help.

Confronting the Stigma

  1. Understanding Taboo Thoughts: Recognizing that taboo thoughts are a common symptom of OCD and not a reflection of one’s character is crucial.
  2. Challenging Misconceptions: Education plays a vital role in breaking down the stigma, highlighting that these thoughts are involuntary and a part of the disorder, not the individual.

ERP: A Tool for Managing OCD with Taboo Thoughts

ERP is an effective treatment for OCD, particularly when addressing taboo thoughts. It involves exposing oneself to these thoughts in a controlled manner, thereby reducing their power and the associated anxiety.

Implementing ERP for Taboo Thoughts

  • Identifying Triggers: Start by identifying the specific taboo thoughts that trigger your OCD.
  • Structured Exposure: Gradually expose yourself to these thoughts, reducing the compulsive responses over time with a focus on resisting the compulsions one does in response to the thoughts.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Embracing Your Thoughts

ACT complements ERP by teaching acceptance of these intrusive thoughts without judgment, and committing to actions aligned with personal values, despite the presence of OCD.

ACT Principles for Taboo Thoughts

  • Mindful Acceptance: Learn to observe these thoughts without engaging with them emotionally.
  • Values-Based Actions: Focus on living a value-driven life, even with the presence of these thoughts.

Join The OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint

For those seeking a structured approach to manage OCD and taboo thoughts, my digital course, The OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint, provides comprehensive strategies based on ERP and ACT. This course is tailored to help you navigate the complexities of OCD with confidence. All courses come with an active, supportive community of others who are going through the trenches of OCD alongside you so you never feel alone in your journey.


The journey with OCD and taboo thoughts can be challenging, but understanding and addressing the stigma is a critical step. Through ERP and ACT, it is possible to manage these thoughts effectively. I invite you to join my digital course, The OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint, to begin your journey towards recovery and empowerment.

Resources for Your OCD and Anxiety Recovery

To learn more about OCD and anxiety recovery strategies and resources, visit my website at Here you can find additional support and guidance.

Want more content like this? Check out some of my related podcasts and The OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint below.

DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that Jenna is not your therapist. She does not provide you with individualized recommendations or advice. The information provided is intended as educational information only. Jenna cannot tell you what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, or give recommendations based on your unique situations or circumstances. Nothing on this page or Site should be construed as therapeutic recommendation or personalized advice. 

If you are in need of such services, please consult with a physician or other medical provider right away to determine the best course of action for you. We are not responsible for your use of this page, this website, or the contents within. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU READ OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE AND CONTENT. For more information, please read the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Disclaimer. Your continued use of this platform, this page, and the contents within constitutes as your agreement with this agreement.

© 2023 Jenna Overbaugh, LLC, All Rights Reserved


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