Recovery Tips

Unpacking Real Event OCD

December 19, 2023

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) wears many masks, and one of its less-discussed forms is real event OCD. This subtype often leaves individuals ruminating about past events, filled with exaggerated guilt and shame. But, what if there was a systematic way to address these intense emotions? Let’s delve into how exposure and response prevention (ERP) offers a solution tailored to real event OCD.

What is Real Event OCD?

Real event OCD focuses on an incident from the past, often something the person perceives as morally wrong. They ruminate on this event, magnifying its importance and their own responsibility. The fear isn’t about the event itself but the implications: “What does this event say about me as a person?”

For further insight into the intricacies of this subtype, check out my digital course, The OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint.

The Power of ERP in Addressing Real Event OCD

ERP is one of the most effective treatments for various OCD subtypes, and its application to real event OCD can be nothing short of transformative.

  1. Identifying the Core Fear: Before diving into exposure exercises, it’s essential to pinpoint the core fear. For real event OCD, it might be the fear of being a “bad” person. There are other core fears an individual might have, as well.
  2. Hierarchical Exposure: With real event OCD, you might not have a tangible trigger like with contamination obsessions. However, you can expose yourself to the thoughts and memories of the event. This can be done by writing down the event or speaking about it aloud, slowly confronting the distressing emotions tied to it.
  3. Preventing Compulsions: With real event OCD, compulsions might include seeking reassurance, mentally reviewing the event, or confessing. ERP works by resisting these urges, helping break the obsessive-compulsive loop.

Integrating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy complements ERP beautifully, especially when dealing with the intense emotions of real event OCD. By promoting psychological flexibility, ACT encourages individuals to accept their thoughts and emotions without being enslaved by them. The combination of ERP and ACT helps individuals step back from their obsessions, grounding them in the present and aligned with their values.

Take Control with the OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint

Navigating real event OCD can feel isolating, but it doesn’t have to be a journey you undertake alone. My digital course, the OCD and Anxiety Recovery Blueprint, provides evidence-based strategies, including detailed ERP and ACT applications tailored for various OCD subtypes. By getting the full Blueprint course, you will also get 17 additional subtype specific videos, one of which explains real event OCD in detail.  Click here to get started today. 

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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