OCD Courses & OCD Therapy Essex

Most people have some type of harmless obsession or compulsion – like worrying if the door is locked or avoiding cracks in the pavement. But when these types of anxieties or patterns take control of your day and cause you severe distress, that’s when we’re here to help.

Therapy For You can offer you a range of mental health courses in Essex to better manage this type of problem, beginning with our OCD therapy. Here, we help you understand more about your condition, identify intrusive thoughts and actions that have become part of your life, and develop ways to overcome these unwanted patterns of behaviour.

1-1 Therapy

Speak about what’s troubling you face-to-face with a qualified, supportive therapist – in the comfort and security of a private, confidential setting. Here you can openly discuss your feelings, experiences and symptoms, working one-on-one with your therapist to identify beneficial techniques and skills tailored to your specific circumstances.

One to one counselling therapy service information
Group Therapy

Explore your emotions and develop lifelong techniques, surrounded by people who share the same challenges as you. Our safe, confidential group therapy sessions are led by qualified mental health professionals that get you talking about your thoughts and feelings with peers who understand your situation. Together, take significant steps to feeling better.

Essex group therapy sessions for mental health
Video Therapy

If you cannot attend regular therapy in person, we can bring a qualified therapist to you through our dedicated video calls. Speaking with your therapist on camera at a time and place that suits you, you can openly discuss any issues that are causing you distress or making you feel uncomfortable. You’ll learn new techniques to help you overcome your problems and start you on your path to feeling better.

Remote video call mental health support information
Phone Therapy

If you have a busy family life, mobility issues or other barriers to getting out and about, we can make sure you still have access to the support you need through phone therapy. We arrange calls between you and a qualified therapist throughout the day, meaning you can always access mental health guidance and support at a time and place that’s convenient for you.

Over the phone therapy service information
ieso Typed Therapy

Mental health support that’s there when you need it. When you can’t find a voice to express how you feel, typed therapy by ieso enables you to text your fully qualified therapist at any place and time. Based on proven CBT techniques, you can discuss your concerns in a safe, private and relaxed way, maintaining a record of conversations you can always revisit to support your recovery.

Delivered by ieso
ieso typed therapy information and referrals

Who can access OCD support in Essex?

Therapy For You’s free mental health services are accessible in our North East and South East Essex catchment areas. If you are registered with a GP in the Colchester, Tendring, Southend, Castle Point and Rochford regions, we are ready to help you.

North East Essex mental health services map of areas covered including Colchester, Harwich, Mersea and Clacton

Mental health services in North East Essex

Here are the areas and postcodes covered by our mental health services, available for anyone aged 16 or over.

  • Clacton-on-Sea
  • Colchester
  • Frinton-on-Sea
  • Harwich
  • Manningtree
  • Tendring
  • Walton-on-the-Naze
  • West Mersea

What is OCD?

Affecting approximately 1 in 50 people in the UK, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-related illness characterised by obsessions, compulsions and unhelpful beliefs. 

In the context of OCD, obsessions are intrusive thoughts, urges or images that can come into your head repeatedly. These could include out-of-character images of violence, or nagging doubts about a relationship.

Compulsions, on the other hand, are mental or physical actions that you do to relieve the anxiety that can emerge from your obsession. For example, you might constantly check that your oven is off or touch objects in a certain order, as you believe something bad will happen if you don’t.

You might acknowledge that your beliefs are illogical, but still find it difficult to stop, as compulsions can provide relief from obsessions. However, this respite is often temporary, and tends to make the original obsession stronger, forming a relentless and vicious cycle.

Where does OCD come from?

Obsessive compulsive disorder tends to emerge during adolescence and early adulthood, with symptoms appearing as early as age 6. But beyond this, not much is known about the origins of OCD.

Some researchers theorise that people learn this behaviour from family members, or inherit it through genetics. It is also believed that there is a link between unusually high levels of activity in the brain, low levels of serotonin, and the onset of OCD.

At the same time, important life events have been known to trigger OCD, with symptoms appearing after giving birth or the loss of a loved one. An individual’s personality may also play a role, with anxious, neat and meticulous people thought to be more at risk.

What are the symptoms of OCD?

There are many symptoms of OCD, and everyone’s experience of the condition will be slightly different. With that being said, there are six main symptoms that people generally encounter.

Fear of contamination

Some with OCD fear spreading germs and harming those around them. This could manifest itself as an aversion to touching shared objects, like money and remote controls, or result in a constant need to wash their hands.

A compulsion to constantly check

Checking is when you feel compelled to inspect things over and over again. Before leaving the house you may check whether your hob is off and worry whether your windows are closed, or re-read documents at work multiple times to verify you have absorbed all information.

A need for symmetry and order

You might believe something bad will happen if your home or workplace is untidy or disorderly. This could result in you repeating certain words or numbers silently, or arranging shelves to contain a specific number of items.

Intrusive thoughts

Unwanted thoughts are unwelcome images or urges that enter your head without your control. These might include thoughts of physical violence, sexually disturbing imagery, or unrelenting doubts about a relationship.


While hoarding can be diagnosed as its own disorder, when it turns into an uncontrollable compulsion, it can be classified as a symptom of OCD. If your condition involves hoarding tendencies, you might struggle to get rid of items, or collect an excessive number of things that have no use.

Unhelpful beliefs

As part of your condition, you might also find yourself regularly dealing with unhelpful beliefs. You could be a perfectionist, overestimate threats, find it hard to deal with uncertainty, or feel an enlarged sense of responsibility.

How does OCD feel?

OCD affects everyone differently. For some, they might find it hard to live the way they want, as obsessive thoughts and compulsions dominate their lives. For others, unwanted thoughts and feelings may make it harder to sleep, eat and drink.

Infographic showing how OCD feels and affects people who suffer with it

Do I have OCD?

You might double check that your stove is off before leaving the house, or wash your hands often to prevent the spread of infection – but this doesn’t necessarily mean you have OCD, as many people have mild obsessive compulsive traits.

To determine if you live with the condition, consider whether your thoughts and behaviours control your life, and whether you are:

  • Having unwanted, taboo thoughts of sex, harm or religion constantly
  • Afraid of spreading germs to your loved ones
  • Scared of forgetting or losing something
  • Worried you could lose control of your behaviour
  • Driven to have everything perfectly organised
  • Excessively cleaning or washing your hands
  • Compelled to order items in a certain way
  • Motivated to complete tasks in a specific order
  • Repeatedly counting numbers or saying words
  • Checking things over and over, like inner thoughts and bodily sensations

People with this condition can also sometimes live with unhelpful beliefs that reinforce their behaviours.

4 unhelpful beliefs that people with OCD may suffer with - Infographic

It is important to stress that intrusive thoughts and compulsions are part of normal life for many. But if you’re finding it hard to control your behaviour, even when you recognise it is excessive, it is time to speak to an expert about OCD therapy.

How can OCD affect me?

If OCD goes unaddressed, this condition can have a huge impact on your thoughts, actions, and how you live your everyday life.

Performing tasks may become harder

Depending on the severity and symptoms of your disorder, you may find it hard to concentrate on tasks, and spend a lot of time carrying out compulsions to relieve your obsessions in the short term.

This can make it hard to work, study, or perform essential actions like eating, sleeping or drinking, especially if you avoid certain triggers like leaving the house or completing your weekly shop.

Maintaining relationships can become difficult

As well as having less time and energy to devote to friends, family members and colleagues, the onset of OCD might make it hard to foster relationships, as you may feel embarrassed to spend extended periods of time with loved ones, opting to hide your condition.

You might feel isolated and alone

Whether it’s intrusive thoughts of violence, or unwanted flashes of sensitive imagery, the obsessions and compulsions you experience can fill you with feelings of shame and worry. As a result, you may choose to spend more time alone and away from others.

Your mental health can deteriorate

It is common for OCD to bring about intense feelings of stress and anxiety, and allow other types of mental health conditions to take hold, such as body dysmorphic disorder, panic disorder and separation anxiety.

How can I treat OCD?

For many, OCD is a debilitating disorder that affects their life in a variety of ways. Thankfully, this condition can be addressed, allowing you to live a healthier, happier life.

While the recommended treatment for OCD will depend on the symptoms and severity of your condition, there are two main types of treatment available:

What is OCD therapy?

How can OCD therapy help me?

With obsessive compulsive disorder counselling to support you, you can start your journey to feeling better.

Evidence-based treatments like CBT equip you with life skills to challenge your thought patterns, gain control over your compulsive behaviours, and beat anxiety disorders.

How long does OCD therapy usually last?

Much like the range of symptoms you can experience with OCD, the length of your therapy sessions can vary greatly.

For more mild cases, the NHS recommends anywhere from 8 to 16 sessions to make lasting improvements. For those with more severe symptoms, you might expect to attend more – though this will depend on your situation.

Also in more severe presentations, we may talk with you about receiving additional help from our colleagues in our secondary care mental health teams.

Outside of sessions, you will be asked to put the techniques you learn into practice, and improve your skills for years to come.

Looking for support with your OCD in Essex?

We hope this page has helped you better understand what OCD is, how the condition can impact your day-to-day life, and ways you can get treatment.

Remember, while many will experience their own obsessions and compulsions, not everyone will be classed as living with OCD. But if you feel unable to cope with intrusive thoughts and compulsions, we are here to support you.

Our OCD therapy in Essex is available both in-person and online, and can help you identify your own triggers, allowing you to develop a healthier relationship with your mental health.

For more information on OCD therapy and the courses available to you, get in touch to book an assessment with one of our qualified therapists.

Ready to start your journey to feeling better with Therapy For You?

Discover our treatment pathways, gain lifelong techniques to improve your wellbeing and embrace a happier, healthier future.

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Talking Therapies

Make a self-referral for our 1-1, group, phone or video therapy sessions.

Get started with ieso Typed Therapy in Essex

ieso Typed Therapy

Check your eligibility for ieso and text a qualified therapist around your schedule.

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