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Hand washing OCD

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

David Willis reports a successful "hand washing OCD" case with a 4 year old child. Please note that several techniques were used--among them being NLP, reframing and EFT. Practitioners often blend EFT with other techniques and usually report enhanced results because of the blend.

Hugs, Gary

by David Willis

Dear Gary,

I work part time as a consultant and NLP therapist at a private mental health facility in North Carolina. I received your EFT training materials about three weeks ago and have begun to utilize the techniques. The Director of the clinic received a call concerning a four-year-old child who had developed an OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) that manifests itself as compulsive hand washings. The child was washing his hands over thirty times an evening and would rage and cry if restrained from the ritual washings. The parents were distraught and were on the verge of panic.

I was asked if I would see the child and I subsequently scheduled an appointment. I talked with the mother beforehand and discussed with her the importance of immediately allowing the behaviors to occur without the parents attaching any unusual notice to the washings, to act as if everything was normal. This reduced the traumatic effects to the child and in effect desensitized the behavior.

The child was brought in a few days later, his hands raw from the repeated washings. I had set up paper and crayons and began to establish rapport and a playful atmosphere. I ask him to draw himself and his parents and then we talked about his K4 kindergarten teacher. He immediately said he didn't want to talk about her, clenched his fist, pushed the crayons away and began to display anxiety. I was able to ask a few more questions and utilizing some NLP techniques got him to agree to reduce his hand washings.

The mention of the teacher created such a level of hyper-activity that utilizing EFT at that time was impossible. Therefore it became necessary to teach the technique to the parents so that when the OCD was evident that they could utilize the process. A subsequent phone report on his progress two days later showed improvement. I had instructed the parents to say "dirty hands" while tapping but this created more distress so they started saying "clean hands" while utilizing EFT and he would immediately calm down. The next session at the clinic was scheduled. I purchased finger paints and for the first 30 minutes or so we simply played and made quite a mess. I had fun!

I then mentioned the hand washing and the teacher's name. The child immediately switched to black colors and began an almost frenzied coloring of the paper with two brushes. He calmed down quickly and resumed normal play. After some more questions and reframes using NLP, we concluded the session and his parents told him to wash up. He spent only a few moments washing up and his hands and arms still showed evidence of the paint. He showed no concern for the remaining paint on his hands.

The OCD is continuing to diminish and no further sessions have been scheduled three weeks after the last appointment.

David Willis

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