Co-occuring Disorders
Monday, March 12, 2018 12 pm
- 1 pm

Over the past few years, there has been increased awareness and understanding of OCD within the general public. The simplest definition of OCD is the frequent experience of intrusive thoughts and associated behaviors engaged in to decrease discomfort associated with these thoughts. 

One category of OCD which we frequently see at our treatment center that is less understood and sadly can be associated with tremendous emotional pain and suffering is Harm OCD. Harm OCD is no different from other forms of OCD in that one experiences frequent, uncomfortable intrusive thoughts and associated behaviors to decrease emotional discomfort and attempt to gain control over the thoughts. But what is unique (and so devastating ) about Harm OCD is that it strikes where it hurts most. Harm OCD goes after one's values and sense of identity and injects thoughts that conflict with everything one holds most true and life enhancing about themselves. 

This webinar shares tips and tools to: identify if you may be dealing with Harm OCD; make sense of why Harm OCD picks such painful themes and content; take the power away from Harm OCD, and re-engage in your life now.

Webinar Q&A

Q: I was wondering whether or not I could get some ideas or suggestions for hierarchy items-exposure for fear of molesting their child-pedophile OCD. My clients fears are only related to her own children. Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

A: Sample exposure hierarchy items for individuals struggling with pedophile OCD.
Sample hierarchy items:

  • repeatedly saying out loud and writing “I am a pedophile” or “I am attracted to me child”
  • imaginal exposure of sexually molesting her child
  • imaginal exposure of sexually molesting child with all details leading to feared consequences (harming child, being ostracized and isolated and alone, not being able to live with guilt, etc) (downward arrow can help identify specific feared consequences for patient)
  • looking at pictures of child (or other children) and saying or thinking “I am attracted to child”
  • if client engages in compulsion of body scanning to see if showing physical sensations of arousal, combining exposure to images of child with thought “I am feeling sensations of being sexually attracted such as tingling or increased wetness” (whatever clients feared sensations)
  • you can go with client to a park and stare at children and practice having the thought “I am a pervert and depraved and attracted to children” 

And of course you will need to customize a bit for clients specific feats.

About the Presenter(s)

Debra Kissen, PhD, MHSA

Debra Kissen headshote

Dr. Debra Kissen is the Clinical Director of the Light on Anxiety Treatment Center of Chicago.  

Dr. Kissen specializes in CBT based treatment to children, adolescents and adults with a focus on anxiety and stress-related disorders, including OCD, PTSD, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety disorder, compulsive skin picking, trichotillomania and other Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). Dr. Debra Kissen applies the principles of evidence-based treatments while at the same time treating the whole person, with deep respect for the human spirit and the challenges we all face on our journey through life.

Dr. Kissen is a Clinical Fellow at the Anxiety Depression Association of America (ADAA) and is a Co-Chair of ADAA's Public Education Committee.  

Ashley D. Kendall, PhD


Ashley D. Kendall, PhD, is a clinical psychologist actively engaged in both scientific research and clinical practice. Dr. Kendall received her PhD in clinical science from Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), and currently practices at Light on Anxiety Treatment Center of Chicago (Illinois). Her studies, conducted in collaboration with leading experts in the field, have uncovered new biological and emotional risk factors for the development of anxiety and related disorders, and have demonstrated the efficacy new psychosocial treatments. Her work has been published in top medical and psychological journals, including the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Psychoneuroendocrinology. In her clinical practice, Dr. Kendall provides cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to children, adolescents, and adults. She specializes in combining CBT with mindfulness-based techniques to help patients navigate life transitions, and overcome anxiety, stress, and depression.

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