Break Free from OCD - Book Review

Break Free From OCD - Book Review

Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT
By Dr. Fiona Challacombe, Dr. Victoria Bream Oldfield and Professor Paul M Salkovskis

A review by Ashley Fulwood, Chief Executive of OCD-UK and OCD sufferer.

Click here to buy from Amazon - Click here to buy from OCD-UK

This book was published on 1st September 2011

The press release for the book describes this as a practical guide written by three leading Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) experts which enables you to make sense of your symptoms, and gives a clear plan to help you conquer OCD. The book does not fail to offer just that!

If you believe that Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is primarily a psychological illness and that Cognitive Behavioural Treatment (CBT) holds the key to restoring good health then this is the book for you.

Unlike most other OCD books, this book spends a significant amount of time discussing the cognitive aspect of CBT, and helping the reader to understand the mechanisms which drive our obsessive thinking. By doing this, the behavioural exercises which are required to help us overcome this insidious illness make all the more sense, that is what marks this book out from others.

Throughout the book the authors write in a gentle, kind, supportive and most importantly, a positive manner, which like any good therapist helps us relax and feel at ease with the authors and what they write.

It’s written in such an easy to understand style, that is neither too simplistic nor too scientific, which means that this book will be helpful for anyone affected by OCD, from late teens, through to older people, it is written in a style that will benefit people of all ages.

I would also go as far as suggesting that every therapist involved in treating people with OCD must read this book, because if the therapists treating us with OCD understand the principles written in this book, then ultimately, we as sufferers, will benefit from their increased understanding of the illness.

The books back cover promotion correctly says that whether your condition is mild or severe, this definitive resource will help you reclaim your life and keep OCD away for good. I certainly would agree with that, it’s one of the best OCD self-help guides focusing on CBT I have read for many years.

Perhaps one criticism is that it does not really offer any extended advice for those whose OCD is severe and entrenched, when OCD is so severe it is hard to see the wood for the trees, where the power of the OCD becomes all-consuming and taking that first step seems impossible. In such circumstances self-help materials like this book will perhaps not be enough to break the shackles of OCD anyway and professional help and guidance will be needed, but, this book still remains a must read because it contains the core principles which ultimately will help them unlock the door to a life free of OCD. It also contains lots of helpful and practical information to help people access professional support, both through the NHS and privately.

Throughout the book it uses four primary case studies to help illustrate the theories being discussed, those are:

  • Checking
  • Contamination
  • Rumination (Pure-O)
  • Religious Blasphemous OCD (scrupulosity)

Each case study will demonstrate that the cognitive principles in challenging our OCD thought processes are primarily the same, regardless of the form of OCD, so this book really is suitable for anyone, with any form of OCD. This also illustrates that importance of the cognitive aspect of treating OCD, which is often overlooked for the behavioural part (ERP).

The book does not just confine itself to those four categories of OCD, it also discusses those who think they may have compulsions but no obsessions, and vice-versa, those with obsessions but not compulsions. It also offers informative information for Family, friends and carers (FFC), including practical advice for FFC to help you approach the subject of OCD with a sufferer that will not accept they have OCD.

The book also contains helpful worksheets which are designed to get you thinking more closely about how your OCD impacts on your life, and from my own experience this is actually a fantastic thought provoking exercise to get you understanding your own OCD in ways you had not previously realised, It can be an emotional exercise, but incredibly valuable non-the-less.

Similarly the goal setting exercise to set short term, medium term and long term goals is a positive exercise which is equally invaluable during therapy, and allows you to guide yourself during the therapeutic process.

To summarise, I would highly recommend this book to anyone showing mild symptoms through to those struggling and suffering with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, including family members. This book allows you to make sense of your OCD in ways which allows you to see what’s going on, and understand how our obsessional worries that keep us locked in a life of OCD can be changed, allowing us to Break free from OCD.

Product details
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Vermilion
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0091939690
ISBN-13: 978-0091939694
Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.5 x 2.2 cm

Copyright © 2004-2017 OCD-UK.
Charity Registration Number: 1103210
OCD-UK, Marble Hall (Office 5), 80 Nightingale Road, Derby DE24 8BF

OCD-UK is a non-profit making charity and not associated with any other organisation. Medical information is provided for education/information purposes only, you should obtain further advice from your doctor. Any links to external websites have been carefully selected, however we are not responsible for the content of these third party websites.