2022 Virtual OCD-UK Conference - Welcome to Hotel OCD-UK, flying the flag for recovery!

Professor Mark Freeston
Professor Mark Freeston
Professor Mark Freeston

When OCD and religion get entangled

 Broadcast live on Saturday 19th November 2022
Professor Mark Freeston, Newcastle University.

Presentation subject

For most religious people, their religion and the way they experience it is a central part of their lives and is source of strength, support and solace. It can be a great help for those who experience all kinds of difficulties. For people with OCD who are religious it can be a real help in dealing with the demands of living with OCD and the challenges of treatment and working toward recovery. However, there are some people for whom their religion gets entangled with their OCD. First, there are those who experience obsessive thoughts they consider against their values, their true nature, or their sense of what is right and wrong. Their religious beliefs and practices can get caught up in trying to make sense of these thoughts. Second, we know also that OCD “hijacks” parts of people’s lives that are important to them. There are a group of people where the content of their obsessions and the nature of their compulsions are religious in nature. What is a normally a source of strength and solace has become an area of complication and distress. This presentation considers some of the ways in which OCD and religion get entangled and some thoughts about how to disentangle them so that people may experience their religion without the complications and distress that OCD can bring. The implications for people with OCD, for religious authorities, and therapists are all briefly considered.
About the speaker

Mark completed his studies in clinical psychology at Université Laval in Québec in 1995. After completing post-doctoral studies, Mark took up a position as Assistant Professor (Research) at Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin in Montréal. Mark moved to Newcastle in September 2000 to take post as Director of Research and Training at the Newcastle Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies Centre Mark was director of the Newcastle Post Graduate Diploma until 2010.

In March 2001, Mark was appointed Professor of Clinical Psychology at Newcastle University where he Research Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He teaches research methods in clinical psychology and provides research supervision to PhD, DClinPsy, MPhil, MSc and undergraduate students. Mark chaired the NICE Guideline Development Group for OCD and BDD (NICE, 2006). Mark’s main research interests have been in the field of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Recent work focuses on intolerance of uncertainty as a transdiagnostic process across anxiety, OC-related, and other disorders and as a trans-situational response to diverse situations, including the pandemic, climate change, caregiving and long-term health conditions.

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