Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What is OCD?

OCD is a condition which can cause you to have unwanted recurring thoughts, ideas or urges (obsessions) that drive you to carry out a particular behaviour repeatedly (compulsions). These repetitive behaviours – or mental acts – are meant to relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the thought or stop something bad from happening. However, they tend to only provide short-term relief and leave you feeling much worse in the long-term.


OCD symptoms can vary in terms of their severity. For some people, these thoughts and compulsive behaviours can take up to an hour of their day – whereas for others it can take over their entire life.

What are the symptoms of OCD?

    • Obsessions – where an unwanted thought, image or urge repeatedly enters your mind
    • Anxiety – the obsession provokes intense anxiety 
    • Compulsion – repetitive behaviours -or mental acts – are performed to bring about relief from the anxiety
    • Temporary relief – the compulsive behaviour brings about temporary relief but soon enough, the anxiety and obsession returns

The compulsive behaviours people engage in can also vary from: counting, reassurance seeking, repeating words silently, extensively overthinking, thinking ‘neutralising thoughts’, cleaning and hand washing, checking – and other behaviours.

consultation taking notes

Treatment for OCD

The most effective treatment for OCD is cognitive behavioural therapy. This will involve graded exposure and response prevention (ERP). The focus will be on experiencing the obsessive thought/s without acting on them or trying to ‘neutralise’ them with compulsive behaviour.


If your OCD is severe, it can help to have a consultation with a Consultant Psychiatrist to consider medication options to help you manage your symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

It’s important to get help for OCD if your obsessive thoughts are beginning to interfere with your daily life or you find yourself spending a lot of time engaging in rituals (or compulsions) in order to manage your anxiety.

It’s normal to feel anxious about exposing yourself to situations you find difficult. During your sessions, your therapist will make a judgement call around what they believe you can safely manage and tolerate and develop a very graded plan so you can make progress in a way that is always taking into account your levels of anxiety and discomfort.

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced consultant psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.