Don't let your thoughts and fears define you. In Overcoming Harm OCD, psychologist Jon Hershfield offers powerful cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness tools to help you break free from the pain and self-doubt caused by harm OCD.
Do you suffer from violent, unwanted thoughts and a crippling fear of harming others? Are you afraid to seek treatment for fear of being judged? If so, you may have harm OCD - an anxiety disorder associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). First and foremost, you need to know that these thoughts do not define you as a human being. But they can cause a lot of real emotional pain. So, how can you overcome harm OCD and start living a better life?
Written by an expert in treating harm OCD, this much-needed book offers a direct and comprehensive explanation of what harm OCD is and how to manage it. You'll learn why you have unwanted thoughts, how to identify mental compulsions, and find an overview of cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based treatment approaches that can help you reclaim your life. You'll also find tips for disclosing violent obsessions, finding adequate professional help, and working with loved ones to address harm OCD systemically. And finally, you'll learn that your thoughts are just thoughts, and that they don't make you a bad person.
If you have harm OCD, it's time to move past the stigma and start focusing on solutions. This evidence-based guide will help light the way.
“If you have obsessions and compulsions related to the fear of harm, you should have this book! Jon Hershfield has an engaging writing style and a keen understanding of this problem that he passes along to the reader. Most importantly, he pulls together scientifically supported interventions into a useful self-help format. The numerous illustrations and examples will help you implement these strategies and overcome your harm-related obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms.”
—Jonathan S. Abramowitz, PhD, professor in the department of psychology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, and director of the UNC Anxiety and Stress Clinic
“I have often thought of harming Jon, since I am jealous that he writes these really good books that I wish I had written instead of him. But, I will sit with that thought and just be happy with the fact that I have a great reference to refer my patients and my students to when questions of Harm OCD arise in therapy and supervision. Good work, Jon. This book will be a great addition to the OCD literature. Just watch your back...”
—Patrick B. McGrath, PhD, assistant vice president and residential services clinical director at AMITA Health, Foglia Family Foundation Residential Treatment Center
“Overcoming Harm OCD is a remarkable contribution to the self-help literature in OCD. Hershfield has a masterful way of presenting complex concepts in an easy-to-understand manner and then linking them with effective therapeutic strategies. This book will be a valuable resource for individuals with Harm OCD, as well as applied practitioners who work with individuals with OCD or want to learn more.”
—Eric Storch, PhD, vice chair, professor, and McIngvale Presidential Endowed Chair at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine
“If you have Harm OCD, the best thing you can do is work with a skilled therapist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for OCD like Jon Hershfield. The next best thing is to use Overcoming Harm OCD to help yourself. If you do find a good therapist, they may recommend the book too, I know I will recommend it for my Harm OCD patients.”
—James Claiborn, PhD, ABPP, ACT, psychologist specializing in OCD and related disorders, diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology in Counseling Psychology, diplomate and founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and coauthor of TheHabit Change Workbook and The BDD Workbook
“Overcoming Harm OCD is an invaluable resource for anyone afflicted by inexplicable violent thoughts they are terrified of acting upon, even while realizing their fears are irrational. The author, OCD therapist Jon Hershfield, writes with a deep compassion for all who suffer from Harm OCD but too often won’t seek the help they need due to unwarranted feelings of shame. In this easily readable, inspiring, and informative book, he expertly explains why the best way to deal with Harm OCD is to lean into it and learn how to live with uncertainty. I’m putting it on my ‘highly recommended’ list.”
—Jonathan Hoffman, PhD, ABPP, licensed psychologist, cofounder and clinical director of the Neurobehavioral Institute and NBI Ranch in Southeast Florida, member of the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), and author of Stuck
“Whether you battle violent obsessions as sufferer or treatment provider, Jon Hershfield’s Overcoming Harm OCD will prove to be a potent weapon in your arsenal. As one of the nation’s most respected OCD psychotherapists and authors, Jon offers his wisdom and wit in a wonderfully organized and enjoyable-to-read format. His masterful integration of components of cognitive therapy, exposure and response prevention (ERP), acceptance and mindfulness, and self-compassion provide the reader with very practical and effective ways to deflate the debilitating distress that OCD delivers.”
—Charles Brady, PhD, ABPP, director of the OCD and anxiety program at the Lindner Center of HOPE; vice president at OCD Midwest; associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
“Overcoming Harm OCD breaks down the complexity of Harm OCD into easy-to-understand and practical language. Jon Hershfield’s masterful description of unwanted violent obsessions will be greatly appreciated by those affected by these symptoms. His step-by-step instructions and helpful road map for incorporating acceptance and self-compassion elements are sure to encourage, strengthen, and enhance CBT treatment. This is a must-have resource for clients and professionals alike!”
—Amy Jacobsen, PhD, licensed psychologist specializing in the treatment of OCD in Kansas, and coauthor of Childhood Anxiety Disorders
“You aren’t crazy or bad, you are human. Being human means dealing with difficult things; OCD is a difficult thing, albeit a very difficult thing. Jon’s book addresses the concerns you may have around these challenging thoughts of harm, makes you feel a little bit more normal, and focuses on helping you through it using examples, exercises, and questions. All wrapped in the gold-standard science of CBT for OCD, supported by mindfulness and self-love. Jon addresses the waysof dealing with shame, an often-overlooked emotion that holds back recovery. Having interviewed Jon a few times, I can confidently say he knows his stuff, but more importantly than this, he cares.”
—Stuart Ralph, The OCD Stories
“If you have OCD and suffer from violent obsessions, this is the book you need! Jon Hershfield understands the depth of how frightening harm obsessions can be, and the intricacies involved when seeking reassurance from the uncertainty they provoke. His compassion for OCD sufferers is demonstrated on every page, and his guidance and knowledge about applying well-established treatment components to face specific harm obsessions offers a clear path to reclaiming your life from OCD. Whether you suffer from harm obsessions or treat clients who do, this book will be become your go-to resource!”
—Joan Davidson, PhD, codirector of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy; assistant professor in the clinical science program at University of California, Berkeley; and author of Daring to Challenge OCD
“Hershfield has done it! Using straight-up honesty, compassion, and appropriately placed humor, he has written a body of work tackling the ‘untouchable’ subject of harm obsessions in OCD.
I predict that this book becomes the go-to reference for current and future generations of OCD sufferers, their loved ones, and treating clinicians.
Hershfield has deftly avoided being drawn into providing excessive reassurance, which OCD would surely love! Rather, he gifts the reader with tools to live with the uncertainty we must all face as human beings—specifically with respect to our past and future actions.”
—S. Evelyn Stewart, MD, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and director of the Provincial OCD Program at the BC Children’s Hospital
About the Author:
Jon Hershfield, MFT, is director of The OCD and Anxiety Center of Greater Baltimore in Hunt Valley, MD. He specializes in the mindfulness-based and cognitive behavioral treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and is licensed in the states of Maryland, Virginia, and California. Hershfield is coauthor of The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD, and author of When a Family Member Has OCD . He is a frequent presenter at the annual conferences of both the International OCD Foundation and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and a professional contributor to multiple online OCD-related support groups and blogs.