Translate This Page

Hi, do you remember that an obsession is when you can't stop thinking about the thing you feel fearful about? Below you can read about Billy, Sarah, Johnny, Jasmine and George's obsessions. Reading their stories will help you work out what your obsessions are.

Hi, I'm Billy! I get thoughts that a bad thing will happen to me or someone else when I make my own decisions. For example, when I make a choice about something, such as what to have for breakfast or what colour socks to wear, I often change my mind and do what OCD wants to stop the bad thing from happening. Caring Carol told me about magical thinking. She said that magical thinking is when you feel fearful that your thoughts will make a bad thing happen but that there has never been any proof to show that thoughts, based on feelings and guesses make bad things come true.

Hi, I'm Sarah. When I go to bed I get in and out lots of times before lying down because it never feels "just right". Also, when people talk it never feels right. I hate it too because nothing seems perfect to me, like my books never seem to be exactly straight on my bookcase. And if I touch one leg I have to touch the other leg to make it even. I have to have everything tidy or I panic. I keep things too and my mom says this isn't good, but I cannot let go of my sweet wrappers, pebbles, hairpins, and loads of other little things too. Caring Carol said she is going to help me to understand about perfectionism and hoarding.

Hello, I'm Johnny. I worry that I'll get germs from other people or from touching their things. It makes me feel like I'll swallow the germs and get sick or feel dirty forever. Caring Carol taught me to understand that there is a difference between feelings and facts. She said a fact is true and a feeling is a sensation that makes a person believe something could be true. This helps me to realise that just because I feel dirty doesn't mean I am germy or will get sick.

One of my hands is dirty - FACT. My other hand is clean but FEELS dirty.  

Hey, I'm Jasmine! When I'm in school I worry that my mum has forgotten to lock the doors and windows. I worry because I think a burglar might get in the house. Caring Carol explained to me that while nothing is certain it is unlikely a break-in will occur because there is only a small risk of a burglar being in our street at any given time. She's going to give me some tips to help me learn to live with uncertainty because she said this is better than worrying forever about something that might even never happen.

Hi guys! I'm George, and I worry about space, tornadoes, volcanoes erupting, earthquakes and lots of other things besides. Caring Carol has encouraged me to set up a "thinking time diary" where I can think about space and other things for one hour only each day. Apparently, she said you can learn fascinating things when you use thinking time positively. She said facing the things you fear helps. I guess she's right because the last time I used my thinking time my dad helped me to make my own toy volcano.

Question Section 

See what you can remember about what you've just learned!

 Caring Carol says please ask your grown-up to help you!

  1. What did Caring Carol tell Billy about magical thinking?
  2. How does Caring Carol help Jasmine be less fearful about her unwanted thoughts?
  3. Do you know what a "thinking time diary" is good for?
  4. There has never been any proof to show that OCD makes children's fears come true. True or False?
  5. What does Johnny learn about feelings and facts? 
Caring Carol says WELL DONE on coming to the end of your first lesson! 

And now for your next lesson...

It's time to go to the next page for your second lesson. 

Simply click on the link below to learn more about compulsions! 

Lesson 2

Parents and caregivers


The learning outcome for this lesson is to help your child understand that when intrusive thoughts enter their minds they can continue with normal activity. It teaches them that there are no special powers that connect thoughts with action. It also teaches your child to trust facts rather than feelings, and to balance an overdeveloped responsibility by challenging probability. A further outcome is to let children know it's okay to have a set amount of time to ponder on obsessive or worrying thoughts. This is fine because it teaches children to shelve their problems and helps them carry on with their normal daily routine until their next "thinking time". Thinking time allows your child to accept that their thoughts are there since trying to ignore the thoughts only makes them push through more. Also unhealthy preoccupation on a given subject causes the child distress because they become overwhelmed which fuels fears and increases dwelling. Your child learns that using their thinking time can be constructive and helps to decrease obsessive thinking. Just to note, thinking time is for focusing on mindful activity away from ruminating, not analysing intrusive thoughts. The special meaning a child puts on their intrusive thoughts however is what is discussed and altered in therapy - e.g., "I'm bad for having that thought" to "I feel bad because of the thought, but this doesn't mean I am bad." 

Copyright © 2013 Carol Edwards. Updated 2016, 2017. 

Images: royalty free advanced search.