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The Many Faces of OCD: Exploring the Different Subtypes

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a multifaceted mental health condition with various subtypes, each with unique characteristics and challenges. Understanding the different subtypes of OCD is essential in fostering empathy, reducing stigma, and providing effective treatment. At Good Therapy SF, we strive to educate individuals about the diverse manifestations of OCD to promote better mental health awareness within our community.

Contamination Obsessions with Cleaning Compulsions

One of the most recognized subtypes of OCD involves fears of contamination leading to cleaning compulsions. Individuals may fear germs, dirt, or other contaminants, leading to extensive cleaning or washing rituals to alleviate anxiety.

Harm Obsessions with Checking Compulsions

Individuals with this subtype often experience intrusive thoughts about causing harm to themselves or others. They may engage in checking behaviors to ensure no harm has been caused, like repeatedly checking that the stove is off to prevent a fire.

Symmetry Obsessions with Ordering/Arranging Compulsions

People with symmetry obsessions may feel distress when objects are misaligned or in disarray. They might spend considerable time arranging items meticulously to achieve a sense of balance or order.

Unwanted Sexual Thoughts

This subtype involves distressing and unwanted sexual thoughts that might concern the individual’s sexual orientation, sexual aggressiveness, or inappropriate sexual behaviors. It’s crucial to note that these thoughts are ego-dystonic, meaning they don’t align with the individual’s self-view or desires.

Religious or Moral Obsessions (Scrupulosity)

Individuals with scrupulosity may worry excessively about committing moral or religious infractions. They might engage in prayer or other religious rituals to mitigate anxiety.

Relationship OCD (rOCD)

This subtype involves persistent doubts and compulsions related to romantic relationships. Individuals might continually seek reassurance or analyze their feelings and actions within the relationship.

Treatment and Support at Good Therapy SF

Every subtype of OCD, while unique, can be effectively treated with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). At Good Therapy SF, we tailor our treatment approaches to meet the individual needs of each client, ensuring they receive the support necessary to manage their OCD symptoms and improve their quality of life.


The various subtypes of OCD demonstrate the complexity of this disorder. With informed care and a supportive therapeutic environment, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Understanding the different faces of OCD is the first step towards fostering a more compassionate and informed society. If you or a loved one is struggling with OCD or any other mental health issue, the skilled professionals at Good Therapy SF are here to help. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services and to schedule an appointment. Your journey towards better mental health is a collaborative effort, and we are here to support you every step of the way.