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The OCD Contract

(Thank you Jenny Peetoom, R.Psych for creating this article for the Alberta OCD Foundation to share with the OCD community. This is a very creative way to see how OCD can create an enforceable agreement (contract) with a sufferer).

Contracts or service agreements often come with fine print. If you have gotten a new credit card or cell phone recently you have entered into a contract. Many contracts come with simple statements outlining what you are agreeing to, followed by small, often complicated text that provides the details and limitations of each aspect of the agreement. Many, if not most of us, make an assumption that this “fine print” is standard stuff. We skim it over and sign that we have read it. We place our confidence in the companies that create the contracts - assuming they have followed the legal requirements expected of them and that contracts generally protect the consumer and company both.


OCD is like a contract between you and a part of your mind. The general agreement is simple enough. Here it is:


OCD (service provider) commits to providing relief from the anxiety you (customer) experience when you (customer) encounter uncertainty. You (customer) agree to follow the rules OCD (service provider) sets out for you (customer) in order to experience relief from anxiety.


And then comes the fine print:


1.0 Service Provider: nature and specifics of how the service provider shows up can shift and change without notice

  • 1.1 At times there may be more than one version of the service provider at any given time

  • 1.2 The service provider holds control over when and how to provide service

  • 1.3 At times the service provider will dispense rules even in the absence of anxiety

  • 1.4 The service provider is not responsible for loss of quality of life, time, or energy of the customer


2.0 Relief: The relief provided is temporary

  • 2.1 Long term costs of drawing on relief will vastly outweigh the temporary relief provided