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Digital cognitive therapy helps get rid of disturbing blocked thoughts

Digital cognitive therapy helps get rid of disturbing blocked thoughts

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Klara Olofsdottir Lorey, researcher at Karolinska Institutet Photo: Martin Stenmark

– It is important to know that there is no relationship between so-called forbidden obsessions and actually harming someone, says the psychiatrist. Clara Olofsdóttór Luriewho recently defended a thesis on this topic in Department of Clinical NeurologyKarolinska Institutet.

Threats in the environment

There are different theories as to why taboo obsessions are especially common among parents of young children. Parents are accustomed to detecting threats in the environment, so perhaps it is natural for one to look for hidden dangers in oneself as well. For about twenty percent, such thoughts and the fear of their realization become something disturbing and recurrent.

– Life with children can then be limited in many ways, for example the parent no longer dares to walk with the stroller along a road crowded with traffic, says Klara Olofsdotter-Lori.

In extreme cases, it turns into a psychiatric diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many are reluctant to seek help, for fear of being judged dangerous and losing custody.

Digital processing

Currently, there are no recommended treatments for parents with high levels of blocked obsessions. In her doctoral thesis, Klara Olofsdotter evaluated a digital intervention, still in the research phase, in which participants had to do different cognitive exercises to help them change their interpretation of ideas. Disturbing thoughts were then reduced, compared to the group that did not receive treatment.

Forbidden obsessions say nothing about you as a person. In fact, they are harmless. To learn how to interpret them correctly; “Now I'm having a crazy idea, but it's not dangerous” is the key. This is where we want to get to.

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