If you are a parent of a child who has OCD, you know only too well how easy it is to get entangled in an endless argument where you try to use logic to no avail. You tell your child how unlikely it is that something bad will happen, you teach her to think positively, you reassure her, and you try to help her out.
As I’m stepping out of my office into the reception area to get my next patient, Michael, I can see that he is distressed.
“What’s going on?” I ask as we take our seats.
When experiencing a negative emotion, we often try to ignore it, pretend it's not there, or distract ourselves. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of energy and does not always work. A surprisingly effective strategy to diminish a negative emotion is to actually stay with the emotion, identify it, and name it in your mind or say it out loud. Psychologists call it Affect Labeling (naming your feelings)