Simply ACT for OCD

When I think of Martin Luther King  I think of a courageous guy who knew his outcome. I see a guy who accepted the battering and abuse he received. Not because he was weak, but because he was strong.

I can't think of a better example of what it is to apply acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

Accepting your scary, nasty thoughts is terrifying. And no doubt facing thousands of white oppressors would have been horrific. But MLK knew. He knew that retaliating would only have made it worse. It's the same with your obsessive intrusive thoughts. If you fight, you will lose. If you accept, you will win.

ACT really is that simple. But it's hard. It's hard to remind yourself to not answer your thoughts, to not question them or justify them. It's bloody hard to accept them. It's hard to accept that you might be gay, that you may be a peadophille, that you just ran over someone, that your relationship isn't right. It's hard to accept the lies your brain throws at you. None of us want to accept these thoughts. Who would?! But that's why OCD is so scary because it's ego-dystonic. It shows us the opposite of what we want and who we are.

As we learned from MLK, rebellion is not the answer. As OCD sufferers (for now) we must swallow the lies. We must let them burn our very soul. We must accept them and the anxiety that comes with them. It's our duty to our recovery.

OCD thought "What if you just ran over that person"

ACT answer "oh well. Thanks for letting me know brain"

OCD thought "She isn't intelligent enough. You're trapped in a loveless relationship"

ACT answer "Thanks for that useless piece of information."

OCD thought "What if someone touched that glass before you and it is infected"

ACT answer "WOOOOOOWWWWW. Thanks for telling me. NOT."

ACT in its simplest form is accepting the thoughts in your head, and then acting in accordance to your values. The result? You show your brain that your thoughts aren't important and that your action is.


Step 1: Recognize that the Stuff in Your Head is not you.

Step 2: Accept that you’re experiencing whatever it is that you’re experiencing.

Step 3: Act according to your values.

Over time we retrain our brains to not pay any credence to our OCD thoughts and to focus on what truly matters.

Little by little we step past OCD.

To your success,


P.S. You can get a great book on ACT free if you sign up to the OCD Stories community (free of charge): http://theocdstories.com/join-the-community/

The Acceptance Field guide


  1. Liz December 6, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    This is really help and succinct. Thanks Stuart.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm


  2. Ray Jantz February 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks for condensing ACT down to its essence and reminding me that this simple (although extremely hard) practice is the pathway to a better life! Posts like this strengthen my resolve!

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks Ray

Leave a Reply

Your Name *
Your Email *

Contact Me

Using the contact form to send me an email

Keep in touch or say hi

Please note: I only answer emails once a week, please be patient, I will respond in time.