Month: January 2016

18 Things to Know About Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Personality DisorderDo you know what Obsessive-Compulsive Personality is?  No, not Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.  OCPD.  Many people think they are the same thing.  They’re not.

Although 15 percent of those with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder also have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the two are actually very different psychological disorders, characterized by totally different sets of diagnostic criteria identified by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, or DSM-5 (the bible in mental health).

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is an identified anxiety disorder, while Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is, well, a personality disorder.  OCD is characterized by recurrent, persistent thoughts that are often unreasonable in nature (called obsessions), which lead to repetitive behaviors (called compulsions).  These obsessions and compulsions can manifest in many different ways, but they frequently and most commonly center on theses such as a fear of germs, cleanliness, the need to arrange objects in a specific manner, checking and re-checking things an excessive number of times, counting things, and hair-pulling.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, on the other hand, is more about personality traits and perceptions.  “Those with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder exhibit a long-standing, consistent pattern of preoccupation with perfectionism, inflexibility, mental and interpersonal control, and rigid adherence to rules and procedures,” according to Samantha Gluck’s article “Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis” found at the Healthy Place website.  Additionally, while OCD can certainly be problematic and offer its own set of significant difficulties, it isn’t something that makes a person toxic or abusive,  Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, however, can make an individual extremely difficult to get along with, and in some cases, may even make the person toxic and controlling in their relationships.

Now that you know the difference between Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and won’t confuse the two, here are 18 facts to introduce you to the personality disorder that affects 8 percent of the population.  It is so common, in fact, that chances are good that you have probably encountered an individual with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder at some time in your life.

18 Things to Know About Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

  1. Symptoms of the personality disorder usually appear by early adulthood.
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder can affect both men and women, though it occurs more in men.
  3. At the root of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is a deep fear of failure.
  4. Individuals with the disorder exhibit an excessive preoccupation with details, lists, schedules, rules, and orderliness.
  5. These individuals are extremely conscientious and can be described as perfectionists.  Their perfectionism interferes with their ability to complete tasks, and because they fear others won’t be able to perform up to their rigid standards, they are usually unwilling to delegate tasks.
  6. People with the disorder follow a strict adherence to moral and ethical codes and rules and can become upset when others don’t follow these same rules or adhere to the same moral code.
  7. Characteristic of the disorder, these individuals can be described as inflexible, being unable to agree to changes in rules or procedures.
  8. Those with the disorder are often workaholics; friends and family come after work, resulting in few friendships and poor relationships.
  9. A person with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder may exhibit hoarding behaviors, as they have difficulty throwing anything away.  The items hoarded are often useless and worthless and hold no sentimental value.  There are different reasons for this:  Many have difficulty parting with things because they worry, “What if I need it someday?”  Some believe if there is a chance that an item can one day be fixed, they won’t part with it.  And then there are some individuals who feel that they must part with the item “the right way.”  For example, they can’t just give it to charity, it must be given to the right charity.
  10. These people generally have difficulty expressing affection and watching others openly express emotions around them.
  11. Those with the disorder possess a deep need for order and control.  When one loses control of a situation, intense fear and anxiety result.
  12. As with most mental disorders, a combination of biology and environmental factors likely lead to the development of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.
  13. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is vastly underdiagnosed.
  14. People with the personality disorder can vary in their housekeeping rituals.  Some are obsessively clean and tidy, and some are obsessive about labeling and organizing.
  15. These individuals often excessively hoard money and might be considered miserly.
  16. In order to be diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, the person’s symptoms must significantly interfere with daily functioning.
  17. Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is often difficult. Treatment options that don’t fit within the individual’s cognitive schema will likely be rejected by the person.
  18. Prognosis for an individual with the disorder tends to be better than that for other personality disorders if treatment is obtained.


“Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis” by Samantha Gluck

“OCD vs. OCPD”

“Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Treatment”


In Other Words… The Power of Positive Reframing – with Free Positive Reframes Printable

In Other Words... The Power of Positive ReframingDo other peoples’ expectations influence our performance?  Do the labels we place on others affect their behaviors?  The truth is, the words we choose to describe things, people, and events indeed affect how we think about them!  A label, whether it be positive or negative, can change your whole experience.  Your perception completely changes.  And give a person a label, and more often than not, they will live up to the labels given to them.  That’s pretty powerful!

An Important Experiment

In 1964 a Harvard professor named Robert Rosenthal became the first psychologist to study whether one’s expectations can affect another person’s performance.  He conducted an experiment at an elementary school south of San Francisco in an effort to figure out what would happen if teachers were told that particular students in their class were about to experience a “dramatic growth in their IQ” and destined to succeed.

Rosenthal took a standardized IQ test – Flanagan’s Test of General Ability – and printed a new cover for each of the test booklets that were given to the students.  The booklets reflected the test’s new fabricated title:  “Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition.”  Rosenthal told the teachers at the school that this test had the ability to predict which students would be experiencing a growth in their IQ.

After the children took the test, Rosenthal then chose several kids from every class at random and told the teachers that the test had predicted that those particular students were “on the verge of an intense intellectual boom.”  In truth, there was nothing to distinguish the chosen students from the other children at all.

The students were followed over the next two years, and the findings were astounding.  Rosenthal learned that the teachers’ expectations of those chosen students actually did affect their performance!  Rosenthal reported, “If teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ.”  More research found that expectations affect teachers’ moment-to-moment interactions with their students in a number of ways.  In this case, the teachers had given the students that they expected to succeed more time to answer questions, provided them more specific feedback, and given them more approval.  Additionally, the teachers were observed to consistently nod, touch, and smile more at those selected students.

In Other Words... The Power of Positive ReframingPositive Thoughts and Words Change Our Whole Experience

The truth is that by using positive language in our thoughts and words when we refer to a person’s actions and behavior, we are able to change our perceptions and ultimately able to change our whole experience.  This can be particularly important in our interactions with children and adolescents, whether we are their parents, teachers, bus drivers, therapists, or even acquaintances.  If we are able to think positively about the challenging behaviors that children and teens can bring in particular, we can actually effectively change our own feelings about the child.  The more positively we perceive their behavior, the more positive feelings we have toward the child.  Yes.  Our words and our expectations are that powerful.

Changing Your Perception

So, exactly how can we use positive language when referring to a child’s behavior when it can be so darn challenging?  With the practice of positive reframing.  Positive reframing entails taking a challenging behavior or quality that often carries a negative connotation and applying a strengths-based spin on it.  By applying more positive language to an otherwise negative label, we are purposefully focusing on naming a child’s positive behaviors and qualities.  After all, no one likes to be negatively labeled.  When we possess the ability to see the positives amidst the challenges and problems, we can ultimately influence how the child behaves.

Examples of Positive Reframing

Need examples of how to put a positive spin on those negative characteristics and behaviors?  I have included a free printable of several common characteristics that children and teens can sometimes possess that generally carry a negative connotation.  The list I’ve created is actually an expansion of a list I’ve seen floating around Pinterest for several years.  I’ve actually seen it on a number of websites, and I’m not sure of the list’s original author, but they did an excellent job.  I have used their list many, many times!

In Conclusion…

The words we choose to describe things affects how we think about those things.  Thinking positively about the challenges we face changes our perception, ultimately changing our whole experience.  With positive reframing, we are able to increase out ability to cope with the challenging behaviors that children and adolescents can sometimes present.  Reframing also improves our ability to be able to solve the problems creatively with the child.  Think of positive reframing as a powerful tool in your mental box of tricks.


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