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The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts

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An example of the latter outcome was Isaac, a patient of mine in his midtwenties who had always loved animals. Yet by the time I met him he cringed every time he passed a dog or cat on the street. Just a glance at the wagging tail was enough to start the bad thoughts—he felt compelled to stare at the dog's anus and his thoughts would start. They were always the same, thoughts of intercourse with the dog, followed by the worry that this meant he was really a pervert. He was often convinced it was true: "Why in the world," he asked himself, "should looking at a dog or a cat on the streets lead me to stare at their private parts or trigger these thoughts about having sex with them—unless that is what I really want?" IN THE consideration of the faculties and impulses -- of the prima mobilia of the human soul, the phrenologists have failed to make room for a propensity which, although obviously existing as a radical, primitive, irreducible sentiment, has been equally overlooked by all the moralists who have preceded them. In the pure arrogance of the reason, we have all overlooked it. We have suffered its existence to escape our senses, solely through want of belief -- of faith; -- whether it be faith in Revelation, or faith in the Kabbala. The idea of it has never occurred to us, simply because of its supererogation. We saw no need of the impulse -- for the propensity. We could not perceive its necessity. We could not understand, that is to say, we could not have understood, had the notion of this primum mobile ever obtruded itself; -- we could not have understood in what manner it might be made to further the objects of humanity, either temporal or eternal. It cannot be denied that phrenology and, in great measure, all metaphysicianism have been concocted a priori. The intellectual or logical man, rather than the understanding or observant man, set himself to imagine designs -- to dictate purposes to God. Having thus fathomed, to his satisfaction, the intentions of Jehovah, out of these intentions he built his innumerable systems of mind. In the matter of phrenology, for example, we first determined, naturally enough, that it was the design of the Deity that man should eat. We then assigned to man an organ of alimentiveness, and this organ is the scourge with which the Deity compels man, will-I nill-I, into eating. Secondly, having settled it to be God's will that man should continue his species, we discovered an organ of amativeness, forthwith. And so with combativeness, with ideality, with causality, with constructiveness, -- so, in short, with every organ, whether representing a propensity, a moral sentiment, or a faculty of the pure intellect. And in these arrangements of the Principia of human action, the Spurzheimites, whether right or wrong, in part, or upon the whole, have but followed, in principle, the footsteps of their predecessors: deducing and establishing every thing from the preconceived destiny of man, and upon the ground of the objects of his Creator.

Anxiety and intrusive thought experts Dr. Martin Seif and Dr. Sally Winston have a particularly interesting way of describing what they believe causes unwanted and intrusive thoughts: We’re not really sure why intrusive thoughts suddenly pop into our heads, but some psychologists have theories. Dr. Lee Baer combines the latest research with his own extensive experience in treating this widespread syndrome. Drawing on information ranging from new advances in brain technology to pervasive social taboos, Dr. Baer explores the root causes of bad thoughts, why they can spiral out of control, and how to recognise the crucial difference between harmless and dangerous bad thoughts.The intent is to impress upon the client that he or she can face what they are afraid of and, eventually, the client will realize that the fear is irrational. The thoughts may not go away entirely, but ERP is extremely successful in turning those obsessive and all-consuming thoughts into mere annoyances (Intrusive Thoughts, Inc., 2017). Hypnosis They say that I spoke with a distinct enunciation, but with marked emphasis and passionate hurry, as if in dread of interruption before concluding the brief, but pregnant sentences that consigned me to the hangman and to hell.

If you have or suspect you have OCD, especially if it is primarily obsessional, this book may give you a lot of comfort and is a must read. Having related all that was necessary for the fullest judicial conviction, I fell prostrate in a swoon. Although the evidence for hypnosis is not as robust as the evidence for medication and therapy, there is still some confidence placed in its application for the treatment of OCD.To learn more about intrusive thoughts, where they come from, why they have a tendency to haunt us so, and figure out how to stop them, there are many options in books that might help: Similarly, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the biblical story of Eve in the Garden of Eden casts the serpent—here an agent of Satan—in the role of the imp. As soon as God specifically tells Adam and Eve that there is only one tree in the Garden that they may not even think about eating from, the release of humanity's troubles (as in the Pandora myth) seems inescapable.

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