WHAT IS MORAL SCRUPULOSITY OCD?
Those with Moral Scrupulosity (Moral Scrup) OCD are excessively concerned with being morally perfect. Unlike Religious Scrupulosity which is focused on living up to a person’s religious beliefs, the focus of Moral Scrup is on living up to a personal belief system or moral code. While most people are concerned with meeting moral standards, those with this form of OCD are consumed with a rigid desire to be moral, even when the “perfect,” moral choice is extreme. By the time people start treatment for Moral Scrupulosity, they may be acting counter to their values in the pursuit of being “perfect” in their morals.
MORAL SCRUPULOSITY SYMPTOMS
How do you know if you have OCD? Only a licensed practitioner can perform an official assessment and provide a diagnosis. That said, the symptoms of OCD include the presence of obsessions and compulsions that take up a significant amount of time, cause distress and impair social, occupational and other important areas of functioning.
Obsessions are intrusive, upsetting, repetitive, thoughts, images and urges. In Moral Scrupulosity, obsessions can include thoughts like:
- I told that person I liked their soup, but I’m not sure that I did. Should I tell them?
- If people knew that I talked about that person behind their back, they might think I’m a bad person and stop talking to me.
- I took five dollars that I found on the street. What if I get arrested?
You can learn more about obsessions and OCD in general here.
Compulsions are behaviors that individuals do in order to get rid of the anxiety, doubt and distress that often result from obsessions. These actions can be overt or covert. A person might do any number of things compulsively, like wash, check, avoid, seek reassurance, analyze thoughts and more. In Moral Scrupulosity OCD, compulsions can look like:
- Correcting yourself if you say something that’s not one hundred percent true
- Beating up on yourself in order to atone for wrongdoings
- Confessing to make sure that loved ones still accept them if the know all their faults
You can learn more about compulsions here.
TREATMENT FOR MORAL SCRUPULOSITY
EXPOSURE AND RESPONSE PREVENTION (ERP)
We approach the treatment of every subtype of OCD in the same way, with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). This involves facing the things that trigger thoughts and feelings without giving into compulsions. For instance, someone with Moral Scrupulosity might recall something they did in their past on purpose and choose not to confess in order to make sure they are not “bad.” The goal is to trigger oneself on purpose and drop compulsions like rumination, reassurance seeking, etc.
The ultimate goals of ERP for Moral Scrupulosity are to:
- allow for the presence of doubt thoughts about one’s moral character
- make space for distress
- accept that one cannot be morally perfect or know for sure that an action is moral
We want to be careful not to focus too much on the content of OCD as the thoughts themselves are not important. Still, there are some common roadblocks that people with this subtype face. If you’d like support for this subtype, Lauren has a great deal of experience supporting those with Moral Scrupulosity. You can learn more about the treatments and services she provides here, or email Lauren here to find out more about working with her.
ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) & MINDFULNESS
While ERP is considered the gold-standard treatment for OCD, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is also an evidence-based treatment for OCD that can be used with ERP. ACT draws upon mindfulness ideals in order to support people in witnessing and accepting their thoughts and feelings without judgment. By supporting this objective view of thoughts and feelings, ACT helps people to accept their inner experiences while they take actions based on what matters most to them. You can learn more about ACT here.
General Mindfulness as well as Meditation are also helpful supports for those in recovery from Moral Scrupulosity. Given that this subtype is a form of Pure Obsessional OCD, learning how to deal with mental compulsions is key to treatment. Meditation can support people in disengaging from mental compulsions. Mindfulness can support individuals to peacefully coexist with thoughts and feelings.
INTERESTED IN TREATMENT FOR MORAL SCRUPULOSITY OCD?
Are you or a loved one struggling with symptoms of Moral Scrupulosity OCD and looking for help? Lauren uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to support those with Moral Scrupulosity. You can learn more about the treatments and services she provides here.
Lauren is a licensed psychotherapist in
several states. Learn more about where
Lauren sees Clients, below.
When she is offering face to face, Lauren does in-person therapy in Newport Beach. She also provides online treatment for Moral Scrupulosity OCD throughout California. Her Clients span from San Francisco down to Southern Orange County and San Diego.
Lauren provides therapy for Moral Scrupulosity OCD in the state of Utah. Since she provides online treatment, she works with people who live in different areas of the Beehive State – from Salt Lake City and its suburbs, like West Jordan, Syracuse, Highland and Riverton, to Park City and St. George.
Lauren also offers treatment for Moral Scrupulosity OCD online in Florida, and sees people from all corners of the Sunshine state. Whether you’re from Naples, Orlando, Miami, or Boca Raton, Lauren can provide specialized counseling remotely in your area.
Lauren also practices teletherapy in Arizona. If you’re seeking help with your fears in Phoenix, Sedona, Scottsdale or Tucson, Lauren offers specialized therapy for Moral Scrupulosity OCD online across the Grand Canyon State.
In addition to all of the locations previously listed, Lauren offers teletherapy for Moral Scrupulosity OCD to a number of countries internationally. You can learn
Online therapy isn’t right for everyone. An assessment must be done to determine if online therapy is appropriate for your needs. You can reach out here to learn more.
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©2021 by Lauren McMeikan Rosen, LMFT.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is intended for informational and education purposes only and is not meant to be a replacement for therapy. If you are interested in treatment, you can email me and I will happily provide you with more information