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This event will be held online.

In this talk, Paul Salkovskis will explain how Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) works and what needs to happen to overcome it.

OCD is marked by the occurrence of intrusive and unacceptable thoughts, images, impulses or doubts which the person tries to deal with through compulsive behaviours such as washing, checking, saying prayers and so on. For some it can become a life-sapping problem which dominates every waking hour. Other people manage it with difficulty, but feel constantly under siege from it.

There are many faces of OCD. We now know that intrusive thoughts of the type which torment people suffering from OCD are universal, and that the problem lies in how people react to such intrusions. OCD latches on to our worst fears, typically about being responsible for harm, which feels entirely unacceptable to the person. Their efforts to prevent harm have the effect of increasing their fears as a kind of lose-lose trap. Those who have a tendency towards experiencing OCD also struggle with telling anyone, and sometimes experience unjustified feelings of shame and guilt that prevent them from seeking help. 

A Q&A will follow, chaired by Cathy Creswell.


About the Series:

We have come to realise the importance of mental health issues and the impact they can have on individuals as well as on society at large. But, can you separate the facts from the myths? Do you know how to promote your own mental wellness and help those around you?

At Oxford, we have some of the world’s leading researchers helping us understand the causes of mental conditions and develop effective evidence-based treatments. We are bringing them together in a new series – Our Mental Wellness – to share their knowledge and answer your questions about how we can look after each others’ mental wellness in our community.

Our Mental Wellness talks will take place twice per term.


Do you have a question you'd like to ask?

When you register, you will be given the opportunity to submit a mental health question related to the topic for speaker to answer. 


Registration is required and only students, staff and alumni at the University of Oxford are invited to attend. Please note that for security reasons, we will only be able to accept registrations from those with an Oxford University email address that ends in If you don't have an Oxford email address, you will be able to attend the live stream via our YouTube channel.

If you'd like to attend, please click on the REGISTER NOW button at the top of the page. After you register, you will be sent a unique login link for you to use on the day and please be aware that you won't be able to join the event without it.

The Zoom Waiting Room will open 15 minutes before the talk and attendees will automatically join the talk at the advertised start time.