Jon Hershfield Addresses Harm OCD

anxiety guest interview mental health ocd therapy

In this week’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast, we brought back a special guest who is favorite among the CBT School community: Jon Hershfield, LMFT.

This podcast episode is all about the management of specific obsessions related to physical harm and violence, which—in OCD terms—we call Harm Obsessions or Harm OCD (if you meet the requirements for a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD). 

Don’t miss this podcast episode!

You can listen to the episode for FREE on iTunes HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE on Stitcher HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE streaming HERE

Jon answers some very important questions for you, including:

  • Does everyone have Harm Obsessions, thoughts, impulses or images? 
    • The answer is yes! As Jon says, we have all naturally occurring violent thoughts. Violence is a thing that exists and we have all kinds of thoughts about things that exist.  People without OCD experience these thoughts too.
  • Why do these Harm Obsessions bother some people and not others?
    • From the research and Jon’s work with clients, he relates this to patterns with which we evaluate our thoughts.  Someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) looks at thoughts through a certain lens: appropriate or inappropriate, okay or not okay, etc. People without OCD are generally able to let go of the thoughts, while someone with OCD thinks that it is a problem that they had the thought.  Now, they think that have a moral obligation to do something about the thought.
  •  Are people with Harm OCD any different than those who have other types of OCD? 
    • This is still OCD!  The content of the obsessions is different, but it involves unwanted thoughts and compulsions.  You are not weirder or harder to treat for having Harm OCD.
  •  What is the difference between Harm OCD and having thoughts about harm?
    • While we all have thoughts about harm, OCD is a disorder.  You are stuck in a loop that feels never-ending and it feels incredibly hard to get unstuck.  The obsessions of OCD become a part of your identity and they really hook you.  Your life is passing you by in the process.
  •  How do we treat Harm OCD? 
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness

I really enjoyed this episode with Jon and truly hope that it helps those experiencing harm obsessions: thoughts, images, urges, impulses (Harm OCD).

Click HERE to get more info on Jon’s most recent book, Overcoming Harm OCD: Mindfulness and CBT Tools for Coping with Unwanted Violent Thoughts. In this book, Jon focuses on violent obsessions in particular.  He addresses the fear of harmful identity, fear of impulsively harming someone else, fear of impulsively harming oneself, fear of impulsively harming one’s children.

Visit the below for more info on Jon Hershfield:


Twitter: @cbtocd

IG: @ocdbaltimore

FB: @JonHershfield


Starting yesterday, January 28th, 2019, CBT School is offering our FREE webinar called 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OCD.”  This FREE online video course explains exactly what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is, the treatment for it, and the complicating factors that can come up during the process. 

The webinar is available for one week ONLY and will run every day at 6:00 pm PST.  Do not worry if you are not able to attend at 6:00 pm!  The day after signing up, you will receive a free replay in your inbox and you can watch it at a time that is convenient for you. We are thrilled to be sharing this FREE educational resource with you!

Click HERE to sign up!

That’s not the last of the good news!!  ERP School is COMING BACK!  Exposure and Response Prevention School is a video-based online course that teaches you the skills and tools I teach my clients in my office.  The course includes modules on: 

  1. The science behind ERP 
  2. Identifying YOUR obsessions and your compulsions 
  3. The different approaches and types of ERP, including gradual exposure, writing scripts, interoceptive exposures and how to get creative with ERP 
  4. Mindfulness tools to help you manage anxiety, panic and uncertainty 
  5. Troubleshoot common questions and concerns 
  6. BONUS 6 videos of the most common subtypes of OCD, including Harm OCD

There are also a variety of downloadable PDF’s that you can access in the course, along with activities to help guide you in best applying ERP to your specific obsessions and compulsions.

We are so thrilled to share ERP with you and, if you are not already, would love to have you join us and the CBT School Community.

Some of you may be worried about doing it along, but please don’t fret.  We meet twice a month on Instagram and the Facebook group to address any questions that you may have.

Click HERE to sign up for ERP School.

It's a beautiful day to do hard things!


About Kimberley Quinlan

Kimberley Quinlan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Panic Disorder and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s).  Kimberley is highly trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavy emphasis on Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for many years.  Kimberley has a special interest in the integration of mindfulness principles with CBT for OCD, Anxiety Disorders, and Eating Disorders.  Kimberley has experience treating adults, adolescents, and children, and tailors each program to suit the age and cognitive development of each client.  Kimberley has a private practice in Calabasas and Westlake Village. 

For more information, you can find Kimberley at the following: