This Article will Force You to Question Everything You Know about OCD
Do you have compulsive checking behavior? Then this website is for you. It is also for therapists who wish to know more about this system.
Hey, I’m Chris and I have developed a new psycho-technology that helps people with Safety OCD Checking behavior to drastically reduce their compulsions and anxiety within two to four weeks.
I help accomplish this by using a unique memory system that helps people to remember what they have checked has been checked properly.
There are 4 steps to this process which I have named ‘The Look, Lock, Label & Leave System.’
This system only works for Safety OCD Checking. This means it is specifically targeted to people who repeatedly check that their front door is locked, the water faucets are off, the stove is off, etc. It is also specifically targeted to people who fear that a catastrophe will happen if they haven’t checked properly.
Traditional therapy (specifically ERP) works by helping people to live with doubt and uncertainty.
The Look, Lock, Label & Leave System works by removing that doubt and uncertainty.
We accomplish this by applying a unique code image for each thing we check, at the time of checking. Then we ‘label’ this stimulus to a body part.
Thus when your client starts to worry about the front door being unlocked, all he has to do is revisit that particular body part that holds that coded image.
This image will reaffirm that the door is locked and that he can continue to go about his business. Without any fear. Without any worry. Without any anxiety.
Here’s What We’ll Cover- The Memory Miracle
In this article, I’m going to explain the unique memory system that I’ve called ‘The Look, Lock, Label and Leave System.’ I’ll begin by telling you about my psychiatric history and how I developed OCD.
Then I’ll introduce you to memory systems and show you what’s possible with a trained memory. We’ll finish off by looking directly into how the 4L’s System (Look, Lock, Label & Leave) overcomes Safety OCD Checking. I’ll give you a specific technique that you or can use on your clients straight away. (Or on yourself if you have OCD.)
A Brief History in Madness- Can’t Stop Checking
My psychiatric history began in 1993 when I started hearing voices and was diagnosed as a Schizophrenic. The bad thing was that I was over-medicated and became a chain smoker and obese. Also, the trauma associated with being sectioned shook me up pretty bad.
This combination of over medication and hospitalization made things much, much worse. Schizophrenia was the easy part. My past trauma from childhood was reawakened and I started to self-harm and overdose.
Then I began to get depressed. I also developed ‘Panic Attacks’.
Then nearly ten years later I began to have OCD checking symptoms. I began checking the water faucets, stove, the front door lock, my heater, that I had my wallet on me as well as many other things.
I struggled for about 5 years. By this time I was under the care of my General Prescriber and not the Mental Health team. It was then that I relented and saw a therapist who formally diagnosed me with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I started to receive treatment for a few weeks then I had a revelation that would break the back of my OCD and free me from its prison.
I remember the day clearly. I was checking the oven. ‘I can see the oven is off when I look at it but as soon as I leave I start to doubt myself. What if I haven’t checked it properly? What if the house catches fire?’
Then it hit me. The real reason why I doubt myself is because I can’t remember!
I had read quite a few books on recall before I was diagnosed and knew the components of a trained memory.
“What if there was a way…” I said to myself “…I could apply these memory techniques to remember if everything is off, shut, locked, and closed after I’ve checked it?”
That was the start of the memory system.
Escaping the Prison
So that was my ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ as far as psychiatry is concerned.
Here’s the funny thing though. I had to go through ‘Hell’ in order to get others out. Every challenge I’ve ever had has served a purpose.
I have managed to quit smoking for over 18 years. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. And even managed to stay out of the hospital for 25 years (until a recent admission.)
And now I help others to escape their OCD prison. This memory system is sophisticated. Traditional therapy would have you try to pry the bars open with brute force. However, we know the combination to the lock and can regain our liberty quickly and easily.
Soon we’ll be delving into a specific example of how to use the 4L’s system on our water faucets.
As for now, we’ll look into what’s possible with a trained memory? It’s going to blow you away!
A Trained Memory- The Secret Ingredient
When people say they have a poor memory what they usually mean is that they have an untrained memory. This means that if they were to use certain processes then they would be able to remember more. A lot more.
These memory systems take minutes to learn and can literally boost a memory’s recall ability by several hundred percent.
While certain Savants have remarkable memories the truth is that most memory experts are just like you and me. They just use these processes and practice over and over again.
In other words, they are not ‘superhuman.’ Anybody can turn their memory into a championship-winning memory with time and effort.
Check out this video below to what is possible with a trained memory.
- 30 minutes of binary digits in order- 6,270 digits
- Remembering a random deck of playing cards in order- 12.74 seconds (yes, Ben’s old record was cut in half)
- 15 minutes of random words- 318 words
I know that these records are super impressive but realize that these feats are within reach of any mere mortal willing to put in the work.
Here’s the reason I’m telling you this.
If there is someone out there that can memorize a random deck of cards in under 13 seconds then how difficult can it be to remember if your front door is locked? Or that the faucets are turned off? Or that the fridge door closed? With the right strategy, we can remember anything.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is known as ‘Doubting Disease.’ It feeds on our fears and that fear is usually based on doubt.
In order to remove that doubt, we need our clients to apply certain memory processes when they are actually checking.
Once they are installed they’re able to replace that ‘doubt’ with certainty.
OCD Checking needs our doubt to fuel our fears. Without that doubt, it has no power over us.
Now we know the power of a trained memory why don’t we look at how we apply the ‘Look, Lock, Label & Leave’ system to our OCD checking.
To be honest the 4L’s system is far easier than traditional memory techniques and processes.
We’ll use the same code images, on the same body parts each and every time.
Let’s look at how we apply the ‘Look, Lock, Label & Leave’ system to checking our water faucets.
OCD Checking Taps Are Off- The End of an Error
I live in a new apartment. There are four water faucets in my apartment and 6 outside that I use to water the plants and gardens most nights.
So there is a hot & cold in my bathroom. Hot and cold in my kitchen. And six outside to water the whole complex.
Checking Bathroom Faucets
So here’s what I do to remember that my bathroom faucets are off.
- I place my left hand under the cold faucet as well as wiggling my left knee from side to side. On my left knee is an imaginary blue bell. As I’m wiggling I see and hear (in my imagination) a blue bell ringing.
- Then I repeat the same imagery on the right knee except that I place my right hand under the faucet and use a red bell (to represent the hot faucet.)
- We place our hands under the faucet so we have a kinesthetic as well as a visual and auditory confirmation that the faucet is off.
Here’s the thing. We can keep our rituals too. Even if those rituals include counting and touching so long as we stick to the process. This means that the Look, Lock, Label & Leave system goes against everything that’s written in modern psychology books today.
It runs contrary to the most popular form of therapy. Exposure- Response- Prevention Therapy.
That’s why the results of using this memory system are so quick. Our rituals will fall apart organically. We will still be OCD Safety Checkers but we’ll have our lives back.
With Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy you’re not allowed to ritualized. But with the 4L’s system, this is perfectly okay.
Our only objective is to do the three things below. We want to achieve these outcomes with the least amount of resistance. And to arrive at our stress-free destination safely and easily.
Here is what we want to accomplish:
- To check less often
- For each check to consume less time
- To reduce our anxiety levels as much as possible
To this very day, I continue to ritualize. Like I said I place my hand under the faucet to confirm it’s off as well as doing my counting rituals.
I use odd numbers in odd sets.
But here’s the thing. The total time I devote to checking & ritualizing is less than 5 minutes each day.
I get to check, ritualize, and practically erase my anxiety altogether.
So if or when we start to doubt our memory and think that we have left our faucet running all we have to do is remember our (imaginary) bells.
If we think we’ve left our hot bathroom faucet running all we do is see, hear and feel that red bell ringing on our right knee. Just giggle your knee (actually physically shake it from side to side) like you did when you first installed it.
This is the unique stimulus I was talking about at the very beginning of this article.
The 15 Minute Hurdle- Breaking Free
Another common worry with this memory system is that our clients think that they’ll have to develop a new variation each and every time they check the front door for example.
No need to worry.
I use the same code images, on the same body part each and every time I check. The reason for this is the 15-minute hurdle.
The 15 minute hurdle means that 15 minutes after the last time you or your client checks, his or her anxiety will reduce to a manageable level.
So after 15 to 20 minutes of not checking your anxiety won’t be a problem. You’ll be able to handle it.
Here’s another thing. With the 4L’ system, you’re allowed to use it as many times as you like.
If you ritualized for 10, 20, 30, or more minutes straight but had no anxiety afterward do you think that that would be fair? Virtually every OCD Checker in the world would be happy to take that trade.
Even an hour of straight checking and ritualizing would be considered a miracle cure if there was no anxiety for the rest of the day.
But my system works better. The more often you check with 4L’s system the easier things get. In other words, the more often you check the less you’ll need to check (in the long run.)
You or your client will check and ritualize as long as they need to. Rechecking minutes later is also allowed, so long as they are still following all the steps.
In a very short time, they’ll be able to check things for a couple of minutes and nearly erase their OCD associated anxiety.
So this means that in time your client will be able to beat the 15-minute hurdle almost effortlessly.
It’s like it’s almost unfair for your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder…here’s why:
- You can check and ritualize as long as you like.
- Going past the 15-minute hurdle will be easy.
- The more often you check (using the 4L’s system) the less you check.
- You’ll realize that you’re Stronger than OCD!
I am not boasting. All the above bullet points are absolutely achievable. Achievable within a very short period of time.
Before we finish up this article I wanted to take a quick look into the psychological profession and see what they have to say about the role of memory in OCD checking.
A Check-Up from the Neck Up
Throughout this article, I’ve been espousing the connection between OCD Checking and memory.
I am not a doctor, nor am I a therapist of any sort, nor am I an academic of any kind.
So you may be asking what my qualifications are for developing this system and why it works.
That’s a fair enough question. I guess there are plenty of frauds in this arena and you want to know if I’m just peddling my own brand of snake oil?
Firstly this is a system and not a therapy.
It’s a memory system.
Just as I wouldn’t expect a medical doctor to memorize a deck of cards in under 15 seconds, I wouldn’t expect a memory expert to know the name of every bone in the human body.
(Although this is perfectly achievable with the right mnemonic strategy.)
My point is that if you’re trying to understand the ‘Look, Lock, Label & Leave’ system through the glasses of traditional therapy then you’re going to fail.
Again this is a memory system specifically designed to help you remember what you have checked is safely off, locked, and closed.
It is a system based on imagination and not on discipline.
This is why it works so well for this type of OCD checking. It works because OCD is an imagination illness. And when we use mnemonics to boost our memory we can overpower our OCD with the same tricks it uses to keep us checking.
Plus I’ve given you a free example to use on your faucets. We do not use imaginary bells for everything we check. Just for the faucets.
Test for yourself to see if what I say has any truth to it.
Although the 4L’s system is not based on a medical model we should have a wee look into what the literature says about OCD and memory.
What the OCD Expert’s Say
There have been experiments done to try to find a correlation between memory and OCD checking. The results have been replicated several times.
People who have OCD (including OCD checking) usually have a great memory. In certain instances, their memories are far superior to others who don’t have the illness.
What people with OCD do have is ‘less confidence’ in their memory.
Without The 4L’s system the more we check the less confidence we have. The more we give in to the monster the more powerful it grows.
The more we check the more we blunt our confidence in our memory.
But with a trained memory things are much more different.
But before we go any further maybe it would be a good idea to see how our memory works.
How Memory Works
There are 3 stages of creating something that is memorable.
Encoding: The first step in remembering something is called encoding. This is where we construct the memory in the language the brain understands. We work with how the brain actually remembers. And the brain remembers vivid, unusual, and interactive images.
Like I’ve said with the water faucets, having a ringing bell connected to a limb reminds you that it’s off is. If we were to just say to ourselves the taps are off or just try to visualize a tap not dripping then this is just too normal. The absurdity we use really cements the images (visualizations) in our minds.
The funny thing is that as we’re using the Look, Lock, Label & Leave system we’re storing that information at the same time.
(Most of the time we ‘lock-on’ an image to the thing we’re checking before labeling it to a body part. For instance, we’ll look at the faucet and imagine something blocking the nozzle. We could imagine the faucet nozzle having a screw drilled into it so it is blocked and so no water will be able to come out. Thus we have visual confirmation on the real faucet we’re checking as well as on our body part. Just using the bell imagery for the faucet is an advanced version of the 4L’s system.)
So let’s now look into the second stage.
Storing: Once we’ve encoded the thing we want to remember our next step is to file it away (or store it.) This where the Look, Lock, Label & Leave system really takes things to a whole new level. As we’re encoding the water faucet is off (by imagining the bell) we are also storing that information. We’re attaching it to our knee.
By ‘labeling’ or storing this information onto a body part, we accomplish a couple of important things. Firstly by storing it on a body part, we introduce a ‘kinesthetic’ element to our check. By doing this we make the image (bell) much more sticker.
Also by storing the bell image on a body part, we’re able to carry that information wherever we go. Which makes retrieval much easier. Let’s look into the retrieval process right now.
Retrieval: After we’ve encoded and stored the information that the faucet is off all we need to do is review the image in our imagination. For instance, you may have attached the image of the bell to your knee before you left your house.
Thus when you start to doubt yourself and imagine your house flooding, all you have to do is shake your leg (actually do this) and hear, see and feel that bell ringing. We know we always use the bell for remembering that the faucets are off so our minds will be put at ease. Don’t try and remember the real faucet, just focus on the imaginary bell.
With traditional therapy, this is the hardest part. Leaving the faucet (or whatever you’ll check) unattended. We have to use discipline and lots of it.
With the Look, Lock, Label & Leave system this is the most satisfying part. With traditional therapy, you have to force yourself not to check. With the 4L’s system, we remove that effort and stress.
Like I said earlier. You can still ritualize as much as you want, so long as you’re still following the Look, Lock, Label & Leave System. And walking away from the thing you’ve just checked with be the most gratifying part and not the most difficult.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article so let’s take a look at where that leaves us and review the main points.
Conclusion- Good Cop, Better Cop
To make things easy I thought I would build a comparison chart between my system and its rival.
Here are the differences between The Look, Lock, Label & Leave System, and traditional Exposure Response Prevention Therapy.
Let’s take a look at both treatments side by side:
It’s been said that the biggest barrier to recovery is finding the right kinda treatment.
I am not saying that ERP doesn’t work.
It will be a game-changer and a lifesaver for most people.
But ERP is expensive, incredibly difficult & stressful. Also, another barrier is that it’s remote. Remote means there are not many of these therapists about so you may have to travel for hours to get help.
Even if you do find an ERP therapist and do have the money and are willing to struggle through months of intense work. There is still no guarantee that you’ll recover.
Then even if you do recover there’s a chance your OCD could return later on even in a different form. That’s why it’s still good to be an OCD Checker. This is why we also keep our rituals/compulsions. So it doesn’t morph into something else.
With ERP you’ll expose yourself to your worst fears then not be allowed to perform your usual rituals/responses. With ERP you learn to live with doubt and uncertainty.
With the 4L’s system, you remove that doubt with certainty.
With the Look, Lock, Label & Leave system we don’t struggle. As you now know we boost our memory as we’re checking. With 4L’s we erase doubt and uncertainty.
Without these two weapons (doubt & uncertainty), OCD will have no fuel to keep the fire of our compulsive checking burning.
Like I said ERP therapy is the ‘gold standard’ of OCD treatment. But with safety compulsive checking we can use a more effective treatment in the form of The Look, Lock, Label & Leave System.
We are nearing the end of our time together inside this article.
I hope you’ve found it useful. I hope you’ve found it enlightening. I hope you’re