The point of this is very simple, egoic focus on the individual thoughts, feelings and behaviors feel comforting and familiar to the therapist, but have limited effectiveness in understanding or clarifying the dynamic creational experience of an individual’s relational architecture. Eckhart Tolle (2005) asserts in A New Earth that one of the greatest challenges facing a person is how he or she transcends the tyranny of the ego and it’s endless striving to be gratified which tends to have the effect of influencing people to look for satisfaction out of themselves, be it material object or something conceptual which they may associate with increased worth, love, likability. Many helpers have been trapped by their ego strivings, looking to meet their needs through the helping relationship. These strivings can absorb attention, energy, effort and distract the helper from being fully present with the client.
An obsession is a constantly recurring thought which the patient recognizes as his own, but of which he tries to rid his mind because it is foolish or repugnant. In spite of his efforts to dismiss the thought, it persists in returning so that in the end he becomes tormented by it. A compulsion is a similarly insistent urge to perform, or to repeat, some act which the patient consciously repudiates as meaningless or troublesome; he struggles against the urge, but finds himself experiencing very acute anxiety, which is allayed only by giving in and performing the compulsive act.
Environmental factors, other than the influence of obsessive parents during the formative years, appear to contribute less to the causation of Obsessional neurosis than is the case with the other syndromes of neurosis When the obsessions are severe they cause great anxiety and tension, the patients becoming increasingly agitated as they fight against the compulsion. In addition, they frequently become depressed, since life becomes so difficult and escape from the obsessions seems to be impossible. Suicide is, however, relatively uncommon except when depressive symptoms complicate the illness.
Obsessive-compulsive symptoms may occur as episodes of illness in otherwise normal individuals. They may become aggravated during an episode of psychiatric illness. In this condition the patient, although perfectly lucid and in contact with the environment, may be severely handicapped by the unrelenting pressure of his unwelcome thoughts and impulses. The illness is also remarkable in that a person almost incapacitated by Obsessional symptoms can appear normal to the external observer, until the appallingly repetitive thoughts are disclosed.