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The Moralist

Moralist types tend to revolve around moral concerns and the practical, down-to-earth application of their beliefs. Obsessions typically focus on home or workplace matters of faith and are extremely practical in nature, such as how to pay taxes, how to respond to lengthy “terms and conditions” agreements, or whether to go the speed limit when everyone else is speeding. Moralists may get stuck on the application of commandments against lying, stealing, or committing adultery, and can ruminate for hours on whether a misstated detail constituted alie, whether clocking in five minutes late constitutes stealing, or whether seeing a woman in a tight shirt constitutes adultery. Moralist types tend to struggle in such ways due to an overreliance on the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law and can find significant improvement by focusing on themes like simplicity, common sense, and the spirit of love. Typical compulsions may include: Compulsive apologies for things done wrong, often received with confusion by people who tell you that you didn’t do anything wrong Compulsive confession and prayer Excessive rumination on moral themes Stringent adherence to tight moral codes that can seem restrictive or extreme to others Moralist types have good prospects for recovery. To rebuild a healthier and more balanced relationship with self and with God, these individuals must recognize that their struggle may involve elements of biology and spirituality, of both brain and spirit. It may be helpful for moralist types to develop an interdisciplinary approach, working with a therapist for professional OCD treatment and with a pastor, priest, or chaplain for spiritual formation and development.

The Penitent

Penitent types are those who spend a significant amount of time internalizing to search for sin, insincerity, or pride. They tend to expect perfection of themselves, suffer immensely from misplaced feelings of guilt, and often struggle to accept God’s forgiveness. These individuals may create extensive restrictions for themselves in attempts to avoid sin, and usually find confession and prayer to be particularly lengthy rituals. Penitent types often have inordinate fears of God’s judgment and can sometimes experience brief pangs of anger or resentment towards Him (typically due to the oppressiveness of anxiety which seems to be coming from Him), but this anger is quickly replaced by more feelings of guilt. These individuals almost always have inappropriately intense concerns about pride and selfishness that borders on self-denigration. Typical compulsions for penitent types include the following: Repetitive or lengthy prayers and confessions Inability to transition to other tasks unless prayers and confessions are completed properly Self-imposed restrictions from food, nice clothing, stylish haircuts, vacations, innocent entertainment, etc. Internal searches to “check” for pride, sin, or insincerity, followed by more prayer and confession Penitent types have good prospects for recovery. To rebuild a healthier and more balanced relationship with self and with God, these individuals must recognize that their struggle may involve elements of biology and spirituality, of both brain and spirit. It may be helpful for penitent types to develop an interdisciplinary approach, working with a therapist for professional OCD treatment and with a pastor, priest, or chaplain for spiritual formation and development.

The Magician

Magician types are those whose spirituality reflects a heavy element of superstitious or magical thinking. This type of thinking may look for hidden connections, impressions, signs, promptings of the Holy Spirit, dreams, physical sensations, or checks in the spirit. Everything that occurs in life is thought to have a hidden “meaning” from God. Magician types are those more likely to have obsessions and compulsions that arise due to these imagined “meanings.” Like sensate types, they attach spiritual “meaning” to various experiences. However, while sensate types search for meaning in internal sensations, magician types search for meaning in external “signs” or impressions from God. They may struggle due to an over-reliance on their magical interpretations and an intensely overstated need for the feeling that everything is “just right.” Typical compulsions for magician types may include: Counting rituals Tapping, touching, cleaning, opening, closing, or movement-based rituals that have a spiritual meaning Thought rituals that attempt to “figure out” the meaning of signs and sensations Obedience to imagined “promptings,” which may take on catastrophic or unbiblical proportions Various rituals intended to reach a feeling that everything is spiritually “just right” Intense attempts to “confirm” God’s Word Magician types have good prospects for recovery. To rebuild a healthier and more balanced relationship with self and with God, these individuals must recognize that their struggle may involve elements of biology and spirituality, of both brain and spirit. It may be helpful for magician types to develop an interdisciplinary approach, working with a therapist for professional OCD treatment and with a pastor, priest, or chaplain for spiritual formation and development.

The Theologizer

Theologizer types are those who spend a significant time searching for answers to their spiritual questions. These questions may be doctrinal in nature, such as understanding the Trinity or the existence of God, or they may be practical, such as examining whether one has the right type of faith or confessed Christ properly. Theologizer types almost always have a significant fear of going to hell and may demonstrate a strong fixation on the salvation question that will not go away, no matter what answers they find. These individuals often do not have the overt compulsions that other types have. Their constant questions may fail to alert others to a possible issue because these mental questioning compulsions easily pass for piety rather than an anxiety disorder. However, theologizer types are not fixated on spiritual questions because of innate piety and curiosity; they live in a fog of constant religious fear and uncertainty and are trying hard to find a sense of peace.

The Sensate

Sensate types are believers who seem to be extremely attuned to their senses. They feel sensations deeply, and like magician types, they attach spiritual “meaning” to various sensations. However, while magician types search for meaning in external “signs,” sensate types search for meaning in internal sensations. These individuals may struggle with dissociation or derealization or physical disturbances, such as digestive disorders, headaches, or insomnia. Sensate types can fixate on these phenomena as spiritual signals of their true status with God. Because of the confusing nature of these experiences, sensate types may be filled with despair and may feel chronically rejected by God.

The Performer

Performer types tend to be very active believers who often have a role in church leadership or evangelism. They are hard workers who are appreciated and admired by others, but it is for this reason that the depth of their struggle may be very well hidden. Performers are often workaholics and are known for doing everything “just right.” What isn’t obvious to others is that their excellence runs on a razor edge of anxiety. Chronic uncertainty and misplaced guilt, and sometimes past traumas, cause these individuals to value themselves based on their performance. And although performer types may have stellar theology, their operative values often express that they think God values them based on performance, too. Performer types struggle with overcommitment, spiritual burnout, perfectionism, misplaced guilt, and distortions of God’s character that make them miserable.

The Patroller

Patroller types are those whose major struggle involves policing their minds against intrusive thoughts. These individuals may struggle with thoughts of blasphemy, cursing God, denying Christ, imagining God in inappropriate or sexual ways, declaring loyalty to Satan, or other unwanted, ego-dystonic spiritual thoughts. Patroller types often have techniques meant to keep these thoughts from happening, such as avoiding triggers and maintaining a high level of mental vigilance. If a thought does occur, there is typically a ritualized response meant to neutralize the thought; this response can range from a simple “replacement” phrase to a long and painful procedure of confession and self-punishment.

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