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Martin Johannson, Internal Medicine/Psychiatry

In her book, Carol Edwards examines a phenomenon well known to many OCD sufferers but still unexplored or even disregarded by the medical and psychological community: The highly disturbing feeling of liking the content of an intrusive thought or wanting to act on it, to the point where engaging with the obsession can have almost addictive properties. For many patients (especially those with harm OCD or sexual obsessions), this experience is the only part of their OCD that they do not manage to distance from very well even with CBT and can be the singular aspect which is keeping them stuck in an endless cycle of rumination and testing where they are trying to prove a feared desire wrong. This then tends to exacerbate the OCD and therefore increase the hyperfocus on the unwanted desirable feeling. The book includes multiple case studies (including Carol's personal story) which help sufferers understand this complicated part of their OCD and make it easier for professionals without OCD to understand the experience their clients suffer from. It also delivers a theory on the neurological background of this phenomenon and practical advice on how to treat these obsessions by cutting compulsions with ERP while avoiding being absorbed into the desirable feeling. My personal conclusion as both an OCD sufferer and medical professional: A great book that fills an important knowledge gap in the treatment of OCD and should be standard literature for every professional who is treating people with intrusive thoughts with a desire component.


I've been very impressed with reading your book and how well you know OCD. And letting people know that you have experienced what they are experiencing is very very important. I was thinking about the transgender obsession and that must be a really difficult one. Wow. OCD is like an abyss and finding your way through it is truly a journey and then there’s maintenance of course. You are so knowledgeable and it’s so easy to read and I mean that in a very complementary way. You make it so that the person suffering does not have to be a doctor to understand it. Thank you! you’re a wonderful writer, Deb

Ben Carney, Musician

What I liked most about "Desire-Intrusive Thoughts" is how the topic of desire has not been dismissed as a feature in pure obsessions. As the author points out, many clinicians keep it simple by saying it's just your OCD. It's true, yes, keep it simple, but it makes sense that since the pleasure side of our brain is partly involved in OCD, that somehow such interference needs addressing in therapy. I agree with the author that if aversion is unwanted then so is desire because each emotion or reaction is part of the disorder. In therapy, I know how hard it is to resist rituals to minimize disgust and reduce anxiety, but I can now see from reading this book how absorption happens more when desire is involved, affecting the habituation process.  I agree that people become so immersed in rituals to try and avoid any form of desire related to their obsessional fears. As a sufferer of OCD, the third part of the book cleared up a lot of confusion for me in that sense. OCD is a cruel disorder, and I think the author captures well how a biological explanation can help enhance treatment outcome. 

N. W., Driver

I found this book fascinating. The author includes her own experiences of living with OCD to begin with. In the second part of the book, she outlines how therapy for OCD works and uses therapist and client dialogues, which is good because it shows how the structure of therapy works. In the third part of the book, I  admire Edwards for taking on quite a task to search for reasons why people seem to like the content of their intrusive thoughts that is actually unwanted. The brain is a strange thing and so reading about obsessions from a desire-aversion perspective was like wow, finally someone is brave enough to test the theory that while it's common knowledge that we do feel arousal despite that it's unwanted, there's more to it. The book cleverly explains that "arousal" is not just about sexual obsessions. Rather, it shows how a "thrilling" experience can occur when it mingles with harm obsessions and a "wickedly luring" sensation in religious obsessions. This book provides insight, showing why exposure-response prevention therapy might not be working and how to make it work. I'd say that the only minor downside about this book is that some of the technical reading on the biology of OCD (in the final chapters) was a little challenging to read, but overall, I recommend this book for anyone (and therapists) living with Pure O, and who especially have fears of liking their thoughts.  

Chase Craft, Animal Carer

An imperative study into the most torturous element of one of the more complex psychiatric illnesses.  

       There have been many important books written about obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which most have centered around the more mainstream symptoms such as excessive hand washing, ridgid routines, and excruciating demands for perfection. While these branches of OCD cause much havoc in the lives of sufferers, there is also another hellish side to the illness that, while never manifesting itself visually, mercilessly torments its victims with thoughts of disgust, violence, blasphemous and sexually suggestive themes. It brutalizes it's victims with doubts of one's character and sanity, while compounding immense shame to a person, forcing them to conceal it's horrific ideas, thus allowing it to resume its mental savagery for long periods of time. This choice weapon of OCD is referred to as intrusive thoughts/obsessions, and in recent years, there have been a handful of very informative books to come out centering on this agonizing mental spector. 

       One such book, "Desire-Intrusive Thoughts" by Carol Edwards, delves into this very complex psychiatric phenomenon and provides the reader with an in depth look at one of the most commonly misunderstood as well as more crippling forms of the disorder. She examines the intrusive feelings of guilt, desire and uncertainty that permits OCD to hold its victims in bondage to the fear that it sprouts. 

       As a sufferer of intrusive thoughts(Pure O) since 1984, I found Carol's book to be astonishing, groundbreaking, encouraging, and just an absolute godsend to those of us who have carried the burden of Pure O throughout our lives. She shines a light on the deceptive feelings and arousal that the thoughts can bring making a person question their being and values. She explains the difference between a real desire to do harm and the illusion that OCD places on one's psyche. It provides the reader with even more understanding behind the mechanics that make OCD threats seem so real and offers much hope as it presents an even better focus into the trickery that OCD uses to manipulate its victims into keeping alive its vicious cycle. This is an absolute must for those who have been held prisoners in their own mind by this brutal brain beast known as OCD!

Edidiong Esshiet, Author

I got this book from a giveaway promo. I read it and enjoyed every bit of it. This book is insightful. You will learn how to understand and control your emotions aside several other discourse. I learnt a lot about obsessions and the author brings each subject of discussion to reality by giving examples and illustrations as well as real life experiences.
At a point this book was a guide to me while building a certain character in my own novel. This is to show how impactful and useful this book is. Well written. Easy to apply in real life situations. Interesting.


desire-intrusive thoughts
book Reviews

Debora Jan Gray, Actor