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How Can I Stop Violent Intrusive Thoughts?


Violent, intrusive thoughts may cause some people much distress as they can be frequent, difficult to dismiss and when dismissed they can recur,

However, most people experience some unwanted and unpleasant thoughts, images or impulses.

Intrusive thoughts can also occur when people are depressed, anxious or have OCD.

if  you have found yourself googling “violent intrusive thoughts” you may be experiencing these thoughts more frequently or intensely than other people, but your thoughts are not actually different  in content to those experienced by most people.

Unwanted intrusive thoughts are a common experience and do not have to be kept a secret. 

Unwanted  intrusive thoughts become problematic and obsessional if the sufferer interprets the thoughts as having great significance.

For example, someone might have a thought about stabbing their mother with a carving knife. If the person  loves their mother dearly they could be horrified that such a thought could enter their mind and think that they are a bad person for having such a thought. They might also worry that if they have such a thought they might act on that thought or that having such a thought means that they subconsciously do want to kill their mother

People tend to worry about thoughts and images  that relate to their strongest values. The more personal significance you attach to an unwanted thought , the more likely it is to be frequent and distressing. For example, a new parent may be changing their much loved baby’s nappy and have the thought pop into their head that they could molest their child. Given that they love their baby, they are horrified that such a thought entered their head  and their anxiety about having had the thought contributes to it’s frequency and distressing nature.

As a psychologist, I would not be concerned that the person was a risk to their child and I would happily leave  my child ( if I had one) with them.

However, people may suffer in silence and delay getting treatment as they fear their doctor or psychologist would think  they were: weird, immoral or a threat to society.

Left untreated, unwanted intrusive thoughts can cause a great deal of suffering. Unwanted, violent intrusive thoughts  may cause people to fear that one day they will lose control and carry out some violent act so they may avoid being around people or implements, such as knives) that could be used to cause harm. Sufferers may be excessively self monitoring their thoughts and feel they are on guard all the time.

Treatment for Intrusive Thoughts

The major parts of treatment are:

1- Assessing the nature and meaning the person is attaching to their intrusive thoughts

2- ERP, exposure and response prevention.

(The sufferer has to avoid avoidance, refrain from supressing their thoughts and neutralizing their thoughts).

A typical course of treatment is between 8-12  sessions and treatment is Medicare rebateable if you have a mental health care plan and separate referral letter stating 6 sessions.

Catherine Madigan Clinical Psychologist is available to help you  so call on 0429 883671 for a   telehealth appointment or a face to face consultation  or use the contact form.


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