Counting and checking rituals are performed with the hope of preventing obsessive and fearful thoughts or making them go away. Counting can be associated both with the need avoid danger and the obsession for symmetry and evenness. Checking rituals often involve an impulse to check items such as door locks, light switches, faucets and stoves. These rituals may be geared to preventing an error that could seriously impact another’s well-being. People with checking compulsions are plagued by feelings of irresponsibility and carelessness and constant doubt about whether or not they completed the task.

Videos: Counting & Checking

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Eric Storch, PhD, discusses obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), checking and counting, gives examples, and discusses treatment approaches.