Counting and checking are often performed in an effort to address our obsessive and fearful thoughts or to prevent something bad from happening. Counting can be associated both with the need to 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 toward 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.