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Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  624 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 31st 1997 by Harper Perennial (first published March 1st 1996)
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Nov 07, 2009 Anya rated it really liked it
I talked to my therapist recently about a troubling thought that had been in my head since junior high school. It was an irrational worry, but one that was extremely disturbing to me, and one that I'd never before been able to talk about or dismiss. "Oh, that's an obsessive thought," my shrink told me. "It's not a real thought. It just means your brain gets stuck in a loop sometimes. It's pretty common, and in your case it will be pretty easy to fix."

This was fascinating and liberating, and got
Sep 11, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
I don't quite know how to rate and review Brain Lock, but I'll give it the old college try. Please note that several f-bombs are laced throughout my review. Profanity feels really good when it comes to fighting back.

I don't have OCD, but a friend who knows I struggle with claustrophobia and anxiety sent it along with a strong recommendation. And I'm oh-so-glad she did.

On the surface, the treatment method for OCD outlined and explained in Brain Lock wouldn't seem to have much to do with treatin
Critical Hysteria
Jan 18, 2009 Critical Hysteria rated it it was amazing
I touched the book three times then turned off the oven, again.
Elee Schrock
Feb 05, 2014 Elee Schrock rated it really liked it
This book was very helpful and I appreciate all of the information and tips. The only issues I had were:

1. I felt that some of this information is outdated, at least in terms of the complexities of OCD and linking a specific compulsion to a specific obsession is not always as cut and dry as he lays it out in the book (and, therefore, doesn’t provide information as to what to do when an obsession doesn’t result in a noticeable compulsion or how to keep from “refocusing” activities becoming compul
Really, the only thing I have to say is that if you actually suffer from OCD, this book is not going to help you. Maybe if you have a minor form. Basically, Schwartz teaches you to "reframe" your thoughts. Wow. This is inexplicably, by far, the most popular title out there on self-help for OCD. It might have some information for loved ones to better understand what is going on, but it will not assist a sufferer. Any professional in the field or sufferer will tell you pretty much the same thing, ...more
Nov 26, 2011 Karin rated it it was amazing
Great book for people with ocd.
Good explanation of the brain and how and where ocd occurs in the brain. Then 4 steps to overcoming (minimizing, not giving in to the compulsions) ocd. And yes, sometimes that means pills.
However, their idea of 'free' is minimizing, handling the ocd. Does not mean ocd disappears for good. It means you can handle it in your life.
Jan 18, 2013 Sassan rated it it was amazing
As someone who suffers from OCD, I can say that this book helped change my life. I no longer take medication (and haven't for years) ever since reading this wonderful book and using the scientifically tested method of "relabel, reattribute, refocus, revalue". In fact, my symptoms have decreased by over 90%! While this book is for OCD, it can also be used for other related disorders, obsessions, and fixations. In fact, Dr. Schwartz shows that brain scans demonstrate by using this method, it helps ...more
Sep 29, 2016 Lussita rated it liked it
Me parecía interesante conocer un poco más en profundidad este trastorno y los métodos de tratamiento que propone el autor. El libro en sí resultó interesante, se explica todo muy claramente. Pero es muy repetitivo, en cada capítulo se reiteran las cosas una y otra vez. Hubiera sido bueno tener una idea del método y luego una presentación de los casos reales. Los casos están a lo largo de todo el libro y a veces era difícil recordar cuál era la obsesión de cada paciente, o como era su entorno, e ...more
Jun 09, 2013 David rated it liked it
I thought that the numerous case studies in this book, while helpful in an empirical sense, distracted from the main thrust of the book: attempting to curb and eventually minimize OCD symptoms. It was very easy to get distracted by the stories of the patients involved in the outpatient therapy at UCLA. the four step approach seems valuable, but I think the book would benefit from some brevity and focus.
Ellis Amdur
Jan 16, 2015 Ellis Amdur rated it liked it
This is a self-help book, and thus has some of the literary flaws of this form of book - including repetition of the same material. That said, Schwartz has revolutionized treatment of OCD. Instead of the typical treatment of drugs and/or often cruel and ineffective deconditioning, Schwartz has developed a simple method of using cognitive therapy – changing one’s mind by changing one’s interpretation of experience – to effect cure of this terrible disorder. What is most remarkable is that brain s ...more
Danielle Connolly
Nov 02, 2014 Danielle Connolly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in changing their brain's chemistry
After reading this book, I realized I could do one of two things. I could continue to give into my obsessive urges OR I could accept the fact that the chemistry in my brain was off balance and work on changing it and start giving into my own urges.

If the patients in this book can overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anyone can.
Nov 13, 2008 Mackenzie rated it really liked it
Being Obsessive-Compulsive, I was recommended this book from a friend. I found it very interesting and applicable. However, I'm VERY GRATEFUL my life isn't as bad as the examples in the book! So, if anything, it's been a blessing to realize it could be much worse!
Aug 12, 2015 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave a clear and scientific inside look at the disorder of OCD. This disorder goes way beyond what most people know and understand from how it is portrayed in pop culture. The book's strengths and weaknesses are one of the same and they are the case studies.

Some of the case studies are almost hard to comprehend because of how extreme the individuals disorder has grown. But at the same time the author, in my opinion, focused too much on the case studies, which meandered into stories and
Apr 01, 2008 Theresa rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Interesting book about the organic origins of OCD
Jun 04, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a great text for OCD using cognitive behavioral therapy as the guide. By rigorously practicing the four R's, people who suffer from OCD can alter their brain chemistry and improve their "brain lock." This book was especially helpful in explaining the exact biological causes of OCD - routed in malfunctioning of the caudate nucleus and orbital cortex. In addition, if you suffer from a moderate form as I do, reading the examples in the book will actually make you thankful that you don ...more
Nov 17, 2010 Janie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rita
Recommended to Janie by: John
Shelves: non-fiction
Thorough. It takes some sweat to get the book to express its maximum value -- but such is the nature of the beast, I suppose.

Some of the ideas are belabored in repetition, but I think the slight restatements and variations are helpful, since the OCD plagued may chafe at one description but may feel another one is a life raft (where the author or another reader thought both unremarkably synonymous). E.g.: one of the mantras is "it's not me, it's my OCD!" This is repeated ad nauseam. Near the end
Jul 20, 2007 Phyl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: OCD fufferers
A book for sufferers of the condition known as Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour (a biochemical brain problem). This is a condition that can wreak havoc in the daily lives of its sufferers and their families. Jeffrey M Schwartz M.D. is a pioneer in the field of the study and treatment of this condition. His research has formed the basis for a new approach to the condition, now carried out by therapists in the USA and UK. If you ignore the typical american self-help layout and the odd forays into re ...more
Rose Anderson
Mar 10, 2016 Rose Anderson rated it liked it
I picked up this book because, on the director's cut of the movie, THE AVIATOR {about Howard Hughes} the author explains that Hughes' so-called madness was really undianosed OCD. Schwartz's techniques of mindful awareness & reattribution seem like they might also be effective with PTSD & extinguishing childhood coping methods thathat prove counter-productive in adulthood.
Apr 29, 2010 Kerry rated it it was amazing
This is a book about treating Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior Disorder (OCD). It explains the disorder in-depth, giving many case studies of people suffering from the disorder. It explains how OCD is a biochemical imbalance and provides a Four Step Strategy in overcoming your obsessions and compulsions. I have always been interested in OCD. This book really opened my eyes about the disorder. The things I thought I knew about OCD were not all factual. This is a much more depressing disorder than I ...more
Jonda Beattie
Feb 22, 2016 Jonda Beattie rated it liked it
The book explains a four-step method to control the irrational impulses of OCD. As I don't treat people with OCD, this part of the book was interesting but not something I could actually use. What was fascinating were the case studies that really showed what true OCD looks like.
Sabaku No
Nov 01, 2015 Sabaku No rated it liked it
The premise of the book, the four step method for overcoming ocd is good, and I found this system helpful. However, the writing is terrible; very unfocused and obnoxious repetitive, the book could have been half the size.
Teresa Ballas
Feb 10, 2014 Teresa Ballas added it
Recommended to Teresa by: Dr. Megan O'Bryan
EXCELLENT book for parents trying to understand the tormented brain of their child. Steps to help unlock the brain are very useful.
Aug 29, 2011 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-read
This book is emotionally challenging to read because the stories of fights against OCD are intense. For instance, one man's life was largely destroyed by an obsessive fear of battery acid. There are also hopeful stories of people using the 4-step resistance methods described in this book to fight off OCD.

The book is divided into three sections, with the first section providing an overview of the four steps, the second section providing some examples of application in certain areas, and the thir
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Jul 13, 2014 Grace rated it really liked it
Could have been summarized into about ten pages but great information.
I guess I understand the need for repetition and I have made a list of the things that bother me and rated them on a scale from 0-100. I would like to do the 4 steps but it is easier said than done.
May 08, 2009 Francie rated it liked it
I read this book because I have a child with OCD. It contains a very simple method for coping with OCD and training your brain how to come 'unstuck' once it gets locked on some obsession or compulsion. I particularly liked the frequent real life stories and experiences -- although I found it quite distressing to hear how terrible life can get with undiagnosed and/or untreated serious OCD. I would recommend this to any family member dealing with OCD -- whether it is your own personal struggle or ...more
Wandering Soul
Mar 12, 2012 Wandering Soul rated it it was ok
This book is too old. Skip to the end of each steps, there is a half-page summary of how to perform each step. Write them down and use them as small self-help guide. Otherwise, too many personal stories and not enough work-shop style guidiance. It may be good for those who are looking to understand the problem thru other's stories.
For those who are looking for real help, I suggest to look into OCD Workbook by bruce hyman.
Rol Ordaz
Apr 24, 2016 Rol Ordaz rated it liked it
easy to read and interesting. from my point of view there are too many pages with the same content
Matt Manry
Aug 18, 2015 Matt Manry rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Very helpful.
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skimmed 1 15 Apr 24, 2008 10:53AM  
  • The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts
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  • Stop Obsessing!: How to Overcome Your Obsessions and Compulsions
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  • Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • When Perfect Isn't Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism
  • The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD
  • The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
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  • The Mindful Way Through Anxiety: Break Free from Chronic Worry and Reclaim Your Life
  • Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being
  • Not As Crazy As I Seem
  • Get It Done When You're Depressed
  • Self-Coaching: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression
  • Food & Mood: The Complete Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Your Best
  • Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age
  • A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting
Research Psychiatrist,
Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences,
University of California, Los Angeles
More about Jeffrey M. Schwartz...

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“almost automatic response: “That’s just a senseless obsession. It’s a false message. I’m going to focus my attention on something else.” At this point, the automatic transmission in your brain begins to start working properly again.” 2 likes
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