Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts” as Want to Read:
The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  257 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
In The Imp of the Mind, a leading expert on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder explores the hidden epidemic that afflicts millions of Americans.

In the first book to fully examine obsessive bad thoughts, Dr. Lee Baer combines the latest research with his own extensive experience in treating this widespread syndrome. Drawing on information ranging from new advances in brain techn
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 26th 2002 by Plume (first published January 1st 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Imp of the Mind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Imp of the Mind

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 621)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 14, 2011 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book takes an interesting look at one of the most unspoken illnesses of our time. That is, the illness of obsessive thoughts and how they relate to many of the anxiety disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The interesting thing about how the author (who, incidentally, is also a psychiatrist and researcher, making this so much better) looks at the problem is that he takes a look at a condition, obsessive thoughts, as the main problem of the individual themselves, and then hel
Sandy D.
This book by a psychologist who helped developed some of the therapy used for OCD actually seems a bit dated now, but it was only published five years ago (in 2001). Anyway, Baer focuses on the obsessive part of OCD (that's the imp, from Edgar Allen Poe's "Imp of the Perverse"). Baer likes his classic quotes and has many, which add a bit of historical interest and depth to his book.

I learned a few new things about OCD - he explains the difference between CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and ER
Jan 01, 2015 E.A. rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
A thorough introduction to intrusive 'bad' thoughts, with a focus on those who suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and the different categories of intrusive bad thoughts, such as religious, sexual or violent thoughts.

This book differs from others on the topic as it also provides samples of many treatment plans, individual cases, detailed explanations and when to seek professional help (in general, it is good to have mental behavioral support in place before trying any treatment, suc
Mar 13, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
Although written by a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), The Imp of The Mind is focused on the "O" - obsessive thoughts - that occupy and torment the minds of sufferers. This book explains very clearly and simply what causes obsessions (here called "bad thoughts"), what they tend to look and feel like, when to worry about them, and how they can be managed. It's a very useful overview on obsessions, offering up helpful solutions and direction. Dr. Ba ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Laurie rated it it was amazing
When people think of OCD, they will most often think of people hoarding, washing their hands, and checking locks repeatedly- the visible signs of OCD. There is another side of OCD, though, that isn’t visible- obsessional thoughts. While it’s possible for someone with OCD to ruminate on neutral thoughts, the one’s that can make lives miserable are ones of violence, sex, and blasphemy.

These aren’t thoughts that just come and go. They become fixed in the mind of the sufferer, repeating themselves-
Jessica Klein
Mar 03, 2015 Jessica Klein rated it it was amazing
I never knew that hope could only be a short life. I wanted to die for seven years, but afraid of Hell, universal, I put myself into institutions, because of my intrusive thoughts to murder my father. Then the thoughts assumed a wider breadth to include pedestrians walking on the side of the road. The doctors in every institution, too many to count, informed me that I needed to know that my homicidal ideations nested in my terrible childhood, or perhaps psychopath could apply as well. Ironically ...more
May 10, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it
A unique book that would be appreciated by those who suffer from the types of OCD symptoms that the greater public doesn't associated with OCD, which are the subject of this book, I.e, those relating to repugnant sexual, aggressive, and religious thoughts. The book goes over the basics of treatment but is not a self-help treatment book like Baer's Getting Control. Some theories are put forth, which you don't really find in other OCD books, which may be of interest. My only caveat is that Baer's ...more
Sonya Morris
Jan 20, 2012 Sonya Morris rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for OCDers. It opened my eyes to the reasons behind obsessive thoughts, and that knowledge alone makes OCD more manageable. This was a life changing book for me.
Aug 25, 2009 Kara rated it really liked it
i can't decide between 3 and 4 stars. i think had i not already been through so much therapy i would give it 4. there are weird things about it that bother me though- quotes start and never-end, punctuation errors, and this is coming from the most punctuation-illiterate person I know.

The theories in this book and the evidence he relates are great though. and he also very clearly sets out thoughts and feelings about the thoughts that people that suffer can't. For instance, I have had what i call
Apr 26, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
Incredibly insightful. If you know someone who struggles with OCD this is a must read. It can be hard to understand what is going on with the Obsessive part of this disorder, but this book lays it out in an easy to understand way. I feel I can be a better support now that I have a better understanding of the thought processes and where they go wrong.
dawn m leclerc
Oct 16, 2015 dawn m leclerc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read this book for a friend of mine who called me crying to pray for her as she was taking her young daughter to the hospital because of serious bad thought she had.Her daughter suffers from ocd I feel after reading this book and can be a better friend because I am informed.
Jan 02, 2013 Kendra rated it really liked it
A comforting book about the intrusive thoughts that many individuals with OCD struggle with. It's a quick read, only 137 pages with examples from his clients over the years. Know that the book only explores the sexual, violent, and blasphemous intrusive thoughts that occur in some OCD individuals and does not explore OCD as a whole. Provides some great ideas for treating intrusive thoughts either with a mental health professional or without. Definitely worth the read if you are interested in OCD ...more
Anthony Mazzorana
Dec 11, 2015 Anthony Mazzorana rated it liked it
An in-depth look at the obsessional thoughts that many OCD suffers have without any discussion of compulsions. This book focuses mostly on violent, sexual, and blasphemous obsessions. Its discussion of the effectiveness of cognitive therapy and medication is somewhat limited and makes it rather obvious that the book is dated at this point. The use and effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of OCD has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past decade. For a more up-to-date r ...more
Trevor O'hara
Dec 16, 2015 Trevor O'hara rated it really liked it
Particularly powerful, as it provides, if not a clip of silver bullets, information, research, and possible explanations for some of the most terrifying and painful mental quandaries people can be subject to.
Jan 19, 2009 Nathan rated it really liked it
Recommended by a friend with OCD. The good: Described the experience of chronic mental fixations in a manner that was easy to relate and understand. Gave lots of great insight. The bad: The experiences mentioned were for only a handful of people, and the same case studies were brought up repeatedly. I'd have liked either more case study analysis or less. Regardless, I feel like I have a better understanding and appreciation for this condition.
Mar 07, 2010 Christine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
AMAZING book. Through much prayer, I felt like I was led to this book. I read it, and immediately felt better. The author's manner of addressing the reader is one of comfort and compassion, and also filled with lots of information and reassurance. It's very easy to read because the scientific aspects of the book are in layman's terms. I highly recommend it to any OCD sufferers.
Feb 27, 2013 Erika rated it really liked it
This book explores the obsessions side of OCD (Pure-O). I've read 3 books about OCD so far and this is the book that really stood out the most to me. If you have Harm-OCD, POCD, or any other OCD thoughts then I recommend this book. It does not really talk about compulsions, which in a way allows more focus on the OCD thoughts which makes this book one of a kind.
This book couldn't seem to decide whether or not to address self-harm compulsions or suicidal ideation. It's interesting (if dry) and would probably be very helpful for people struggling with thoughts of harming others.
Aug 15, 2009 Koz rated it really liked it
This review won't be helpful to anyone (not that I ever write reviews with that goal in mind), but it's all that comes to mind without writing a 30-page lit response.

Oct 27, 2008 Pat rated it really liked it
Very educational and helpful in understanding obsessive-compulsive disorder and the paths that are open to those troubled by repetitive bad thoughts.
Bryan Duffy
Jan 21, 2008 Bryan Duffy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with OCD
This book is great. I think reading it can cure anyone who has at one point in time felt out of their mind, possessed or out of touch with reality.
Terri Pickett
An interesting read from a professional standpoint and for someone interested in "thinking about thinking". Skimmed a couple of chapters.
Vrinda Pendred
Aug 09, 2011 Vrinda Pendred rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Fantastic - the best thing I've come across for summarising the Pure 'O' side of things that gets so overlooked by the media.
Laura Craner
Check out my review of this book on my blog:
Nikki Vacant
Mar 29, 2011 Nikki Vacant rated it liked it
Not what I was looking for, but really interesting.
Sep 24, 2009 Rebecca rated it liked it
616.8522 Baer

Book at MK
Jul 30, 2008 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Tommy added it
May 24, 2016
Dakota rated it it was amazing
May 24, 2016
Daniellka LaPlante
Daniellka LaPlante marked it as to-read
May 21, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior
  • Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Stop Obsessing!: How to Overcome Your Obsessions and Compulsions
  • Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Secret Survivors
  • The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  • The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
  • Healing Trauma
  • The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Bad Boys, Bad Men: Confronting Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • A Brief History of Anxiety...Yours and Mine
  • Women's Moods: What Every Woman Must Know About Hormones, the Brain, and Emotional Health
  • Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control
  • Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous & Independent Children
  • False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction
  • Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One's) Relationship with Food a Problem?
  • A Version of Reason: In Search of Richey Edwards
  • An Adult Child's Guide to What's Normal

Share This Book

“The Imp of the Perverse will try to torment you with thoughts of whatever it is you consider to be the most inappropriate or awful thing that you could do. To illustrate this point, each of my patients whose thoughts are summarized below (many of whom you’ll meet in later chapters) told me that his or her particular bad thoughts focused squarely on whatever was for him or her the most inappropriate, awful, or shameful thing he or she could think of doing:3” 0 likes
“When he was an adolescent—although he was heterosexual—the worst possible thing Isaac could think of was being gay, which could cause relentless teasing by his classmates in school. So this is where the imp began his torment of Isaac. Perhaps he would stare at an attractive female classmate and feel pleasantly aroused; but the imp would lead him to think that perhaps it was really the boy sitting next to her that he was really attracted to. Soon, whenever he saw an attractive boy in school or on the street or in the gym, he would find himself scanning his body to try to feel certain that he wasn’t sexually aroused.4 “Was that the first tingling of an erection?” he’d ask himself. Of course, simply thinking about the area would sensitize it, which might be enough to convince him that he really was homosexual. He might then go home and lie in bed, depressed and thinking about suicide, certain that his classmates would soon discover the truth and begin teasing him mercilessly.” 0 likes
More quotes…