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

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  302 Ratings  ·  31 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)
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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
Aug 20, 2016 Tweedledum rated it really liked it
As I am currently on a drive to educate myself about various mental health issues this seemed like a useful addition to my little collection. It was certainly interesting though rather dated now. Baer's work with exposure therapy proved a breakthrough for many but towards the end of the book Baer touches on the then new ideas of CBT and considers how the two might work together or sequentially.

Baer's view is that drugs should be a last resort rather than a first resort and realised that helping
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
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
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
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.
Spencer Sheehan
Dec 29, 2016 Spencer Sheehan rated it it was amazing
Lee Baer helps reassure and teach OCD sufferers that they are not alone and that their bad thoughts don't have to rule their lives. He gives great examples of his, or his colleagues, treating patients with OCD. Through this book it is obvious Lee is a very knowledgeable medical professional but makes everything easy to understand.
Jan 09, 2017 Jens rated it really liked it
Having struggled with anxiety and racing (bad) thoughts, I truly did find this book quite helpful. It is by no means a solution or a cure to any of our problems. It just makes it easier for us to understand why it is that we struggle sometimes. Definitely recommended.
Brianne Geier
Nov 02, 2016 Brianne Geier rated it really liked it
Very helpful!
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-
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
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
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
Jul 19, 2016 Anthony rated it liked it
Shelves: ocd
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Terri Pickett
An interesting read from a professional standpoint and for someone interested in "thinking about thinking". Skimmed a couple of chapters.
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.
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.

Laura Craner
Check out my review of this book on my blog:
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.
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.
Joel Roggenkamp
Joel Roggenkamp rated it liked it
Aug 30, 2016
Sophie rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2016
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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” 1 likes
“Having OCD, and tending to see things as either black or white and in perfectionistic terms, as well as being overconscientious, he was extremely hard on himself and insisted that he somehow be guaranteed that he would not one day snap and act on his thoughts. At one point, Frank told me that he was now concerned that he was feeling too little anxiety, which made him think that perhaps he was a sociopath without a conscience after all and would end up like Jeffrey Dahmer!” 1 likes
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