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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  628 ratings  ·  55 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, 154 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
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  628 ratings  ·  55 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts
Sonya Morris
Jan 20, 2012 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.
Gabriel Ducate
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. It explored so many aspects of the epidemic of obsessive bad thoughts, to the shocking revelations of past patients, the advice and research and ways of managing these thoughts.

What made me really enjoy this was that the book wasn't pretentious in just telling you the scientific views. Instead it delved into not just one but multiple different cases from actual patients. The included the bad thoughts, sometimes in graphic detail that the
May 14, 2011 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
Jessica Klein
Mar 03, 2015 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
Jul 07, 2016 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
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"You are not so abnormal as you think. Every human being is visited from time to time by the Imp of the Perverse, who makes you think the most inappropriate thoughts at the most appropriate times."

This has been in my TBR for more than three years and I regretted that I did not read this sooner.
Although I'm not as "special" as the patients listed in the case studies, this book made me accept that bad thoughts happen to everyone from time to time.

Some topics touched as far as I remember:
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
Nov 08, 2012 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
Mar 13, 2013 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
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
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
Dawn DiMaria
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
As someone who has struggled with obsessive thoughts for as long as I can remember, it was amazing to read this book. I wish I found it years ago. Though I knew much of the information due to my own research and being in the mental health field, it was refreshing getting to read this book and hear individual stories and how Dr. Baer's clients worked through their issues.
It is outdated in certain parts - such as referencing popular cases at the time (Susan Smith) and suggesting that the individu
Hannah Goodman
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An awesome book that is the perfect number of pages....this is a topic that can be over explained and confuse the reader but this author does an excellent job of explaining the "why" behind obsessive, scary, intrusive thoughts. He also explains different courses of treatment and what I especially like is that he doesn't insist the only way through this is exposure, though exposure therapy is incredibly effective, it also has to be done with clients who are not only willing but also can take the ...more
Zachary Herde
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who has the feeling that your identity and moral standing is being compromised because of the thoughts in your head, this is an informative book for you. A recent bout with severe anxiety has made me realize that intrusive thoughts have always been a part of my life, but all of the sudden they now become distressing because of the particular themes that they reveal. It’s reassurance, which can be a compulsion, but I’ve felt that understanding what’s going through my head has helped a ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Should be a 3.5. The topic was fascinating, but I was more interested in the science than the self-help stuff. I'd hoped to learn why this was now a "silent epidemic." The book is also really outdated - it's something like 20 years old now and makes a lot of references to, say, Susan Smith. I also wonder how the research has changed since 1999/2000 when it was written. Otherwise OK, but if there was an updated edition or something I'd have been more pleased. ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is very educational for anyone who wants to learn about what OCD really is or anyone who’s just been diagnosed and wants to learn more about what it is, treatments, warning signs, medication, and some research that’s been done over the years. As somebody who has recently been diagnosed about 6 months ago it’s refreshing to read about other people who are going through the same thing .. although I wish nobody would ever get this stupid disorder.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brief but informative, professional but still compassionate and humane. This is a book I never knew I needed to read until my therapist recommended it. As someone who's suffered with crippling intrusive thoughts since the ripe ol' age of six, The Imp of the Mind was a dramatic eye-opener. My only regret is that I didn't find it sooner. ...more
Ariel's Booklist
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic. One of the best books ive read on this topic. I highly recommend for professionals and the public alike. Very well written, researched and edited. I would like to see a republishing with updated research soon but all in all I highly recommend. Will definitely be keeping this on my shelf and using it with clients.
This book is very informative on the subject of OCD and intrusive bad thoughts, it talks about ways you could adapt to overcome it, and in the end, chapters if all else fails it also talks bout medication you can take. A good read for parents to get to know the signs if there is any and try to help their children. Have learned much from the book.
Reixel Soy Yo
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
A brief and interesting book to approach OCD, but specially the subtype with mental compulsions.
This book is not made for treatment, but it could be useful for people with OCD to understand how OCD works and to not feel culprit because of their automatic thoughts. As well as dreams are not reality, thoughts are not facts.
Steph Bell
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting book that explains why people experience intrusive thoughts. The book focuses on specific types of thought but if they don't apply to you there is still much to gain through reading about them. ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Concise and practical, this book nails it. He simply provides an overview of understanding and treating bad thoughts in a way that is useful for both professionals and the every day person. Highly recommend.
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Understanding the relationship between OCD, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts is tough. But this book helped me get started.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great resource for people living with OCD and their loved ones, in addition to clinicians. Written without a lot of jargon ( so refreshing).
Maria Recker
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm an OCD therapist and I recommend this to any of my clients with primarily mental obsessions and compulsions! ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Clearly and accessibly written while also impeccably researched. Really only deals with intrusive thoughts that are violent, sexual, and blasphemous in nature.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life and how I understand my OCD. Thank you.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It really opens up the obsessive frightened mind and let's it breathe ...more
Jan Olaerts
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very clear explanation

Easy to read
Easy to follow for people who do not know a lot about psychology
Recommended for people who look for information about OCD
Ushnav Shroff
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Nothing to write home about.
Feb 14, 2015 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-
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mental Health Boo...: April nonfiction - OCD: The Imp of the Mind 5 29 Apr 25, 2019 07:44PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior
  • The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4  (Adrian Mole, #1)
  • Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche
  • Is Fred in the Refrigerator?: Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life
  • Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection
  • The Emotionally Absent Mother: How to Recognize and Heal the Invisible Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect
  • Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me
  • Tovar
  • Ku Klux Klan. Tu mieszka miłość
  • Opening Fire
  • 100 spôsobov, ktorými si zbytočne komplikujeme život
  • A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
  • Common Prayer for Children and Families
  • Sati
  • Mengeleho dievča
  • Odsúdený
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
49 likes · 0 comments
“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
More quotes…