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Imaginals: A Powerful Weapon for OCD with Krista Reed - Your Anxiety Toolkit

Welcome back, everybody. Thank you for joining me again this week. I’m actually really excited to dive into another topic that I really felt was important that we address. For those of you who are new, this actually might be a very steep learning curve because we are specifically talking about a treatment skill or a tool that we commonly use in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and even more specifically, Exposure and Response Prevention. And that is the use of imaginals or what we otherwise call scripts. Some people also use flooding. 

We are going to talk about this because there are a couple of reasons. Number one, for those of you who don’t know, I have an online course called ERP School. In ERP School, it’s for people with OCD, and we talk about how to really get an ERP plan for yourself. It’s not therapy; it’s a course that I created for those who don’t have access to therapy or are not yet ready to dive into therapy, where they can really learn how to understand the cycle of OCD, how to get themselves out of it, and gives you a bunch of skills that you can go and try. Very commonly, we have questions about how to use imaginals and scripts, when to use them, how often to use them, when to stop using them, when they become compulsive and so forth. 

In addition to that, as many of you may not know, I have nine highly skilled licensed therapists who work for me in the state of California and Arizona, where we treat face-to-face clients. We’re actually in Los Angeles. We treat patients with anxiety disorders. I also notice that during my supervision when I’m with my staff, they have questions about how to use imaginals and scripts with the specific clients. Instead of just teaching them and teaching my students, I thought this was another wonderful opportunity to help teach you as well how to use imaginals and why some people misuse imaginals or how they misuse it. I think even in the OCD community, there has been a little bit of a bad rap on using scripts and imaginals, and I have found using scripts and imaginals to be one of the most helpful tools for clients and give them really great success with their anxiety and uncertainty and their intrusive thoughts. 

Here we are today, it is again a start of another very short series. This is just a three-week series, talking about different ways we can approach imaginals and scripts and how you can use it to help manage your intrusive thoughts, and how you can use it to reduce your compulsions. 

It is going to be three weeks, as I said. Today, we are starting off with the amazing Krista Reed. She’s been on the show before and she was actually the one who inspired this after we did the last episode together. She said, “I would love to talk more about imaginals and scripts.” I was like, “Actually, I would too, and I actually would love to get some different perspectives.”

Today, we’re talking with Krista Reed. Next week, we have the amazing Shala Nicely. You guys already know about Shala Nicely. I’m so happy to have her very individual approach, which I use all the time as well. And then finally, we have Dr. Jon Grayson coming in, talking about acceptance with imaginals and scripts. He does a lot of work with imaginals and scripts using acceptance, and I wanted to make sure we rounded it out with his perspective. 

One thing I want you to think about as we move into this series or three-part episode of the podcast is these are approaches that you should try and experiment with and take what you need. I have found that some scripts work really well with some clients and others don’t work so well with other clients. I have found that some scripts do really well with one specific obsession, and that doesn’t do a lot of impact on another obsession that they may have. I want you just to be curious and open and be ready to learn and take what works for you because I think all of these approaches are incredibly powerful. 

Again, in ERP School, we have specific training on how to do three different types of scripts. One is an uncertainty script, one is a worst-case scenario script, and the last is an acceptance script. If you’re really wanting to learn a very structured way of doing these, head on over to and you can sign up for ERP School there. But I hope this gets you familiar with it and helps really answer any questions that you may have. 

Alright, let’s get over to the show. Here is Krista Reed.

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