Lauren Pellizzi LLC

Specialized OCD & Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety Therapy Red Bank

Areas of Specialty

What is “just right” OCD? 

“Just right” obsessions are thoughts and/or feelings that something is not quite right or that something is incomplete. You may feel very uncomfortable when confronted with situations where objects are misaligned or in disarray or when something does not appear perfect.

“Just right” OCD symptoms involve more of a sense of “incompleteness” rather than the need to “avoid harm” seen in more typical OCD symptoms. “Just right” symptoms are more likely to be experienced as discomfort or tension rather than anxiety. Both “just right” and other kinds of OCD involve an overwhelming sense of doubt that leads to compulsions. People with either “just right” or other kinds of OCD both know that their thoughts are unwarranted, but can not shake the nagging feeling that ‘perhaps they are wrong.’ In both “just right” and other kinds of OCD, doing the compulsion reduces anxiety, making the person more likely to seek relief through their compulsion the next time the feeling happens.

Individuals with obsessions about symmetry and exactness may have magical thinking associated with their concerns. For example, they may worry that their mother will have accident unless things are in the right place. In other cases, the need for symmetry may just “feel right” and not be accompanied by magical thinking (e.g. just makes the person uncomfortable).

How are “just right” symptoms triggered?

A list of possible triggers could be endless. But, the following are some general categories of common triggers:

  • Sight. Example: A person feels that his/her comb is not in ‘quite the right place’ on the dresser, and might proceed to pick it up and put it back down – repeating until the feeling of incompleteness is gone.
  •  Sound. Example: A person practicing piano feels that a certain note is ‘off’, and needs to play it over and over until it sounds right – even though tuning of the note has not changed in any real way.
  • Touch. Example: After touching a table, a person feels a sudden need to touch it again (and again) until a feeling of tension/distress goes away.
  • Personal Expression. Example: A person might need to express himself/herself ‘precisely’ in written or spoken words (even in his/her own head) – ‘working through’ wording until it meets their own standards of being ‘just right’. 

Treatment for "just right" OCD

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for Just Right OCD is to teach you that you can manage the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts about symmetry or perfection without performing compulsions or rituals to fix or arrange objects. You will learn a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Treatment will include education about Just Right OCD and how it is maintained, cognitive strategies that will help you respond differently to anxiety and intrusive thoughts, and behavioral strategies to help you delay and/or eliminate compulsive behaviors. ERP/CBT will help you face your anxiety and discomfort about things not being “just right” and practice new ways of responding to anxiety. With practice and experience facing your discomfort, you will find yourself less disturbed by the feelings of incomplete and more able to cope with anxiety and urges.

​People suffering from "Just Right" OCD are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health treatment provider that specializes in the treatment of OCD.  OCD specialists are equipped and prepared to treat a wide array of OCD subtypes, including "Just Right" OCD . Like all types of OCD, "Just Right" can be treated with a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention.  Contact Lauren Pellizzi to start treatment.

"Just Right" OCD