What are INTRUSIVE Thoughts?  Kati Morton talks about obsessive, Compulsive Thoughts | Kati Morton

What are INTRUSIVE Thoughts? Kati Morton talks about obsessive, Compulsive Thoughts | Kati Morton

Hey everybody! Today’s topic is intrusive thoughts. What are they? Why do they happen? And then what do we do about them? So stay tuned. [music] So like I said, today’s topic is intrusive thoughts. And those are . . . exactly what they sound like. They’re almost like thoughts that just pop up in our head, and we don’t know where they come from, and we don’t know how to get rid of them, and we worry about them, and they get worse, and they keep coming back. And usually, intrusive thoughts are a component of an anxiety disorder, such as, um, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. A lot of times people that struggle with that will have these intrusive thoughts. And the three things that we need to remember about intrusive thoughts are that: Number One: everybody, with or without anxiety disorders, has disgusting or embarrassing or icky thoughts from time to time. The second thing to remember is that thoughts do not equal reality. M’kay? Otherwise I could just think of a million dollars, and then I’d go take it out of my bank. But that doesn’t’ work, right? So thoughts don’t equal reality. And then the third thing to remember is that thought suppression doesn’t work. When people say, “Oh, snap that rubber band on your wrist when those ‘bad’ thoughts come back, it’ll make it go away.” That’s just not the truth. So–what do we do then? Right? Maybe we have these intrusive thoughts, and they come all the time, and they’re ruining our days, and it’ll happen out of the blue, we’re like sitting enjoying dinner with some friends and–poof!– that “bad thought” or those “disgusting thoughts” come into our head, and we can’t get rid of ’em. Now why is that? Now, the most important thing about getting rid of them–like I said, thought suppression doesn’t work . . . And it’s not actually the thoughts, it’s our . . . how we think about the thoughts, and how we process the thoughts. Instead of, um, someone who maybe doesn’t have an anxiety disorder or have the compulsion to–to ruminate on it and think about it– those bad thoughts’ll come into our mind and we just let them go. Like, for instance, sometimes I’ll be walking on the street and I’ll think, “Oh my gosh, that’d be terrible if that biker got out of his bike lane, got hit by a car.” “That’s a horrible thought! How embarrassing! Why am I thinking that?” But instead of even having that thought process, like, “Oh, why do I have that? That’s terrible! I’m a terrible person.” I don’t go through that process, instead I just think, “Well that, well let’s hope that doesn’t happen.” And then I just let it go. Now that’s the difference. So it’s not actually the thought that’s keeping and holding us hostage. It’s the fact that we ruminate on it. Now all the research, I’ve looked on many, um, research studies as well as even just like “Psychology Today” and any articles that have come out recently about this topic. And what they state is that cognitive therapy works best. And if you haven’t watched my CBT video, click here to open it up because it’s really great– it’ll open in a new window, you’re not gonna lose this video–but, I talk about what CBT therapy is and how it can be really beneficial. And the reason that it works with intrusive thoughts is because it’s not the thought itself, it’s the thoughts we have about those thoughts. So instead of letting ourselves ruminate, CBT therapy helps us acknowledge the thought and come out it, versus ruminating. And we can actually even ask our questions about that thought. So I’m having this thought. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Right, we can talk ourselves out of it, instead of getting deeper and deeper into it. Is that making sense? So for any of you who are struggling with this, know that these are very common and that every person in the entire world has these “bad” or “embarrassing” thoughts from time to time. But the one thing we have to do is stop thinking about the thoughts. Let them come and go! It doesn’t mean that what you think is reality! Okay? It just means that you’re a normal person, you have these thoughts. So I would encourage you to seek out a CBT therapist, or a therapist, even if they just do talk therapy, you can tell them, “I’d like our, um, to structure our sessions so that they’re more cognitive-based because what my biggest concern right now is, is my intrusive thoughts.” And any therapist worth their salt will do some research for you and find out that they have to find new ways to get you out of the thoughts. Okay? So if any of you are struggling, pull out your journal and start writing down those intrusive thoughts. And then I want you to write back, “This–these do not mean that I’m a bad person. This is not gonna happen because I thought of it.” And we need to stop them that way. And I promise you it will help. I know it’s hard, I know it’s– it’s really confusing, and it seems overwhelming, but one thing at a time. Right, one thought at a time. And notice how long you’re spending just thinking about these intrusive thoughts. Because that’s what keeps us in this cycle. Okay? So if have questions, or if you even have tips, if you’ve worked in cognitive therapy to get out of this cycle of intrusive thoughts, leave your comments below– let us know. But remember, remember those three most important things: Everybody has them. Thoughts don’t equal reality. And thought suppression doesn’t work. So you can stop snapping that rubber band, you can stop saying, I’m not gonna think about this! I’m not gonna think about this!” ‘Cause that doesn’t work. We have to remind ourselves that thoughts aren’t reality, and we have to start trying to let them go. [music fades in] And CBT therapy will help the most. Okay? I hope you found this helpful! I know that when we talk about cognitive distortions, and, um, cognitive-behavioral things it can be a little difficult. Um, so let me know if you want more clarification, okay? And don’t forget to subscribe to my channel because I put out these topic videos every Monday, and I wouldn’t want you to miss one. And thank you for checking back, and we’ll keep working together towards a healthy mind and a healthy body. Subtitles by the Amara.org community



  • Hossam Yasser

    Guys you should clean the hair tie you'll wear on your wrist cause this can cause serious infection

  • Jake

    I get thoughts such as: What if I ran over that kid in my car? I would never do such a thing, but my thoughts always involve me doing things to other people, not what other people could do. Is that normal?

  • ItsMigi _

    i have a rlly sad day ivvve been suffering and i always pray u so much for helping me


    writing it down really did help. sure hope nobody reads my journal lol

  • T St

    They come from the enemy and he uses your own voice too thick you even more

  • Miss Killem

    Mine are usually relationship related. I think about being cheated on and think about what could be happening (in vivid detail) on a loop. Then I accuse and continue to think more thoughts and its non-stop! Anyone else experience this?

  • hamnanaz azzguard

    I need to practice this because everyday my thought goes in a loop

  • Narrow_is_ the_way61

    So emotionally draining.

  • Lena Martinez

    What if they are so shameful that you can't even talk about them or write them down.

  • Hell o

    and if the thoughts are things that actually had happened?

  • Patrick Trist

    If you can reply I need some advice I get disturbing and wrong thoughts about my family and I have tried to just ignore them, let them go through my head, and yet they still come back what else can I do

  • marc rollins

    Thank you
    I needed this

  • The Ruddz

    I have constant “what if” thoughts through your my life people that where suppose to be there and protect me … weren’t. So I have abandonment and trust issues… so I constantly have the “what if” thoughts and they are very negative and can ruin my day and mood. 😔

  • Killian Ward

    Does anyone else have intrusive thoughts about having intrusive thoughts. And then you think about telling someone what your intrusive thoughts are without wanting to and it spirals out of control. It makes me feel a bit dizzy

  • Panos Evo

    I often have thoughts of killing because of my anger and the unfairness of this pointless life

  • BAYOU TOWN Productions

    The CBT video link is not in your video. Could you please put it in your description? I would really like to see it.

  • naveent2785

    I know I have anxiety disorder but suddenly sometimes get an anxious thought which I can't describe, it is like just a feeling of fear.
    Then, I become worried and my mind kinda goes into limbo. I suffered from chronic anxiety disorder for many years and was on beta blockers mostly but changed some time back to anti depressants as suggested by doctors. Now I have even stopped them.

    But are these kind of thoughts which is most primary cause of my chronic anxiety also considered as intrusive?

  • Kathleen Hill

    Thank you for being one of the very few you tubers that lists your credentials. I get annoyed listening to laymen act like they know anything about psychology. It’s nice to be able to trust someone with legitimate education

  • christine weber

    Thank you

  • zJzxmezX ROBLOX

    For some reason I tend to get intrusive thoughts when I’m in the toilet pooping…
    Like no joke. When pooping all these irritating and disgusting and BLAH moments come to mind, and then it goes away when I’m finished.

  • Like90

    I had constant intrusive thoughts as part of my Postpartum Depression. It was like having a horror movie in my head. I had therapy and got out of that cycle. Now I don't get intrusive thoughts all the time. I still get them a bit, but that's normal.

  • Jade Arnott

    Will a CBT vape help this ?

  • Shanelle

    Thank you Katie. Really struggling with this lately

  • Chris Diaz

    I have this with my dp/dr might have ocd or have gad

  • Garett Nelsen


  • Aminah Zafar

    "Thoughts don't equal reality"

  • Crazy Cat

    If someone upsets me my emotions are all over the place it's really scary for me I'm shaking with anger I have thoughts to hurt that person they need to stay away from me

  • Kris Rhood

    I'm a musician and whenever I can't get a song out of my head it usually winds up on my playlist

  • Kris Rhood

    I consider that it's trying to tell me something

  • Crazy Cat

    Could intrusive thoughts actually happen like feeling I could do it!

  • inkyblinky

    Thank you sO MUCH. I've been trying for weeks to find solutions, and I'm glad I found your video because it might actually help, unlike a lot of the "just stop thinking that way" I keep getting.. And my intrusive thoughts are sooooo uncomfortable, because I find myself a lot of the time thinking about someone who I love dying, or something very very uncomfortably sexual (in ways that disgust me myself) and it's so repetitive and I try reallllyyyy hard to ignore them because they cause me even more anxiety but actively trying not to think about them makes me think about it more, eventually causing me to panic or cry…

  • Johanna Liljesvärd

    But how do I know if these are "Normal" Intrusive thoughts or if it's connected to a Anxiety disorder or something? Thanks for explaining this btw 🙂

  • sennie

    god bless you kati.

  • lily martn

    The worst thing is, I dont know what this is:

    I always think the following things

    -kill someone
    -did I lock the door?
    -what does that person look like naked (one of my worst)
    -is the dog going to die in the night?!
    -what the fuck what if I drop my cousin right now?!?!?
    -cut my hair even though I'm fucking 13 and have had no experience and I like my hair right now
    -did I get everything?
    -you are a horrible person
    -her arm are so thin and could easily snapped
    -i could literally just kill everyone around me even when they were doing nothing and I know I shouldnt
    -what if all my friends just died
    -"omg im such a ho" as I admire myself. (I am not doing this intentionally I actually get really upset and can have a mental breakdown because I dont like to have this attitude toward myself. It's a horrible feeling and it gets me really stressed out. I end up hating myself and thinking I'm a fucking shit)

    Things I have to do to stay calm
    – walk in a certain order
    -chew a certain amount of times on one side then swap
    -swallow an even amount of liquid
    -Turn the light on and off three times
    -if I thinking havent done something then I immiatley do it.
    -walk in sinc

    I know that these are intrusive thoughts. But I'm wondering if I have anything more.

  • 美的–Aesthetic

    This really helped and i feel much better thanks Kati i feel better and learned alot thanks again and hope everyone doing well and things will get better soon

  • Shawn Puri

    I have been having intrusive thoughts for almost one month now. They came out of nowhere but I remember exactly when it began. I was helping my parents move and I was in the garage where my mom was packing some stuff. Next, to my mom, there was one of those huge scissor looking things that cut grass and all of a sudden I thought "What if I stab her with this?" I really love my mom and having that thought even pass my mind made me terrified. The thoughts wouldn't go away because I kept thinking to myself that I was a bad person and that I would actually hurt her. My days started to become more challenging because I would wake up thinking about all these negative thoughts about my mom. Even my dreams would be dark. After watching this video and reading other articles I realized that its normal so I felt less scared. Now my intrusive thoughts involve me hurting her in different ways but I know that it is just thoughts and thoughts don't define my reality. I think that the best way to deal with it personally was allowing the thoughts to flow into your mind because that will eventually get rid of your anxiety. Also, try distracting yourself and do not stop doing your hobbies because of the negative thoughts. Although I still have the thoughts every day, the anxiety is gone and I know that I am slowly winning my battle against the thoughts. It's sometimes really frustrating for me because I know I am normal and I think why did it have to be me. I'm getting a therapist soon, which I recommend for people who have been suffering this for a while because you do not deserve to suffer.

    I don't know who is going to read this comment but if you ever want to just talk about your intrusive thoughts because you have no one else to please add my snapchat: shawng4417 I will try to help in any way.

  • The Politico

    I forgot about all my intrusive thoughts just by looking at you. 🙂🙂

  • X x whatanawkwardteen x X

    Yo my question is how did my recommended know I had intrusive thoughts

  • Poofie Moofie

    I know this is an old video but if anyone has some advice that would be great to hear. I’ve been struggling with intrusive thoughts for a while now and have been working on it with my therapist. But recently there was a month where I wasn’t able to see her. During that time I guess they became more “advanced”. I have these frog statues in my room and I started almost seeing them start to move and then I was convinced they were going to jump onto my head and kill me. And then I swear there was a man behind me, but I didn’t exactly see him. Another time I kept thinking I saw a lady in a white dress in the corner of my room. And I kept seeing cats walk across my room but as soon as I looked directly at it they would disappear. My therapist said they were intrusive thoughts that became “almost hallucinations”. (I’m paraphrasing but that’s what I got from it). It scares me that they started happening. I don’t know what to do to get rid of them cause now it doesn’t feel like it’s in my head anymore.

  • Daniel McLelland

    You have Saved me, God Bless ❤️❤️

  • gorillaz tearz

    Has anyone had lots of days of anxiety about you thinking your gonna end up being a killer or pedofile, like when you around your loved ones and you know you wouldn't do that cause you love them, then things just trigger the thought and then it starts again? Am I crazy or what???

  • Cat Noir

    Thank you so much I thought I was the only one having these thoughts I felt like a horrible person but I know now I’m gonna be ok

  • Sarath S

    meditation is the solution

  • lovely tea

    What if you have visions of people dead and you killing people, very detailed and feel no remorse?

  • Exploding_ Diamond

    I have intrusive thoughts every day… I'm almost crying right now because of them… My intrusive thoughts are always horrible…. One told me to kill my self….

  • J M

    I'm obsessed with hating myself for marrying my wife. I think she's not attractive physically or intellectually and I just want to die to escape the regret and shame of my shitty decision.

  • amor vincit omnia

    thoughts are like the wind or ocean, can't control them and not meant to

  • alex is lonely

    i have intrusive thoughts, sometimes i’ll be thinking about hurting people or myself. badly. but sometimes, i don’t necessarily think i’d feel guilty if i were to act on it. i fear i’m going to end up hurting someone else or myself.

  • amber proctor

    Can you please talk about magical thinking ocd and "curses." Please a family member of my mind really could use this.

  • Hi

    I see a lot of people who think that because they imagine gore that they are struggling with intrussive thinking.

    So can you do a video on intrusive obsessive thinking, because obsessive thoughts that are intrusive cause me far more suffering then my everyday gore thoughts.

  • amor vincit omnia

    How's this thought, not only can people not control their mind, they cannot control their body either. Life doesn't work through controlling things, it works on fun. Radical..

  • amor vincit omnia

    I think INTRUSION is not an ideal way to look at thoughts, it is like our minds are a private space and someone is invading boundaries. What I suggest is to reduce the magnitude and strength of thoughts using supplements (5-HTP for example) and leafy foods. It is not that they're intruding, it is that they are strong, loud, amplified. A non OCD person experiences the same thoughts as an OCD but they're not as loud, they appear as request messages rather than demands.

  • KookieLover :3


  • Heather Haggerty

    I know things are not free in this world. is there any help for free . I am not able to get insurence in general or mental health help .

  • Danny C

    I think about the worse things all the time I have super super bad anxiety and I have things that happen like this like I can be just driving down the road and think of me crashing and just everything that happens after that and my anxiety get even worse then I’ll kinda snap out of it

  • ur nut

    my intrusive thoughts get very very graphic and disturbing and just scary so im glad that atleast some people have thoughts like these? it helps to know im maybe not insane like what my mind urges me to think i am.

  • AndrowMonie

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • GiDD

    Are we becoming too weak? Imagine bringing this up in the 20s or 30s during real problem times. The Great Depression. We didn’t have time to sit and wait for bad thoughts because we had to survive. Now that it’s a lot easier to live, everyone has a new mental health problem.

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