The Relationship Between the Five Facets of Mindfulness and the Dimensions of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Transcript

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions and recurring compulsions. Obsessions are persisting, uninvited, unwanted, and anxiety-provoking thoughts, impulses, or images. In response to obsessions, compulsions ensue as an attempt to reduce distress. Compulsions are repetitive mental acts or behaviors. The four dimensions of OCD symptoms include: 1) concerns about germs and contamination, 2) concerns about being responsible for harm, injury, or bad luck, 3) unacceptable thoughts, and 4) concerns about symmetry, completeness, and the need for things to be “just right.”

It is estimated that 2.3% of adults in the U.S. will experience OCD at some point in their lifetime with females being more likely to experience it. That sounds like a small percentage. So why does this deserve attention? Because over half of people living with OCD have serious impairment in daily functioning. As an example, someone with OCD may have obsessive thoughts that there are germs on their hands. Further impairment would have them fearful of becoming sick because of potential germs on their hands. For those with serious impairment, it moves beyond obsessions to compulsions of washing their hands an excessive number of times per day to reduce their stress about becoming sick. This example portrays the importance of identifying symptoms early and providing effective treatments.

Treatments such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and medication can help. Yet over half of the people treated are shown to relapse. However, there is hope because mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing residual symptoms that CBT may not address.

Mindfulness is a heightened awareness of and attention to an incident or existing reality. In addition, with greater mindfulness comes attitudes of acceptance, openness, and curiosity. These improvements in attitude can help reduce OCD symptoms because it can serve as a coping mechanism and separate the person from their obsessions and compulsions. These positive changes in thought help with “letting go” of obsessions which, in turn, decrease symptoms. Even though mindfulness is consistently shown in studies to reduce OCD symptoms, it is not widely used and is considered a “third wave” treatment after CBT and medication. Part of the reason it is a lesser-used treatment may be because more needs to be understood about which facets of mindfulness may attribute to improved OCD symptoms. The facets of mindfulness include non-react, observe, act aware, describe, and non-judge:

  1. Non-react refers to one’s ability to notice but not react to feelings, emotions, and situations.
  2. Observe refers to one’s ability to pay attention to or notice their thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and sensations.
  3. Act aware refers to one’s ability to be aware, concentrate, not get distracted, and not “run on autopilot.”
  4. Describe refers to one’s ability to explain and label their feelings, beliefs, opinions, expectations, and thoughts.
  5. And lastly, non-judge refers to one’s ability to view their thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and situations without judgment.

One study found that compared to a group of people living without OCD, people living with OCD scored much lower in the mindfulness facets of describe, act aware, and non-judge, but did not differ in the mindfulness facets of observe and non-react.  Not only does this allow health professionals insight as to who might be more likely to experience debilitating OCD symptoms but also it narrows down the focus of treatment to the three facets of mindfulness most impacted by OCD. One reason I want to go into occupational therapy is to help advance work in this field so that we can support people living with OCD to live the life they want to live.


Abramowitz J.S., Reuman L. (2020) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In: Zeigler-Hill V., Shackelford T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using Self-Report Assessment Methods to Explore Facets of Mindfulness. Assessment (Odessa, Fla.), 13(1), 27-45.

Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., . . . Devins, G. (2006). Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition. Clinical Psychology (New York, N.Y.), 11(3), 230-241.

Bohlmeijer, E., ten Klooster, P. M., Fledderus, M., Veehof, M., & Baer, R. (2011). Psychometric Properties of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire in Depressed Adults and Development of a Short Form. Assessment (Odessa, Fla.), 18(3), 308-320.

Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The Benefits of Being Present. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822-848.

Crowe, K., & McKay, D. (2016). Mindfulness, Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms, and Executive Dysfunction. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 40(5), 627-644.

Hale, L., Strauss, C., & Taylor, B. L. (2013). The effectiveness and acceptability of mindfulness‐based therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder: A review of the literature. Mindfulness, 4(4), 375–382.

Hanstede, M., Gidron, Y., & Nyklíček, I. (2008). The Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms in a Non-Clinical Student Population. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 196(10), 776-779.

National Institutes of Mental Health (2017). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).


Student Organizations? YES, Please! Transcript

Students transitioning to college can experience a range of emotions: excitement, loneliness, anxiety, expanded freedom, and more.  But never fear! Strong social networks aid in coping with drastic life change. Regardless of background, involvement in student organizations can be a key to success for many students. Research shows that student organizations can satisfy this need for social belonging, personal growth, and identity development, ALL things that are developing during college years.

Support from a student organization can provide a home away from home for those longing for belonging and depth of friendship. During COVID-19, it is common to leave the dorm only when necessary. These necessary restrictions also mean reduced interaction with fellow students.  These restrictions, however, do not change the fact that social belonging is a key factor to academic success for many students. Student organizations provide a community for social formation, leadership opportunities, and exposure to diversity of everything from skin color to hometown. Student organizations can provide an open and honest arena for questions and a place to experience personal growth. College is a launching pad for future career as well as family goals. Experiences in clubs, along with the general college experience, help provide a place for students to seek wise counsel, develop leadership skills and form their personal identity.

If you are interested in getting involved in a student organization at the University of Kentucky, visit their Campus Labs platform BBNvolved to display the many options in one place. Look through the list and find a group that interests you. Get involved soon after arriving on campus. Be persistent and don’t be quick to give up. It might take a few weeks or even a few months to find the best fit for you. Developing friendships takes time, especially in larger organizations. If you have consistently had a negative experience with a student organization, don’t be discouraged, just try a new one. Find your niche! Research shows that, if you do, you are more likely to achieve success during your college years.

To learn more about student organizations at UK, visit BBNvolved.

If you are having issues getting connected or issues with a student organization, please e-mail or set up a time to talk to an involvement advisor by emailing You can also request an appointment online.


Freeman, T. M., Anderman, L. H., & Jensen, J. M. (2007). Sense of belonging in college freshmen at the classroom and campus levels. The Journal of Experimental Education75(3), 203-220.

Mankowski, E. S., & Thomas, E. (2000). The relationship between personal and collective identity: A narrative analysis of a campus ministry community. Journal of Community Psychology28(5), 517-528.


How I Like to BH WELL Series

BH WELL wants to know how YOU like to BH WELL! So we are issuing the #BHWellChallenge! Let us know how you like to BH WELL and it may end up posted on our website or social media. Below are some ways that others like to BH WELL.

A brief discussion about the importance of African Americans taking the COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly devastating to communities of color, especially black communities. The vaccine is our best shot to defeating the virus. I encourage everyone to seriously consider taking the vaccine. Any concerns of its safety can be addressed by reviewing the CDC website or discussing the vaccine with a trusted healthcare provider. I'm Dr. Lovoria Williams and I like to BH WELL by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

If you're interested in learning more, check out our website at

Winter Solstice: Coming Out of the Dark

"Winter solstice is on December 21st this year. It is the shortest day of the year. Perfect time to let go of one thing that has been keeping you in the dark!”


Physical Well-Being Part 3: Physical Activity 

Part 3 of our Physical Well-being series is all about physical activity! 

Physical Activity 

Physical Well-Being Part 2: Fueling Your Body  

Part 2 of our Physical Well-Being Series is all about fueling your body! 

Kicking Social Anxiety to the Curb Transcript

Have you ever walked into a room to give a presentation that you had been creating for weeks then all of a sudden, your heart starts racing, you feel dizzy like you are about to pass out, your palms are sweaty and you are nauseous! Everything you had prepared for seems to disappear in an instant! Everyone is attentive, ready to listen to you and as they look at you your mind keeps racing with questions, “Am I making a fool of myself? What is happening to me? Why is my heart pounding so hard? Why is it so hard to catch my breath? Maybe this was not meant for me…”. Your mind keeps spiraling downhill with negative thoughts and you cannot wait for this to be over so that you can run out and catch some air.

Have you ever wanted to make friends and go to events, but every conversation is a struggle? Deep within you are fearful that you may say something awkward, embarrass yourself and get judged. People may think you are anti-social, yet you are not. What you may be experiencing is Social Anxiety Disorder, and you are not alone. Approximately 5 to 16% of adults in US have been diagnosed with a Social Anxiety Disorder in their lifetime 1,2.  Social Anxiety is a situation where you have excess fear in social interactions because you think you may be judged or scrutinized by others, you worry about embarrassing or humiliating yourself, or offending someone. Social Anxiety may change over time and can flare up under stress. Having Social Anxiety may affect your school, work, and other social activities. A person with Social Anxiety may want to avoid certain situations including but not limited to:

  • Interacting with unfamiliar people or strangers
  • Attending social gatherings
  • Going to work or school because of the social interactions
  • Starting conversations
  • Making eye contact
  • Entering a room if people are already seated
  • Using a public restroom
  • Eating in front of others
  • Dating

Avoiding such situations may SEEM to make you feel better but that does not solve the issue. There are several evidence-based interventions that have been proven to work in addressing Social Anxiety3.

  1. Psychotherapy/ cognitive behavior therapy which teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations in ways to feel less anxious and fearful.
  2. Joining a support group with people who have social anxiety
  3. Medications such as anti-anxiety medications/ antidepressants or beta blockers.
  4. A combination of both psychotherapy and medications
  5. Mindfulness training
  6. Social skills training
  7. Exercise and relaxation techniques

The first step to treatment is talking to your health provider who will establish a diagnosis and advise you on what to do. Your provider may refer you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or counselor.

For more information on Social Anxiety Disorder and evidence-based interventions, go to: National Social Anxiety Center or Center for Clinical Interventions


1.         Stein DJ, Lim CCW, Roest AM, et al. The cross-national epidemiology of social anxiety disorder: Data from the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. BMC medicine. 2017;15(1):143.

2.         Miloyan B, Bulley A, Brilot B, Suddendorf T. The association of Social Anxiety Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and reproduction: Results from four nationally representative samples of adults in the USA. PLoS ONE 12(11): e0188436. 2017.

3.         Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017;19(2):93-107.