Recognizing OCPD and The Driven Personality
A woman who recently realized that she had OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder) and had been reading my blog sent me a note sharing a few thoughts about her experience. These explain why I began The Healthy Compulsive Project:
She wrote that while dealing with her condition has been difficult, identifying it was half the battle. She went on to write:
If only people suffering from OCPD knew:
1. There is an official name for it.
2. That they aren’t alone, and…
3. That it can actually be a healthy lifestyle.
As Carl Jung said, “A psychoneurosis must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.”
It’s in this spirit, finding the meaning in the compulsive personality, that I announce the release of my new book today: The Healthy Compulsive: Healing Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder and Taking the Wheel of the Driven Personality.
Why The Healthy Compulsive?
Five years ago I decided that I wanted to share what I’ve learned about the compulsive personality, or the driven personality, as I prefer to call it. Drawing on personal and clinical experience, I began writing The Healthy Compulsive. In the meantime, my experience writing The Healthy Compulsive Project blog, hearing from many people in response, and participating in online support groups, have all confirmed the importance of the project. These have also deepened my understanding of how to cultivate the possible benefits of this personality style.
The driven personality can be terribly destructive to individuals, families and communities. But it can also be extremely beneficial to all. Understanding and informed treatment can make the difference.
While OCPD is one of the most frequently occurring of all the personality disorders, too many people don’t understand their condition, and, as research has confirmed, many clinicians don’t recognize the condition at all, and may not have a good sense of how to treat it.
My hope is that this book will help individuals recognize these tendencies in themselves which have lead to suffering, and to realize how these tendencies, if consciously cultivated, can lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life. And I hope that therapists who read the book will have a better sense of how to help the people who come to them with this personality style.
The content of the book reflects the same themes and perspective that I explore in this blog, but does not repeat any material from the blog. It serves as a comprehensive guide to healing OCPD and cultivating the driven personality, with more depth and breadth, and step-by-step suggestions than I can achieve in blog posts. Each chapter has examples and practical suggestions.
Here is one of my favorite passages from the book:
“A healthy compulsive is one whose energy and talents for achievement are used consciously in the service of passion, love, and purpose. An unhealthy compulsive is one whose energy and talents for achievement have been hijacked by fear and its henchman, anger. Both are driven: one by meaning, the other by dread.”
In four parts I outline how to move from the unhealthy end of the compulsive continuum to the healthy end:
Part I: The Driven Personality: What It’s Like and How It Got That Way.
Part II: Realizing Your Driven Potential
Part III: Dangers and Opportunities on the Road Ahead: Applying the Tools of Change to Fulcrum Issues
Part IV: Support for the Road Ahead: For Compulsives and Their Partners
Advanced Praise for The Healthy Compulsive
A wonderfully written, deeply researched and yet common sense guide which shows us how the same compulsive attitudes and behaviors that cause us and others much suffering, can be a source of creativity, happiness, and success. Richly illustrated with case studies and backed by psychological research “The Healthy Compulsive” provides a step-by-step guide to transform the darkness of self-defeating compulsive behavior into creative and fulfilling light!
— Sanford L. Drob, PhD,Core Clinical Psychology Faculty, Fielding Graduate University
The reader does not have to qualify for the diagnosis to benefit from this rich and rewarding book by Dr. Gary Trosclair. The Author leads us more deeply into our feelings to discover values that give new meaning to our lives; re-framing compulsive tendencies into the freedom to make creative choices.
— Joseph P. Wagenseller, Jungian Psychoanalyst; Past-Chair of The Board of Trustees of The American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis; Past President of the C. G. Jung Institute of New York City
The Healthy Compulsive is the perfect bibliotherapy for people who are overextended, overscheduled, and overwrought. It guides the reader in a thoughtful exploration of their personal underpinnings of unhealthy compulsion and provides systematic guidance on ways to better channel one’s energy. It can be used in conjunction with therapy, or as a stand-alone exploration of how to reengage and enjoy life. Mental health trainees would also benefit from reading this book as it provides insight into the challenging patients who present as high functioning, but suffer debilitating emptiness.
— Carolyn Turvey, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Where to Get The Healthy Compulsive Book
You can order the book directly from the publisher, Rowman and Littlefield, and receive a 30% discount, using code RLFANDF30 at checkout. (This lowers the price to $21 rather than $30, plus $5 shipping.) Go directly to https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538132609. This promotion is valid until December 1st, 2020.
If you think the book would be helpful to others, please let them know by leaving a review at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
I want to express my appreciation to the many friends, family members and colleagues who’ve helped with the book, directly and indirectly, including Kendrick Norris and Mary Norris, my agent Steve Harris, my editor Suzanne Staszak-Silva, and my publicist, Elizabeth Psaltis. And most importantly all the readers who have sent comments to the blog, the many individuals in the online support groups that I have learned from, and from my clients.
To all my readers, thank you for your interest in this project and in your own well-being. May all your compulsions find their true goal.