OCD Subtype

What is Sensorimotor/Somatic OCD?

Sensorimotor OCD is formerly known as Somatically Focused OCD and occurs when OCD sufferers become hyper-aware of bodily sensations including monitoring their breathing, swallowing, or heartbeat. Automatic bodily processes in the body become conscious and obsessional. The hyper-focusing on these sensations, checking, and monitoring can be extremely distressing for an OCD sufferer. Those suffering are often unable to stop thinking about these areas such as swallowing or breathing. They tend to try and distract themselves but end up feeling more distress and engaging in more compulsive behavior.

Common Obsessions

Common areas of hyper-focus and obsessions include: 

  • Breathing- focus on the type of breathing (shallow/deep) fears around not being able to breathe a certain way
  • Blinking -focus on how frequently they are blinking, fears around not being able to stop focusing on their blinking 
  • Swallowing/salvation- focus on the action of swallowing or the salvation itself, fears around not being able to swallow, or monitoring how often they are swallowing, fears around not being able to stop monitoring swallowing
  • Mouth and tongue movement- focus and attention placed on all the movements the mouth and tongue make, fears around not being able to stop focusing on movements or fears they are not functioning properly
  • Pulse and heartbeat- focus on the rate of one’s pulse and heartbeat and fears around not being able to stop or focus on anything else
  • Visual distraction-focus on eye movements or floaties within the eye, fears of not being able to  stop the monitoring
  • Specific body parts- awareness of certain body parts' size or movements and inability to focus on anything else 

Generally, the broader obsessions around these areas include that the obsession itself will never end and they will not be able to stop focusing on these obsessions. 


Common Compulsions

Common Compulsions of Checking OCD:

  • Attempting to stop noticing and pushing it out of awareness
  • Distracting oneself constantly to stop monitoring
  • Ruminating (problem-solving) how to stop noticing their sensations
  • Checking to see if they are breathing, swallowing, etc in a way that their OCD wants. For example, a patient may fear they will no longer be able to take deep breaths so may engage in checking behaviors to ensure they still have the ability.
  • Couting or monitoring sensations to make sure they are working properly
  • Researching
  • Participating in a variety of body relaxation strategies to draw attention elsewhere
  • Reassuring themselves that the areas of concern are working properly

Sensorimotor OCD is common and simple to treat. With this subtype of OCD, the power in treatment is centered around Response Prevention (resisting compulsive behaviors). At CalmOCD we will educate the patient on how to resist compulsions with this subtype, so they are not stuck in an endless cycle of seeking relief from the distress their obsessions cause. In addition, we will assist in improving their relationship with their obsessions and overall self-talk. OCD sufferers with this subtype are often irritated and so tired of constant monitoring. Through improving their relationship with their thoughts, monitoring, and fears, they will also see a change in their symptom severity.

Ready to Start Your Healing Journey?

If interested, please follow the steps below! Due to the high volume of inquiries please allow 48 hours for a response.


Submit an online inquiry


You will receive a response from CalmOCD within 48 hours and a 15 minute complimentary consultation will be scheduled

Intake Session

If CalmOCD seems to be a good fit based on your individual needs, an intake session will be scheduled.