Dear Dr. Schwartz,
For several years I have been having the most brutal sexual fantasies about women being burned at the stake as witches. Sometimes I am in the role of the executioner, sometimes I am the victim. I think it has been somewhere in my mind for as long as I can remember but at one point, when I was about 16, it was triggered by a movie scene. Since then, I have been searching the web for various extreme BDSM sites and been having very obsessive thoughts. It is of course just a fantasy, in the real life I have no wish to harm anybody, but I find it very disturbing and sick! I am disgusted by myself, yet I cannot stop doing this. Please, I would really appreciate your help! I know it is horrible and bad, but it just won´t go away! I have been undergoing regression therapy together with homeotherapy. It has been helpful, but the problem seems to be quite deep. I know I am probably sick, that´s why I am trying to figure it out. I have never been abused or anything, I have a great and supportive family, I have no idea where it is coming from.
Thank you in advance
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Apparently, you are bothered by the content of thoughts and fantasies that you find objectionable and horrible. While it may be that the content of these fantasies are bothering you, I suspect that, in actuality, you are feeling tortured by obsessional thoughts. Obsessional thoughts are those that are repetitive in nature and that we seem to have no control over. They are intrusive, occuring at times that are unpredictable and, it is that unpredictability that is very bothersome.
I don’t know you and can only write in ways that are very general but, these types of obsessional thoughts arouse lots of anxiety and self hate. Oddly, it is thought that obsessional thinking is a defense against anxiety. Nevertheless, it is closely connected with fear. Obsessional thoughts are also a great way for people, involuntarily, to beat themselves over the head. That is why I want to suggest something you might do about this:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been found to be very effective agaisnt obsessive compulsive types of problems. Through CBT you learn to identify how unhelpful and unrealistic these thoughts are and, most important, how to replace them with thoughts that are more realistic because they are based in fact.
For example, you are thinking that your problems are very deep. In reality, you are experiencing unhelpful and self torturing thoughts. In CBT you will learn how to let go of the thinking that your problems are “deep” and replace them with something like, “Oh, these are just fantasies that I make up and I can think about pleasant things.” Also, “oh, these thoughts happen when I am upset about something and, knowing that, I can make them go away.”
The main point here is control. At the moment it feels to you as if you have no control over this. However, in CBT, you can learn to control this type of thinking and replace with something much more helpful.
This is just my opinion, and I want you to know that but, it seems to me that you would be much better off with CBT instead of “regression therapy.” However, this is up to you and you might not agree with me.
Best of Luck