strange banana therapy

A teenager cured his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)  by taking a banana for a walk down a London street.

Craig Shirley’s OCD was so bad that he would beat himself on his head hundreds of times a day.  Years of treatment by psychologists and doctors couldn’t cure the British teen so in desperation he opted for a new radical treatment. 

The bizarre treatment was designed by therapist India Haylor,  founder of OCD Excellence, a London-based OCD treatment centre. 

Naylor instructed Craig to walk along Central London streets pulling along a banana on a piece of string, as if the banana was his pet dog and he was taking it for a walk.

The strange banana therapy works on the basis that through humiliation comes cure. 

Haylor recognised that Craig’s biggest fear was upsetting people. By forcing him to conduct humiliating tasks he would have to confront his fears. 

As well as walking a banana down the street, Haylor’s strange therapy also forced the teen to go be rude to Harrods shop assistants. Craig was told to go into the upmarket store, ask for 6 pairs of Gucci shoes and then tell the shop assistant they were all rubbish. He was also instructed to sit in a fancy London patisserie and shout-out a list of swear words.

“It’s all about self-acceptance,” says therapist India Haylor. “So we got him to do things that might make him look ridiculous. If he doesn’t care what other people think of him, he will accept himself.” 

The strange therapy worked. Within three days he had stopped self-harming.

“We get people to do these tasks quite often. They don’t want to do them, in fact they really complain, but once they do, they find it really liberating,” adds Naylor.

The treatment works by proving nothing bad will happen even when his worst fears are fulfilled. 

Source:  Craig Shirley featured in the UK tv documentary “The A-Z of the Head”. 

2005

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