Decorative Light Blue Shape
Decorative Beige Shape
Woman obsessed with arranging items on her desk

Symmetry & Order OCD

Woman obsessed with arranging items on her desk

The Imbalance of Obsessing Over Perfect Order

Symmetry and Order OCD is a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder where there’s a compulsive need to arrange everything until it feels “just right.” This often causes significant anxiety if things appear misaligned. The disorder affects not just physical items but also extends to the sequencing of routine activities and bodily movements.

What is Symmetry & Order OCD?

People with Symmetry and Order OCD often spend excessive amounts of time organizing and rearranging their environments, which can interfere with their social and occupational functioning. In public or social settings, their compulsion might lead them to adjust items continuously, from straightening cushions and aligning tableware to organizing books by height or color. These behaviors are driven by underlying fears—often of discomfort or something terrible happening if things are not arranged correctly, which can make even simple tasks daunting and time-consuming.

Man obsessively counting as he washes his hands

Symptoms & Diagnosis


  • A persistent and overpowering need for objects to be aligned or positioned in a specific way.
  • Excessive mental rituals related to symmetry and order.
  • Discomfort or extreme anxiety when objects are perceived as asymmetrical or disordered.

Diagnostic Criteria

  • The presence of compulsions related to arranging, ordering, or aligning that are not due to personal preferences but to an overwhelming need to alleviate anxiety.
  • Recognition by the individual that these obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable.

Impact on Daily Life & Emotional Well-being

The impact of Symmetry and Order OCD on daily life can be profound, affecting both personal and professional aspects of life. At home, individuals may struggle with tasks that disrupt their environment, such as receiving guests or handling changes in their living space. Professionally, the need for perfect order can lead to inefficiencies or conflicts, especially in team settings where such control is impractical.

In relationships, the demand for symmetry and order can place a strain on partners and family members, often leading to frustration and conflict. The individual’s need for control over their environment can become a central point of tension, impacting their social interactions and potentially leading to isolation.

Treatment Options for Symmetry & Order OCD

At Bethesda Therapy, we approach the treatment of Symmetry and Order OCD with personalized strategies, primarily focusing on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). These therapies are effective in helping individuals confront their compulsions, reducing the need to engage in time-consuming ordering rituals.

Treatment Techniques

Coping Strategies & Self-help Tips

  • Establishing moderate and manageable organizing routines.
  • Practicing mindfulness to stay present and reduce the urge to rearrange.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques to decrease overall anxiety levels.
  • Set realistic organization goals that do not disrupt daily life or personal relationships.

Bethesda Therapy’s Dedication to Specialized Symmetry & Order OCD Treatment

Local Resources in Maryland, DC, & Virginia

Bethesda Therapy is committed to providing access to specialized care for those dealing with Symmetry and Order OCD in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. We offer comprehensive treatment plans that include the latest therapeutic techniques and community support to ensure effective management and recovery.

Focused Treatment for Symmetry & Order OCD

At Bethesda Therapy, we understand the unique challenges presented by Symmetry and Order OCD. Our tailored treatment approaches help clients reduce compulsive behaviors and improve their quality of life.

Supporting Your Journey to Recovery

We offer a supportive and understanding environment where individuals can learn to manage their OCD symptoms effectively. Our commitment extends to ensuring that each client receives the compassionate care they need to thrive.

Adhering to the Best Practices in OCD Treatment

Our treatment plans are based on the latest research and best practices in the field of OCD therapy. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to our clients in the local area, helping them lead healthier and more balanced lives.

Getting Started with Bethesda Therapy

We understand that seeking help can be a big step, but remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to support and guide you on your journey towards a more manageable life. Scheduling a consultation with us is straightforward and the first step towards recovery. Reach out to us either by phoneemail or our website form to book your appointment. Be assured, your confidentiality is our top priority, and we’re committed to providing you with the highest level of care. Take that first step today – we look forward to assisting you.

Therapist and Client Connecting

What Colleagues Say About Us

Beautiful Mountains

Rose Bleiweis


Melissa is determined, hard-working, and provides a range of therapeutic interventions. She is committed to professional development to further her clinical skills.

Beautiful Ocean

Jen Lodico


Melissa’s skillset was empowering to work with. She is professional and supportive. Melissa is a fantastic therapist who I cannot recommend enough!
Beautiful Mountains

Beth Cocker


Melissa Murphy is a wonderful therapist. She is kind, non-judgmental and empathetic. She truly understands her client’s needs and takes into account the whole-person. I do not hesitate to refer clients to Melissa and enjoy collaborating with her on cases. She is an excellent therapist with expertise in anxiety, depression, and OCD.

Decorative Light Blue Shape
Your Request Has Been Successfully Submitted.
Thank you for your interest in Bethesda Therapy, we will be in touch shortly.