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  Obsession (from Latin, ‘siege’) was a word used in Catholic ideology for demonic possession which defined two types of possession, somnabulist and lucid. The lucid state remains conscious but speaks of a spirit within: this is obsession. The concept was adopted by psychiatry, but here it came to mean that the patient has thoughts and ideas which do not seem to come from themselves, but are experienced through themselves, like possession. If obsessive thoughts like these develop into rituals, then they become compulsions. In practice today these phenomena are now described collectively as obsessive compulsive behaviours. Freud saw obsessive ideas as self reproaches (for guilty sexual wishes) re-created in a modified form.

Obsessive ideas are an idea or ideas which constantly intrude on a person\'s consciousness even though he or she recognizes their irrationality. These thoughts differ from ordinary ones in that they are unspontaneous, distracting, repetitive, feel as if they have come from elsewhere and often have absurd, bizarre or obscene subject matter. They can be extended into compulsive acts such as tidiness, handwashing, etc. MJ



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