Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Help


I have  depression OCD, Anxiety, some bipolar going on.But I do have a question that I could never ask a doctor or ever tell anyone because it's to embarrassing, please help. I smell my hand. Why? I ask myself, is it comforting to me? Am I crazy? It's weird I know. What's even more strange is that I feel the need to put my hand in my pants before I do and I find myself always needing to do it .I have to smell my sent . It's been going on for some yrs now. What's wrong with me

Hello Crystal,

First of all, I want to tell you that I understand why you might think this is bizarre and embarrassing behavior. However, I will also tell you that it is not as uncommon as you might think AND there are reasons for this behavior that could be uncovered in therapy.

I say this not to make you feel better but because I have found it to be true in my professional experience. I realize why it may be hard to tell someone but if you have a trustworthy, experienced and empathic therapist, you could begin to better understand this compulsion (and I do believe it is related to your OCD) and lessen the psychological forces that move you toward such defensive behaviors.

Are you getting medical treatment for your depression, bipolar, and OCD issues? If so, what is the treatment plan? You do not mention this. I am hoping it includes depth-psychotherapy or psychoanalytic psychotherapy. This would be a very important component of your healing because I believe there are some long-held feelings about yourself, including doubts, worries, feelings of inadequacy, that cannot be explored and treated with medication only. Your frequent and compulsive touching of your genitals and then smelling your hand may be a source of comfort or pleasure. Alternatively, it may be a sign of some suspicion or fear that, unless you are constantly testing it out, you are offensive or repulsive to people. There could be other unconscious reasons as well but those are the first two that popped into my mind. Without therapy, you might have no other way of trying to figure this all out.

From an online post, I cannot tell you what might be at the heart of these issues. I can recommend, however, that if you are not already in therapy, I might seek out a good psychoanalytic therapist...someone you can open up to and discuss all your misgivings and fears about your behavior. Look on the internet if there are any psychoanalytic institute in your area and call them for a referral or other resources. You can tell this professional if the behavior intrudes into your life and how dramatic is the intrusion. Most importantly, you can talk about early relationships in your life, with your mother and father, that might have contributed to your feelings and doubts about yourself. It is unclear whether there are issues from childhood but the many ways you are suffering suggests something went on that makes your adult life difficult and less than satisfying (given your list of mental health issues).

I hope this has been of some help. I wish you all the best as you move forward in making your life more pleasing and enjoyable.

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Jacquelynn Cunliffe


I would like to answer under the category of Psychiatry and Psychology. However, I would like to see a separate category for Psychotherapy/Psychoanalysis. I do not answer questions about medications as I do not prescribe. My expertise is in psychotherapeutic treatment.


I am a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst who specializes in the treatment of mental health issues caused by childhood trauma, domestic abuse, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, and a wide variety of psychological disorders. The kind of therapy I do is often referred to as deep therapy, talk therapy, or psychoanalytic therapy. Please note that I am not against medications and when managed well, medication can be an adjunct to psychotherapy intervention. I think it is important for the public to realize that psychodynamic or psychoanalytic psychotherapy DOESmake changes not only in people's minds but those changes can also be detected in their brain structure. Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are powerful interventions to help people change their lives from the inside out.

American Psychoanalytic Association American Psychiatric Nurse Association Member of Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia Member of National Eating Disorder Association

Ph.D.-University of Pennsylvania, Psychology and Education, Division of Human Development M.S.N. and R.N.-B.C. Board Certified Nurse in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2-Year Adult Psychotherapy Program graduate 2-Year Child Psychotherapy Graduate Current: Candidate in Psychoanalytic Training at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with clients who have experienced significant childhood traumas. These patients come with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, relationship difficulties and diagnoses such as Personality Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, and, though rarely, Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly multiple Personality Disorder)

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