Be Proud and Change your Life – How Therapy can Facilitate Change
Is it really for me?
You are feeling trapped in your eating disorder and you can’t see an escape route. Part of you really, really does want to change. The old strategies for coping are just not working anymore. You always resolve that tomorrow will be the day when your life turns around; but it just doesn’t happen and it leaves you feeling more disillusioned than ever. Tomorrow comes and goes and you remain stuck. People have suggested that getting support through therapy might be a beneficial idea. You are not sure though. Surely talking about your problems can only make things worse, can’t it? Isn’t it better to try and ‘think positive’ and shut the negativity away in the closet? You don’t want to start poking around into the depths of your psyche and suddenly have a whole new load of issues to deal with. However, something is nagging at you. Maybe, this therapy idea could be worth, just a little try. Perhaps you feel that there is nothing to lose anymore.
When you first enter therapy, you probably don’t know what to expect. You might be feeling fearful and unsure of what lies ahead. You might be hoping that someone will just take all these difficult thoughts out of your head and fix you. You are possibly a bit terrified about what might be revealed.
Going into therapy can provide you with a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space for you to begin to understand yourself and to explore your thoughts and feelings. You can start to become more self-aware; this being often a very gradual process as you do this at a pace that feels safe for you. Your therapist is professionally trained to listen and help you make sense of your problems. He or she is not there to tell you what to do; but rather to guide and support you in helping you understand the root of your problems; to overcome emotional challenges and to begin to make positive changes in your life.
Nutritional and psychological
In treating an eating problem it is helpful to tackle both the symptoms and also the underlying concerns that might be keeping the eating disorder going. At WeightMatters we offer an integrative approach to clients as believe that combining both behavioural interventions with deeper psychological work is the proven formula to long term change.
Although we recognise eating problems as predominantly psychological, we also feel it is valuable and helpful to offer nutritional interventions as an option alongside therapy. This specialist nutritional help is provided through our Dietician or Nutritional Therapist. All Eating and Behavioural Therapists are additionally trained to deliver psycho-education around nutrition and eating behaviours and can help with stabilising blood sugar; doing meal plans and understanding your own personal food world.
If you have an eating problem, then your symptoms may be causing you much distress eg: restricting; purging; bingeing. We work from the outset in therapy to help you to reduce these symptoms, being aware that work on symptom reduction can be quickly effective and something to practice immediately. This can bring about feelings of confidence in the efficacy of the therapy and increase motivation to explore the problem further. This is essential as having hope and impetus can enhance the change process significantly.
Food diaries are also used as a valuable tool to help you really understand your food world and to feel you are gaining knowledge in becoming your own personal therapist. To strengthen your learning and confidence further, homework can often be set (depending on the stage of therapy and your individual needs). This can ensure that you gain maximum input from the sessions and can take away this learning away to transfer to your daily life.
As you progress and your symptoms become more manageable, you will be hopefully starting to feel a bit better and you may also be aware that some areas of change feel a bit more problematic. This is quite normal and helps explain why deeper change cannot always happen alone. When this is the case, it can also be helpful to explore the deeper roots of your eating problem. Sometimes, deep down, you might not feel very worthy and good about yourself. Your self-esteem may be low. It might be helpful to explore this and understand why; as it is common that past events do have some impact on present day living. This might include looking at your relationships (past and present), exploring your emotional world and establishing new ways of caring for yourself. How you relate to food, might also mirror your relationship to other life areas. Really beginning to comprehend this and then with support, to implement new ways of coping, this can then stimulate a breakthrough with change.
The recovery path often takes many twists and turns and sometimes it can be challenging. It is unusual for therapy to offer a quick-fix or over-night transformation. Sometimes, you may have thought that the problem was all about the food, when in reality; it is a bit more complex. It is important to be patient with yourself and to remain encouraged that you are on your journey and that progress takes time. It is not always easy to break out of old and entrenched habits and you will likely have some relapses (to be viewed as learning experiences) along the way.
Is it worth it though? Absolutely! Therapy can offer real personal transformation. You become very self-aware and develop profound insight and understanding about how you operate in the world, in relation to yourself and others; and it can also open up choices for doing things differently. As time moves on, you should feel more confident and empowered. You should also feel more in tune and at peace with your authentic self. It is time well invested and something that will be with you for the rest of your life. Why not give it a go?