Having grown up in both eastern and western cultures I picked up many mixed messages. My eastern heritage was telling me that it was inappropriate to express feelings and to share them with others. Whereas my western influence was informing me that it was OK to feel, and that a problem shared is a problem halved. This tug of war sparked up in an interest to want to understand human behaviour. Alongside entering my own therapy, I decided to study psychology and train as a psychotherapist. It is where I learnt that we can create many coping behaviours to deal with difficult events and experiences in our lives and these may be played out within our mind and body.
I believe this tug of war is something we may all experience, it may just show itself in different forms and contexts. One way it may arise is through our relationship with our body, our weight and the way we consume food. Though we may be taught that food is an essential element to our survival, we may in fact use it as a coping mechanism. I believe that disordered eating and body image issues can manifest as a means of coping with difficult life experiences. For instance, restricting food consumption, or using it as a means to binge can be symptomatic behaviours of many underlying issues of which we may not even be aware of. It can be a way of trying to keep control when others parts of our lives may seem so out of control.
My work involves in creating a safe and non-judgmental space, to explore the relationship a client may have with their eating, weight and body. I am very much client led and aim to work alongside the client, helping them to make links, connections and creating an understanding of their eating patterns. I promote psycho-education in order to challenge clients for change. One of the reasons that I decided to become a part of the team at WeightMatters is not only can a client receive therapeutic understanding, but they can also receive practical support, be it through nutritional or dietician support, to help tackle their food and body related struggles.