‘’Eating Disorders may manifest from problems with the care and feeding of the body, but in many cases it is about fundamental problems with the care and feeding of the Soul’’
This is the benchmark for my approach when working with individuals experiencing all forms of food, body and weight issues. Our unresolved issues get trapped in the body and this creates a heaviness which we then feel is ‘fat’. This is why individuals who are exhibiting extremely low weights will protest to how ‘fat’ they look and how much space they take up.
Our fear of life gets transferred onto food and then the need arises to manipulate food to alleviate this fear. This also serves as a great distraction as while we are directing our energy onto food and body we don’t have to address the Real Issues. (see www.eatingdisorders.ie for more information on the real issues).
When you shut yourself off from the nourishment of the universe, you then feel the need to provide the nourishment yourself. In the case of compulsive overeating, it is not calories that you seek, but contact with your Soul. The compulsion to eat can be viewed as a Divine Sign post directing you to a more fundamental imbalance that needs your attention. Until you address these imbalances your compulsive hunger will continue to remind you that you have inner work to do !
When you are emotionally nourished the physical cravings, impulses and compulsions stop ! This is how we end the hunger dilemma.
‘Feed your Body, Free your mind, Nurture your Soul’
‘What lies behind your eyes is more important than what lies in front of them’ Gary Zukav.
Eating Disorders and addictions are the wants of the parts of the personality (ego) that are resisting the energy of the Soul. Within each experience of anxiety, fear, shame, guilt, doubt, irritation, frustration, stress etc… lies the opportunity to challenge your perception that lies behind it, the fear driving it, and you can then invite healing through wisdom.
Society as a whole are getting it wrong when it comes to Being Soulful. So for example the thinking is…. If I Do the latest fad diet or Do an hour in the gym, then I will Have the perfect body and I will Be happy. By now many of you will realise this doesn’t work !
Instead we need to shift our perspective to…
Be who you are, to Have what you need, to Do what you want!
When we are experiencing eating disorders we do so as we have lost sight of our Essence. We identify with our heads and we identify with our bodies and we don’t like either ! For individuals who are experiencing anorexia , they will speak about the voice in their head which tells them they are fat, and constantly berates them if they eat, and congratulates them when they restrict. This is the ego at its best ! When working with females I refer to this as the ‘fake princess’. Fake princess is about control, safety, security and she can only achieve this by you repeating the same behaviours over and over again as this is the certainty she craves. The Real Princess (Soul Self) knows that life is uncertain and accepts this. Fake princess can only function in the past or the future whereas the present moment is the gateway to the Soul.
‘When you are in a fix, remember the fix is in you’
Over thinking, analysis, being head centred instead of heart centred shuts off our natural intuitive wisdom. Your mind is not the problem it is the experience you are having of it. Your body is not the problem it is the experience you are having of it ! Fake princess does not want you to dis-identify with her as this means she is going to lose control so she endeavours to prevent change at all costs. Loss of control = unsafe = fear !
My approach is multi disciplinary and involves using several interventions addressing the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of each individual. The various behaviours exhibited by individuals experiencing eating disorder are viewed as adaptive experiences. This means they started at a time when the individual was finding it had to cope and it served to enable them to do so. I explore the various aspects that are keeping people stuck. I am a firm believer that once I hold the space for the individual, expand their awareness of what’s really going on, and start to explore the Real Issues, this can result in a shift which transforms the way they relate to themselves. This in turn will result in the person wanting to let the eating disorder go.
I do not try and take the eating disorder away, without first learning what needs (values) are being met by it being present and it is up to each individual to let it go when they are good and ready. You cannot take something from someone without first putting something else in place.
My approach involves working with the eating disordered self ( fake princess )and developing compassion as it is the scared, frightened, wounded part of you that knows no other way to be. Even the beast in the fable Beauty and the Beast could not stop being a beast until he was shown Love !
Some Adaptive Functions that ED Behaviour Serves.
- Distracting, numbing, dissociating
- Cry for help through the body
- Identity , structure, predictability
- Regulation of mood (particularly bulimia)
- Self Punishment
- Self Cleansing
- Protection / Safety
- Avoidance of intimacy
These behaviours are Divine sign posts highlighting inner conflict.
They are the symptom not the problem. The problem lies with a disconnection from the Soul Self.
An Overview of Treatment
- Restoration of biochemical functioning where applicable.
- Implementation of coping skills to deal with the psychological and emotional issues. (Awareness)
- Exploration of the adaptive function (purpose) of the behaviour.
- My treatment approach involves helping the individual’s Real Self and ED Self feel accepted, understood and validated.
- While behaviours may be destructive, they need to be legitimised.
- Treatment needs to address what is keeping the individual stuck examples… body/mind over identification, body image, Self Worth, limiting beliefs, feelings, behaviours that have become habitual and are no longer working.
- The Individual is in the driver’s seat and I am holding the map. We collaborate and are taking the journey together.
‘Genes hold the gun, the environment pulls the trigger and spirituality deflects the bullet’
SUZANNE – 087 2056560