There is this idea in the majority of the eating disorder treatment centers that they have a better idea of how to heal eating disordered people than the eating disordered themselves. In many of these places it is thought that the main issue to be resolved is the ending of the compulsive behaviors that make up the symptoms of these illnesses be it over exercising, binge eating or purging or abusing their bodies with over use of laxatives to lose weight. When the patient fails to follow the dictates of those in whose care they are. their privileges are taken away. Though these behaviors do need to be dealt with, taking away privileges given in these programs is never a workable way to have someone aspire to do anything.
My eating disordered clients have taught me that from their perspective they feel as if they are being treated like a bad child, to be disciplined without ever being asked why they are doing what they are. Being left without any say in their own treatment plan makes it more difficult for them to trust in the treatment and in many cases not even care about doing what they have been told is necessary to get well. Once released many relapse into their full blown illness requiring more treatment to have the same unhelpful result as before.
Think about this for a moment. If you have ever had a child you realize that at the age of two they need to have choices as they are figuring out their own individuality. With the majority of those with eating disorders receiving treatment between the ages of 15 and 24 they are also in the stage of life where they are individuating themselves from their parents. With this understanding it is even more important to allow these patients to speak to their concerns while having a say in the treatment they receive if they are to heal. Dismissing that they could possibly be an asset to regaining their own health is a rather unjustified and disruptive tactic to take.
However the behavior is only one piece of the puzzle for even those who have gone through these $2,000/day + programs there is still the problem of the anorexic thinking never having been dealt with. One of the things that I have learned from my client is that one can curb a behavior only to have the mind cluttered with the obsessive thoughts of the illness still in tact still consuming the majority of their time and energy. This is where the majority of programs fail their patients miserably being focused on having their patients merely gain the weight to bring them back to a more healthy state.
My eating disordered clients for the past six years or so have taught me what works for them and why. The first thing that needs to be understood is that though the behaviors they have can create many health issues and emotional problems for them, the “cause” of the eating disorder is the place that the work needs to be centered on, not the presenting problems, unless their health is so compromised that it needs to be the priority.
As we do the work my clients will tell me that they don’t even know why they exist, feeling that they are of no use, with a life that is so hard and in many cases having caused irreversible damage to their young bodies already. They are sick of being seen as manipulative persons without feelings to be understood and dealt with. They are also sick of being told what to do many times without ever being asked what it is that they would like to see happen in their own treatment and in their own lives. This is very sad because the majority of these clients are perfectionist, so much so that one of the things that I teach my clients is that perfection doesn’t exist in the human and to decide that it does for them or anyone who they may interact in is futile. Learning what is “good enough” and accepting others for who they are while creating useful boundaries to help them to feel safe and in control of their lives is what will ultimately help them to be well.
The most important of all aspects of their healing however has little to do with their illness and everything to do with their own compelling future, the reason why they need to exist on this planet. This is where I begin the work with my clients working to help them to understand to live a life that is well lived is the best reason of all to let go of their illness. They are each here for a purpose and once they have a better understanding of this truth, the desire to be well is in place and they are more than willing to do whatever it takes to allow themselves to create the future the way they want it.
Every human being deserves to be respected and listened to. We who are the care givers need to understand this better than most. We would do well to also listen for what may be omitted as well as what is being said between the lines. When we are able to make observations in these realms, it is up to us to run our observations by the client to help them to better understand where their thinking may be getting them into some trouble. This is what we are employed to do especially f the client is not wanting to hear what we have to say. If done with care and respect for the client, amazing changes can occur even to the point where the eating disordered patient can fully let go of their illness leaving it in their past allowing them to use their time and energy for those things that used to make them feel alive and finally with a purpose for being. This is what allows for true healing to happen, a compelling future based on what it is that the patient would like to accomplish in life.
Using hypnosis and NLP techniques a new life can open up in so short a period it is mind altering. However, there is still deep work that needs to be done by the client that at times will be uncomfortable. However to get one’s life back to feel alive again, letting go of all the negativity the short term of discomfort to get to the other side is a rather small price to pay wouldn’t you say?
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Do I have an Eating Disorder? Now What?
Do you suspect that either you or a loved one might be suffering from an Eating Disorder? Find out for sure as well as the best ways to treat Anorexia or Bulimia in “Do I have an Eating Disorder? Now What?”, currently available from the Dawning Visions Hypnosis Store.Do I have an Eating Disorder? Now What?
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