counselling psychotherapy

Jodie

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Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™

In 2017, let me help you transform your relationship with food, body and soul!

eating-psychology-growDo you feel crazy around food?

Are you fed up of dieting? …and fed up of falling off diets?

Do you obsess about good or bad, health or unhealthy food choices?

Do you suffer with comfort, binge, emotional or overeating?

Is your mood dependent on Fitbit or the scales?

Do you fat shame and hate your body?

Do you fantasize about how you will be happy when you lose weight?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions – you are not alone – 81% of 10 year old girls fear being fat and 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat (Tri Delta).

What are Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ sessions?

These sessions are based on a similar format to my SOUL sessions. In 2016, 40 out of 45 were sold out.

Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ can be structured:

  • 1-1 in person or via Skype
  • as an intensive  – over one day or a weekend

What does Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ include?

-You will be guided through a creative visualisation which will focus on your relationship with food, body & soul.

-We will explore experientially how your life energy gets stuck in unhealthy patterns around food & body, and what it is that sabotages or gets in your way of achieving your health and well-being, dreams and goals

-An experience of a guided meditation, a tool that you can continue to use at home

-Getting in touch with your intentions, new ideas, opportunities, hopes, dreams and passions

-Expressing your creativity through the use of art therapy – don’t worry, you don’t have to be Picasso!

-Fostering your authentic self and SOUL qualities such as self-acceptance, self-care, self-compassion and self-love

Who is Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ for?

This program is for anyone who eats and who wants to transform their relationship with food, body & soul.

If you are struggling with anorexia, bulimia, or other complex eating disorder – this program is suitable as a starting point – however – long-term depth psychotherapy is my recommendation for eating disorder recovery.

Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ can help you by:

  • Learning a hopeful, positive, uplifting approach to food and body
  • Exploring what your challenges with food and body are here to teach you
  • Discovering hidden wisdom, secret messages and important connections between food, body and all other areas of your life
  • Learning how to slow-down and listen to your unique body wisdom
  • Aiding your healing and transformational journey around your relationship with food and body
  • Changing your perceptions about nutrition and nourishment, exercise and movement
  • Finding out what it is that you are physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually and spiritually hungry for
  • Experiencing a truly holistic approach; body, mind, heart and SOUL!

Why work with me?

My journey as a Soul-Centred Psychotherapist and Eating Psychology Specialist began with my own struggle and recovery  from food, weight and body image concerns. My biggest frustration – and that of the many women I have worked with over the last 15 years – was finding a specialist or program that was holistic but also grounded in the best that psychology had to offer.

Many programs for food, weight and body image concerns are heavily based in the fitness and diet industry or the medical, illness and disease models. I take a holistic, forward thinking and soulful approach which is based in Psychosynthesis and Dynamic Eating Psychology™ and Mind Body Nutrition™.  

Please head over to my About Jodie  page to read more about my extensive personal and professional experience and training in the eating psychology field.

NB: I take a Health at Every Size approach and I am an approved HAES Australia psychotherapist.

Upcoming dates and availability – Book your session now – this year 40 out of 45 booked out!

If the date you require is taken, please email me as I sometimes have space on Friday during school hours.

January

Saturday 14  – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 21 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 28 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

February

Saturday 4 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 11 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 18 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 25 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

March

Saturday 4 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 25 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

*** April Dates Coming Soon***

Venue

Allambie Heights in person or via Skype (please note Skype are only 1-1 not for small groups)

Public transport is available via the 280 bus from Chatswood to Warringah Mall or the 142 from Manly to the Skyline shops.

Inclusions

Art materials and a journal to take home (not available for Skype)

Preparation

I will email you a questionnaire and provide you with a short reading prior to your session

Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ Packages

For individuals

1 x 2 hour taster session = $299.00

1 x 2 hour session and 2 follow up 50 minute sessions = $579.00 (follow-up sessions can be taken separately or as an intensive over one day)

1 x 2 hour session and 5 follow up 50 minute sessions = $949.00 (follow-up sessions can be taken separately or as an intensive over one day or a weekend)

*Because these sessions are in high demand, payment is required on booking to hold your space*

Book your sessions now!

Image Credit: Institute for the Psychology of Eating

About Jodie

as-seen-in-december-16-pink

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Move Beyond the Brokenness and Connect With the Place That Has Never Been Broken

Image Credit: Iryne R on Flikr

Image Credit: Iryne R on Flickr

I am so excited to share with you my first guest post on Recovery Warriors: Move Beyond the Brokenness and Connect With the Place That Has Never Been Broken.

In this blog, I write about

-how our body is the home for our soul

-our true identity

-the trance of unworthiness

-the call of the soul.

Recovery Warriors are dedicated to boosting the emotional intelligence and resilience of people struggling with depression, anxiety and eating disorders. They believe that no matter what has happened to you, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, that with hope and the right support things will work out. The long road has a purpose. Your story has meaning. Their resources are designed to help you find that meaning.

Image Credit: Iryne R on Flickr

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your package here!

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist,  Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie also works with clients world wide via Skype.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

 

Disordered Eating: A Search for Wholeness Podcast with Lourdes Viado

women-in-depth-episode-9Disordered Eating: A Search for Wholeness Podcast with Lourdes Viado

I am so excited to share this podcast with you.

I was recently interviewed by Women In-Depth host, Lourdes Viado, about disordered eating.

You can subscribe to Women In-Depth: Conversations About the Inner Lives of Women on iTunes.

I hope you enjoy hearing about disordered eating from a soul-centred perspective.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • My private counselling and psychotherapy practice in Sydney
  • How my passion stems from my personal recovery from bulimia
  • Psychosynthesis: the approach I use to heal
  • Eating disorders as a search for wholeness
  • Our attempts to change the body, what’s it really about?
  • Why we need to lose the language around healthy and clean eating
  • What an eating disorder REALLY means
  • Common symptoms of eating disorders
  • The mistake of filling our needs with food or exercise
  • Sub-personalities—find out what they need
  • Dis-identifying from the PARTS/Identifying with the WHOLE self
  • The heart of eating disorders and spiritual needs
  • Recovery: the journey of the soul
  • Spiritual bankruptcy that needs love, compassion, connection, and acceptance
  • Brain changes that happen as the soul heals
  • YOU ARE NOT BROKEN!

Jodie has an eBook in the works – Befriending the Body – be the first to receive a copy FREE when it is released. Sign up here!

Resources mentioned in the podcast:

Emily Rosen, CEO of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating

The Recovery Warrior Podcast with Jessica Raymond

Women, Food & God by Geneen Roth

Eating Disorders: A Search for Wholeness Journal Article by Jodie Gale

If you feel like this content is valuable and you wish to share it with others, please hit one of the share buttons below.  I appreciate any re-tweets or re-posts of this content.

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist,  Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie also works with clients world wide via Skype.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

 

The Assertiveness Guide for Women

assertivenessThe Assertiveness Guide for Women by Julie de Azevedo Hanks

I am so excited about this assertiveness guide for women and I’ll tell you why…

Assertiveness is SO misunderstood! In Julie’s words, “it’s not just about using our words”.

A few years ago I was working for a program where women were told often, “if you are not assertive with family, boyfriends, employers (you get the picture!)… then you will not recover.” The women were taught the formula, told that they had to be assertive and if they weren’t, they were often scolded.

Yes, it is true… to recover from an eating disorder, or other symptom of early childhood trauma (such as addiction), becoming assertive is part of the bigger recovery picture. But…it takes time to build the inner resources needed to be assertive in relationships.

In this Therapy Chat Podcast with Laura Reagan LCSW, I just LOVE the way Julie de Azevedo Hanks PhD talks about assertiveness with such compassion and in relation to our attachment history.

Take a listen to the podcast and then order a copy of the book for yourself – I know I will be!

 

Body Positive Australia: 10 Tips for Body Love

I was excited to attend the Kelloggs Special K #OwnIt Workshop in Sydney with psychotherapist and yoga instructor at Fat Yoga, Sarah Harry and dietitian Fiona Sutherland; together they are Body Positive Australia. These women really know their stuff… and they are totally owning it!

#ownitBPA

Body Positive Australia have been working with Kellogs Special K on their project #OwnIt. It’s great to see the move away from weight loss to the focus on nourishment and health.

Here are my top 10 tips from Body Positive Australia for body love

  1. Remind yourself often – the most interesting thing about you is not what you look like.
  2. Fat is not a feeling. If you are ‘feeling’ fat, ask yourself, ‘what was happening right before you had the thought, ‘I feel fat?’ Invite your feelings to tea – befriend them. Underlying all eating and food challenges, it’s about building a relationship with your feelings (and needs).
  3. Cut down on checking – checking weight, checking in mirrors, checking fat rolls, checking for collar bones, checking measurements, checking calories, checking how clothes fit etc. The underlying work here is about building self-worth and self-compassion.
  4. Stop the fat talk and watch the language you use to describe yourself – is it kind? Show yourself ‘kindfulness’.
  5. Ditch the appearance based comments when greeting others and find other meaningful ways of connecting – this is especially important in front of children.
  6. Image is a construct – you didn’t just decide to hate your body, you were taught to. The underlying work here is about challenging social constructs and unlearning the negative messages you have received and internalised.
  7. You are bombarded with messages that you aren’t good enough so that you will buy diets, gym memberships and beauty products. The underlying work here is about building awareness and discernment.
  8. Change-up who you follow on Instagram – images are powerful and can change the brain for better or worse. It’s important to follow other healthy brains.
  9. Don’t wait until you are thin to live the life you desire. Start living now.
  10. Draw your attention inwards and take time to be in the body – it is your true home.

Thanks Kellogs and Body Positive for a great day and fab gift bags!

#ownitworkshop

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

10 Tips for Mindful Eating

In eating psychology, we see that it’s important to explore why we eat, what to eat, when to eat and how to eat.

How do you eat?

What does your food taste like? Do you like the taste?

What does it feel like in your mouth?

Do you eat slow or so fast that you miss the food you are eating? (Often resulting in eating more than your body needs).

Here is a great 10 step mindfulness exercise via Headspace to help you to eat mindfully (follow the link for the full exercise).

mindfuleating1

mindfuleatingappreciate

mindfuleatingfocus

mindfuleatingtaste

mindfuleatingnotice

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

Embodiment: Our Body As Home

Womanembodiment

Welcome to my guest blogger series women and the body.

This post is by Toni Jackson.

Toni is a psychotherapist, counsellor and creative therapist in Fremantle and Mundaring, who specialises in working with women around the issues of self-worth, anxiety, body image and personal power. She is a certified Gestalt Therapist, with a BA Psychology and a Grad. Dip. Women’s Studies.  Toni has a strong interest in the areas of trauma and eating disorders and uses both body awareness and art therapy in her work.

Embodiment: Our Body As Home

“Inhabiting the body develops a sense of self-possession, and a sense of there being ‘someone at home’.”  Judith Blackstone

Embodiment

When we inhabit our body, we have a felt sense of being in our body and of actually being our body.  As Somatic Psychotherapist Judith Blackstone describes it, when we are embodied, rather than living in our heads, we have the sense of “existing everywhere in [our] body at once.”  Our experience of our own body, becomes a self experience.  For this to occur, we need to become just as sensitive to our bodily sensations – our insides –  as we are to our thoughts and our outer experiences.  To be embodied, is to be conscious and aware of the whole of ourselves – our body, our mind, our emotions and our soul.

In most western cultures, our understanding of the various aspects of ourselves have been separated and compartmentalised. We live in a society and an era where it is considered normal and appropriate to live outside the wisdom and experience of our own bodies. Most of us live in a fast-paced world where our thoughts and our outward appearance are valued well above the rest of ourselves. When we habitually attribute more importance to certain parts of ourselves than others, we are not living as our whole selves, and those neglected parts of us suffer.

Living in Our Body

If you consider it now, how much time do you spend in your body? This may seem like a strange question at first, however, many of us are prone to spend the majority of our time in our heads.  Our thinking, and being with our thoughts, is for most, our dominant way of being.  We have become very good at rationalising and controlling ourselves with our thinking – listening to our thoughts and ignoring what our bodies have to say.  For example, we may feel unwell, but still go to work; we may feel hungry, but we tell ourselves we don’t need to eat; we may have tight shoulders from stress and yet we continue on as if it doesn’t matter.

What if we stopped and listened? What if we slowed down long enough to hear ourselves?  To listen to how we truly feel, in our bodies?

“Our language encourages the distinction between body and “I”, we have no single word that allows us to say, “I-body”. At the most, we might say “my body” in much the same way we might refer to “my car”, implying that one’s body is property but certainly not self.  Our language supports the notion that our body is an object: something that happens to me, rather than the “me that is happening.” Ruella Frank & Frances La Barre

Often when we do pay attention to our body, we experience it through our thoughts and opinions, rather than through our inner sense. For example, we might look in the mirror and decide our belly is too round.  Very rarely in this situation, do we experience our belly from the inside.  More often, we see it with our thoughts – with our prejudices and our self-critic.  We may decide we need to exercise more, eat less, or eat only green beans.  It is not our body telling us these things, but our thoughts.  That is, our thoughts, informed by how we think we ‘should’ look; our thoughts informed by our own external gaze of our body.  But where are we in this scenario?

“We tend to think of body as this ‘other’ that does its thing somewhat without us, and that if we ’treat’ it right, it will make us ‘feel good’. Many people treat their bodies as if the body is a slave, or perhaps they even treat it well but demand it follow their wishes and whims as though it were a slave none the less.”  Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Disembodiment – Reasons we leave our selves

If as a child or adolescent, we received messages from others that our needs were not important, that we were not enough, or were too much, or if we were shamed or abused or experienced trauma, there is a good chance we learned to leave our body as a way of coping with the painful feelings we experienced. Often, we take these same coping strategies with us into adulthood.  We may leave our body in an attempt to make ourselves ‘invisible’, or less ‘seen’ or because we are experiencing emotions that feel too big, scary or overwhelming. Some signs we have disassociated from ourselves are: feeling spacy, vague or confused.  By leaving our body, we are more easily able to block our feelings. This can be an extremely useful coping mechanism when we feel unsafe or trapped.  However, when we are largely unaware of our bodily selves for extended periods of time, we lose touch with who we are.  When we do not know how we truly feel, deep within ourselves, it can be difficult to know what we need and want, or to be able to get those needs met.

How we block emotions

We hold our emotions in our body – in our hearts, our guts, our bellies. Numbing ourselves to our body, also numbs ourselves to our emotional feelings. Some people speak of pushing their feelings down, or away; of swallowing their feelings; of running from their feelings. We may numb our physical body with alcohol, drugs, or food; or we may try to leave ourselves behind with excessive amounts of exercise, sex, shopping, gambling or television.  Some people hide from themselves through keeping constantly busy and distracted with work, social media or socialising – never allowing themselves time alone.  All of these behaviours keep us from feeling our feelings and from being in our body.  When we do this, we are increasingly more and more focused outward, rather than inward.

Getting to know our whole self again

There is so much joy to be found in being fully present to our bodily selves. Deep body awareness can be a bridge to our soul.  So how do we begin to get back in touch with our body?  Following are some exercises designed to explore our relationship with our body.

Trigger warning:  The following exercises may not be for everybody.  For some of us, it can initially be very scary to be in our body.  Particularly if in the past, it was safer to leave the body.  However, once we begin to slowly explore being in our bodies, it can feel safer and more solid and grounding than not being in our body.  Living in our body provides us with a natural boundary between ourselves and the rest of the world.  Having said that, these exercises can be deceptively powerful.  Go slow with yourself.  If you begin to feel distressed, unsafe or overwhelmed, please stop the exercise and focus on your surroundings (what can you see, hear, smell and feel around you?).  Take some long, slow, deep breaths and think about a person or place that makes you feel safe and calm.  Call someone if you need to.

Body in space

How do you experience your body in space – in your environment? How do you hold your body posture?  Without moving, notice how you’re holding yourself right now.  Do you allow yourself to take up space?  Or do you keep yourself small?  What do you notice about your particular body-in-space habits? What does it feel like to notice how your body exists in space?  Maybe you’d like to experiment with how you hold yourself.  You can do this by either exaggerating how you naturally hold yourself, or by doing the opposite.

For example, if you tend to protect the front of your body (hunched shoulders, arms crossed), try first exaggerating this posture. Really hunch over, bunker down, wrap your arms right around yourself.  Take the time to notice how you feel in this position.  Now, try the opposite.  Open yourself up – push your chest out, open your arms wide, put your shoulders back and hold your face up.  Notice how you feel now.  Relax back into a natural-feeling posture.  From doing this exercise, what did you notice about yourself and how you take up space?  Take care not to judge or criticise yourself – the exercise is simply about becoming more aware of yourself – there is no right or wrong way to be.

Felt sense

Felt sense is a deep, visceral awareness, from inside our body, of the sensations we experience in our body, in the present moment.

Sit or lie somewhere comfortable, where you won’t be disturbed.

Close your eyes and take a few long, slow, deep breaths in and out.

Feel the weight of your body touching the chair, floor, or bed. Feel your clothes against your skin, and the air on the exposed parts of you.

Bring your awareness into your body. Right into your body.  To start this process, I often begin by looking at the inside of my eyelids.  For me, this really gives me a sense that I am indeed, in my body.  I then spread that awareness to other parts of my bodily self.

Notice how it feels to be in your body – from the inside, rather than from the outside looking in.  Rather than from the perspective of your thoughts, experience your self from the perspective of your feeling.  Keep breathing.  Take some time to explore your whole body, from the inside.  What do you notice?  Are there areas of your body you avoid?  Are there parts of you that seem unremarkable?  Are there parts you are drawn to?

As you slow down and pay attention to yourself, you may become aware of parts of you that feel: hot, cold, tingly, numb, tense, painful, loose, soft, hard, furry, spiky, a particular colour, small, large, itchy, fast, slow, rough, smooth, solid, airy, empty, full, or something else. Spend some time exploring these different parts of yourself.  Try describing each sensation in as much detail as possible.

If you come across a part of you that feels scared, or overwhelmed, please send it some love if you can and move your awareness to a neutral or positive part of yourself. Breathe.

It is important to take your time. As you slow yourself down, you may notice increasingly subtle sensations.  It’s okay to move in this exercise if you feel the need.  For example, if your legs feel like kicking, or your head feels like turning, or you want to wrap your arms around yourself, do that.  As we begin to listen to ourselves on a deeper level, we often find we have needs that we were not aware of.  Listen to and trust yourself.

Body wisdom – listening to your body

Listen to your body. What does it want to tell you?  Sit quietly for a moment, close your eyes and take a few long, slow, deep breaths.  Are there any parts of you that you seem especially drawn to?  That pain in your knee/stomach/neck?  What is it trying to tell you?  You could ask it. “Hey neck, is there anything you’d like to tell me?”  Then really listen to what that part of you has to say.  Maybe it says, “You work too hard” or “I’m worried about such-and-such” or “Why do you ignore me?”.  Once we allow ourselves to stop, be quiet and listen to our own selves, what we hear can be truly remarkable.  However, we so rarely give ourselves the time and space to do this.  The messages of our “I-body” are drowned out by our constant thinking and doing.  I understand that some of you may feel a bit ‘silly’ asking your elbow if it has anything to say.  But why is that?  Why should we feel silly about listening to our whole self?  My guess is that it’s our rational, adult mind that thinks it’s silly to listen to our body.  But our rational, adult mind is only one part of us.  There is infinite wisdom to be found in our playful side, in our body, in our creativity, in our dreaming and in our emotional and bodily feelings.

Activities to bring you into your body

If you are interested in exploring other ways to really feel and consciously be in your body, here are some further suggestions:

Yoga.

No Lights No Lycra.

Floatation tanks.

Massage.

Tai chi.

Qi gong.

For further support, you may wish to see a body-centred, or soul-centred psychotherapist or other health care professional. This article provides general information and cannot respond to the needs of specific individuals.

Image Credit: Canstock

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

Embrace – the Documentary: One Woman’s Journey to Inspire everyBODY

“Lose weight, reduce wrinkles, fight cellulite; we’re constantly told to fight a battle to be someone other than who we are. Women and girls are constantly lead to believe they’re not as good as they should be. And why? Because every day they feel they’re being judged on their appearance and how far away it is from an unachievable ideal.” Embrace – the Documentary

embrace

As part of the Sydney Film Festival, I went to see the world premiere of Embrace: One Woman’s Journey to Inspire everyBODY.

Embrace is produced by Taryn Brumfitt, who founded the Body Image Movement, a global campaign to help women find the value and power of loving their bodies from the inside out. Taryn shot to fame after posting her before and after photo on social media.

o-TARYN-BRUMFITT-570

The Body Image Movement has the following philosophy,

They say no to…

  • Excessive “Photoshopping” of body images in the media
  • Being programmed by the media and corporations into accepting unrealistic body images
  • Prescribing to the notion that being a certain weight determines whether you’re healthy
  • Sexualisation of girls in the media and modern culture
  • The objectification of women
  • Society and advertising preying on women’s insecurities

And they say yes to…

  • Body diversity and embracing all body types, shapes, sizes, colours and revelling in the beauty of the human form
  • Celebrating the journey our bodies have been on
  • Giving an alternative to cosmetic surgery, and learning to live and love your body
  • Growing old, and acknowledging the privilege to do so
  • Women focusing on things that are important, rather than comparing ourselves to others
  • Teaching women that their body is not an ornament, but a vehicle to their dreams
  • Teaching women to arm themselves with the skills which will make them resilient and unshakable when bombarded with negative body image in the media
  • Being healthy at every weight

About Embrace – the Documentary

“When body image activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photograph in 2013, it was seen by more than 100 million worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. In her forceful debut, Brumfitt continues her crusade exploring the global issue of body loathing. She travels the world to interview an impressive range of women about their attitudes to their bodies, including: Mia Freedman, the youngest ever editor of the Australian edition of Cosmopolitan; Emmy Award-winning television presenter Ricki Lake; Adelaide researcher Professor Marika Tiggemann; UK talk show host/photographer Amanda de Cadenet; body image blogger Jes Baker (a.k.a. The Militant Baker); and motivational speaker Turia Pitt.”  Sydney Film Festival

Just as the blurb reads, Embrace is,

“funny, touching, at times gut-wrenching but above all, life changing…”

Embrace highlights how body loathing and body shaming have reached epic proportions worldwide. As a psychotherapist who has worked with women with eating disorders and other food, weight and body image concerns for over 15 years, I couldn’t agree more. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours historically associated with women suffering with diagnosable eating disorders have increasingly crept their way into the majority of women’s lives.

Embrace is such an important resource – it offers hope to those who suffer with food, weight and body image concerns and education to those in the health, diet and exercise industries. It is essential viewing for anyone who fat shames self and/or others!

Don’t miss this film! Check out upcoming dates in Australia and the US & please share this short of Embrace to help create positive global change.

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Eating Psychology Specialist + Transformational Life-Coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie also works with clients world wide via Skype.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Bupa Blog Awards Nominee 2016

bupaawards2016 Bupa Blog Awards

I am excited to announce that I am a Bupa Blog Awards Nominee.

The Bupa Blog Awards is all about celebrating bloggers and influencers who are making a difference in health and care for their online communities.

Key dates

  • 10 Jun 16 Entry closes
  • 4 Jul 16 Finalists announced
  • 1 Aug 16 People’s Choice voting opens to the public
  • 31 Aug 16 People’s Choice voting closes
  • 1 Sep 16 Winners are announced

Check out Bupa’s latest tips for eating well and staying healthy this winter.

x Jodie

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Eating Psychology Specialist + Transformational Life-Coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie also works with clients world wide via Skype.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

How An Abusive Relationship Can Impact Your Self-Esteem & Self-Image.

isadoraduncanquoteWelcome to my guest blogger series women and the body.

This post is by Alison Howarth, owner of Penrith Counselling.

Alison has been a counsellor for women in domestic violence for over eighteen years. She believes passionately in women living free and joy-filled lives.

Alison has spoken at National and International Conferences about her research into the impacts of domestic violence, and her research articles can be found at Australian Policy Online. She supports and nurtures women with strengths based counselling, narrative therapy and mindfulness based cognitive therapy. Alison is a member of the Australian Counselling Association.

Self Esteem in an Abusive Relationship

In this article I’m going to explore how the dynamics of an abusive relationship can severely impact a woman’s self-esteem and self-image. While I am aware that men can experience different forms of domestic violence, my work is with female survivors of domestic violence so my writing is gendered to reflect that.

So what is domestic violence? There seems to be a lot of confusion about that, especially amongst the women who are experiencing it. Heartbreakingly, women have said things to me like “Well, he hasn’t put me in hospital, so I don’t think it’s that serious,” or “I don’t think it’s domestic violence because he hasn’t hit me in years.” In fact, an abusive relationship is a relationship with an intense power imbalance and where you feel unsure, helpless, emotionally unsafe, or trapped. An abusive relationship is one in which you are regularly blamed, ridiculed, or made to feel stupid or fat or ugly or (insert shame-word here).

The Dynamics of Domestic Violence

Of course, these feelings and dynamics take time to develop. The beginning of an abusive relationship will start out like any other. Many women wonder why they didn’t realise from the start that it would turn bad. But, unless you are superwoman with psychic abilities, there is usually no way to tell. An abuser will not come with a warning label! No abuser is going to tell you on the first date: “Oh hi, my name is Harry and within about 6 months I’ll be treating you like crap.” You’d run a mile right? It never, ever happens like that. In the beginning everything is roses and moonbeams. And when the abuse does start, it starts with tiny little steps. The first sign of abuse won’t be a black eye or a screaming tirade. It will be something completely excusable like a flattering jealousy, or a seemingly tender need to track your daily whereabouts or monitor your shopping habits.

When the first barbs do begin sliding in, they too will be phrased in such an ambiguous way that it is very difficult to pinpoint, even with the benefit of hindsight, where or when the abuse actually started. This is a story of manipulation, and manipulation is at the heart and centre of abusive relationships. The most manipulative of abusers will use your own fears and doubts against you, and sadly, it is often these fears and doubts which drive the fluctuations of self-esteem. Indeed, one of the first casualties of an abusive relationship is the woman’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

The Individuality of Self Esteem

So, what are self-esteem and self-image? I guess we all have slightly different definitions. I believe that self-esteem and self-image are linked at fundamental levels. My self-esteem is influenced by, and does influence, my self-image. There is a core level of self-esteem which is my base line but from that base line my self-esteem is a beastie that can fluctuate up and down, sometimes a little and sometimes an awful lot, depending on what is driving the change. These fluctuations are internally driven by my reactions to something going on in my world.

One of the most damaging influences on our self-esteem is our own inner shame voice. This voice is the one that says to us “You aren’t good enough.” It’s the voice that holds us back from being our best person, scares us from striving to reach outside the box, tells us that we won’t succeed so why try? In an abusive relationship the perpetrator is also the inner shame voice made manifest in your world. The message can be seductive, infuriating and helpless making. And always damaging to your self-esteem.

The three things that help shame thrive are secrecy, silence and judgement – and these are the hallmarks of an abusive relationship. The most common emotion of a woman in domestic violence is shame and shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and suicide. All of which makes her more vulnerable to the manipulative tactics of the abuser. It is one of the nastiest vicious cycles in the world.

So if your world is dominated by a partner who shames you, ridicules you, makes you question your decisions and capabilities ….. how robust do you think your self-esteem could be? Particularly when the abuse is coming from a person who will later that day, or week, profess love, support and kindness (while sneaking in a little emphasis of your faults and perhaps planting a seed of doubt that no one else ever would want you.) And if you have a vulnerability such as existing trauma, childhood abuse, mental health issues, or problems with substance abuse then the abuser has a ready-made target to aim for. And no matter how many gains you have made in your life in regard to those vulnerabilities he will hurl them at you as further proof of your imperfection and his amazingness in putting up with you at all. The dynamics of the abusive relationship are such that it is in the abuser’s best interest to keep his partner feeling as worthless and powerless as possible.

Feeling of worthlessness and powerlessness are hugely correlated with depression, anxiety and a low self-esteem. Low self-esteem in the context of domestic violence often translates as the woman feeling ugly, stupid, fat, lazy – body-image is one of the favourite targets of abusers. While a woman may know intellectually that she isn’t fat or ugly or stupid, the driver of body-image is emotions, and in an abusive relationship these are under the manipulative control of the abuser. Self-esteem and body-image become drowned in thoughts and emotions of worthlessness. All of which make it even harder to leave the abusive relationship.

Recovery from an abusive relationship

However, when a woman has reached the point where she can’t take the manipulation and abuse anymore she will usually leave the relationship. This is an incredibly difficult and brave thing to do because she must fight not only his psychological tactics of fear and intimidation, but also her inner shame voice which has been reinforced and strengthened by him over the span of the relationship. It is as much a victory over self as it is over the abuser. For many women recovery from the abuse is halting and suffers the setbacks of self-doubt, self-anger and fear of retaliation. It isn’t easy to throw off the chains created by years of psychological harm, but please believe me that it can be done.

You have the strength and power to find your own self again, that inner spark that is so unique and special in this world. You can find your own path, your own light. You can embrace life again; the common place and everyday details that are yours to enjoy in freedom.

If you are struggling with any of the concerns mentioned in this article, contact Alison or a therapist in your area who specialises in domestic violence.

About Jodie

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Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Eating Psychology Specialist + Transformational Life-Coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie also works with clients world wide via Skype.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

 

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