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How to stick with our New Year’s resolutions – it takes more than strong will!

New Year's Resolutions (600x347)How to stick with our New Year’s resolutions – it takes more than strong will!

As one year ends and another starts – it is a universal time for reflecting on the past, the present and the future. Many of us are making New Year’s resolutions, setting intentions, reflecting on that which brings us value, meaning and purpose in life, fostering new qualities and pondering how to be with – and bring into being – new ideas, opportunities, hopes, dreams, passions and visions for the year ahead.   It is also a time to consider making healthy changes and focusing on redirecting our energy away from cycles of that which no longer serves us.

In ‘The Body Project’, Joan Brumberg writes that New Year’s resolutions have changed over time. Historically, when young women made resolutions, they focused more on good work, such as a resolve to improve internal character and to become less self-centred and more helpful.  Body image, diet, and desired material possessions were rarely mentioned. Increasingly, many New Year’s resolutions have tended to focus more towards the external; often being superficial and appearance orientated. The typical young woman’s resolution is now focused on good looks: improving body, hairstyle, makeup, and clothing. This is not only typical of young women but for many people.

Rather than setting intentions from this place, if we want to make long lasting change in our lives, we need to redirect our focus from the external, to becoming more present to our internal world and committing wholeheartedly to our authentic self.

Which part of us is making the New Year’s resolution – the false self or the authentic self?

Typically, intentions made about our appearance and desires are ego centred and come from what we call in psychology – the false self. Making unconscious choices and setting intentions from this part of ourselves is bound to result in failure and disappointment.

For example:

If we are caught in a cycle of yo yo dieting, binge eating, or over exercising we might make the following New Year’s resolution:

I look fat and fat is bad. I will stick to my diet, I will exercise every day and I will lose 10 kgs in 5 weeks. Then I will be happy!

Someone caught in a cycle of thinking that ‘things’ will make them happy might have the following New Year’s resolution:

I am going to read ‘The Secret’ and follow the ‘Law of Attraction’ so that I can get out of debt, get rich and buy whatever I want. Then I will be happy.

Resolutions made from the false self serve to fuel the ego, not the authentic self. In order to stick to these kind of resolutions, we often employ and tyrannize ourselves with a harsh inner critic or inner perfectionist – both fuelled by a ‘Victorian’ and punitive style of will. There are two major problems here. Firstly, the goal might be what we want but is it what we need? Secondly, when we find ourselves losing commitment, we lack empathy and compassion for ourselves, resulting in feeling like a failure (once again!).

When making New Year’s resolutions, it is wise to consider, ‘is this really what I need right now?’ If we look at both of the above from the authentic self’s perspective, it is more productive to redirect the focus from a false self desire  – to be skinny or rich – towards a focus on building a strong sense of self-worth.  A side effect of having good self-worth is often a change in career where we begin to earn what we are worth and participate in a more balanced way of eating and exercising because we care about our health and well-being.

If we are experiencing an existential or other life crisis – using food, shopping, relationships or other addictive substances to make us feel better, may in fact exacerbate the crisis. Filling emotional, existential or spiritual needs with superficial and material ones will not work – they only postpone the existing problem. In today’s society, we have more than we need and yet many of us are still unhappy. Buying more or shifting the furniture around – are not the answers. Being with and exploring our suffering is.

For those of us that are free enough to make New Year’s resolutions from the authentic self, we need to consider that whilst one part of us might plan to find balance with our eating, drinking or spending for well-being reasons – there may be another part of us that can’t yet say no to food, alcohol or spending. We need to get to know the conflicting parts inside of us as well as their motivations in order to make healthy long lasting change.

Change requires more than strong will

When we make New Year’s resolutions, we often believe that all it takes is strong will or will power. Will power is often viewed as having self-control over our undesirable habits and behaviours. A thorough exploration of the will has been largely neglected in modern psychology. Roberto Assagioli, a leading influence in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology suggests that we need to develop the various types of will (1999):

Strong will – this is the will that most of us are familiar with. If you feel that you are lacking strong will, try this visualisation: Imagine yourself being in possession of strong will. What does it look like? What does strong will mean to you? See yourself walking with a firm and determined step, acting in every situation with decision. Spend some time each day visualising yourself in this way.

Skilful will – is about developing the strategy which is most effective and which involves the greatest economy of effort, rather than the strategy which is most direct and obvious. For example, by focusing and developing our self-worth, we feel better about ourselves. We are then free to choose work that pays more and we eat in a more balanced way. Overall, we make healthier choices which are more likely to bring about long-lasting change. A good practise here is the development of a loving internal voice instead of a tyrannical, harsh and critical one.   Ultimately, the development of skilful will requires us to have good psychological hygiene by ridding ourselves of those things which are toxic to our psychological well-being.

Goodwill – or the ‘will to do good’. Historically psychology has focused on the individual. We need to consider that each of us is an important part of the whole. Assagioli suggests that anyone who fails to take their relationships with others and the whole into consideration will inevitably arouse reactions and conflicts. These often defeat our intended goals. He recommends that we discipline ourselves by choosing aims that are consistent with the welfare of others and the common good of humanity. Good will is ultimately about eliminating selfishness and self-centeredness by practising understanding, acceptance, empathy and love for ourselves and others.

(NB: if we have neglected ourselves by people pleasing, rescuing or caretaking others it may be important to spend some time learning to say no and redirecting our care inwards. This should always be placed within the context of building a healthy sense of self as part and service of, the wider whole).

Transpersonal will

Transpersonal will is an expression of the transpersonal, higher or spiritual Self. This will comes in the form of a ‘pull’ or a ‘call’. Beauty, altruism and selfless devotion to a cause such as charity, vegetarianism or caring for the environment can be expressions of transpersonal will. This is also about transcendence and self-realisation. The practise here is about shushing the busy mind and listening for that quiet, soulful, authentic voice inside. Heed the call, the psyche has a habit of calling and pulling us towards growth and realisation. The call or the pull can come with gentle persistence or may arrive at our door in the form of a peak experience or a transformational life crisis.

Love and will

Achieving our goals and making healthy life choices requires a balance of love (feminine energy) and will (masculine energy).

Assagioli writes, “The danger of untempered will is that it lacks heart. We see, and used to see especially in Victorian times, the operation of a cold, stern, and even cruel will. On the other hand, love without will can make an individual…over emotional, and ineffectual…One of the principal causes of today’s disorders is the lack of love on the part of those who have will and the lack of will in those who are good and loving. This points unmistakably to the urgent need for integration, the unification of love [feminine energy] and will [masculine energy](1999).”

Above we looked at the different types of will. But what about love?

Love for oneself – in pursuit of our goals, are we being loving and kind or are we being puritanical and tyrannical towards ourselves?

Love for other human beings – in pursuit of our goals, are we being kind and loving in our relationships with partners, family, friends and colleagues?

Love for the environment – in pursuit of our goals, are we being kind and loving to the environment and other living creatures?

Assagioli suggests that to love well – it calls for “all that is demanded by the practice of any art, indeed of any human activity, namely, an adequate measure of discipline, patience and persistence. All of these we have seen to be qualities of the will.”

In order to bring about change, reach our New Year’s resolutions, find value meaning and purpose in our lives, foster new qualities and bring into being, new ideas, opportunities, hopes, dreams, passions and visions we need to cultivate our capacity and find balance between love (being) and will (doing). This requires us to have a vision for the future but to stay present to the process and the deeper essence of who we are – the authentic self.

Coming soon: Creating a vision board

Let me help you reach your goals. Book in for one of my super popular ***SOUL sessions*** or ***Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ *** packages.

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!

Let me help you heal – sign up here to be on my list and be the first to receive my new ebook as soon as it is released in 2017. 

 

 

Season’s Greetings from Jodie Gale Counselling & Psychotherapy

Season’s Greetings

As of today, I am on holidays from my social media pages and clients until the New Year.

Thanks for following Mindful Women in 2012. The community is on its way to 600 people – amazing having started the page from scratch earlier this year.

As the New Year approaches, many of us are thinking about where we have come from this year, where we are now and where we would like to go – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.  Look out for my blog in the New Year on creating life balance.

 

New Year Counselling, Life Coaching & Psychotherapy Bookings

Please feel free to email any booking inquiries for the New Year – the first available appointment is on Saturday, January 12.

Also, check out my ‘Life Your Life on Purpose’ life coaching sessions – they are perfect for consciously moving into the New Year.

Warm regards, Jodie

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

Eating Disorders and Body Image: Psychosynthesis Disidentification Meditation (Body, Feelings, Mind)

Eating Disorders and Body Image: Psychosynthesis Disidentification Meditation (Body, Feelings, Mind)

This meditation was devised by Roberto Assagioli and is in his book, Psychosynthesis (1969). It is now widely used in mindfulness based therapies including ACT: Acceptance Committment Therapy. It should take about 20 minutes. This meditation is useful for fostering and observing, authentic self and helps to move away from being overly identified with body, feelings or mind and thoughts.

Put your body in a comfortable and relaxed position, and slowly take a few deep breaths. Then make the following affirmation, slowly and thoughtfully:

I have a body and l am not my body. My body may find itself in different conditions of health or sickness, it may be rested or tired, but that has nothing to do with my self, my real I. I value my body as my precious instrument of experience and of action in the outer world, but it is only an instrument. I treat it well, I seek to keep it in good health, but it is not myself. I have a body and I am not my body.

I have feelings and I am not my feelings. My feelings are diverse, changing, sometimes contradictory. They may swing from love to hatred, from calm to anger, from joy to sorrow, and yet my essence—my true nature—does not change. ‘I’ remain. Though a wave of feeling may temporarily submerge me, I know that it will pass in time; therefore I am not this feeling. Since I can observe and understand my feelings, and then gradually learn to direct, utilize, and integrate them harmoniously, it is clear that they are not my self. I have feelings and I am not my feelings.

I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts. My mind is a valuable tool of discovery and expression, but it is not the essence of my being. Its contents are constantly changing as it embraces new ideas, knowledge, and experience. Sometimes my mind refuses to obey me. Therefore, it cannot be me, my self. I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts.

Who am I then if I am not my body, feelings or mind  I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will. This is the permanent factor in the ever-varying flow of my personal life. It is that which gives me a sense of being, of permanence, of inner balance. I affirm my identity with this centre and realize its permanency and its energy. I realize that from this centre of true identity I can learn to observe, direct, and harmonize all of my psychological processes including my body, feelings and mind. I choose to achieve a constant awareness of this fact in the midst of my everyday life, and to use it to help me and give increasing meaning and direction to my life.

As a shorter version

I have a body and I am not my body

I have feelings and I am not my feelings

I have a mind and I am not my mind

I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will.

NB: Some psychosynthesis practitioners prefer to use ‘more than’ instead of ‘not’. I use both. If you are a Psychosynthesis practitioner, feel free to comment below regarding ‘more than’ or ‘not’.

Self Reflection

Which aspect were you most identified with?

Is there one part that you barely know?

How could you build a better relationship with these 3 aspects?

What was it like to realize that you are a centre of pure awareness, love and will…and not in fact your body, your feelings or your mind/thoughts?

This is a powerful exercise. You may want to find a psychotherapist experienced in this kind of meditation to help you work through an over identification with the various parts of who you are.

Alternative meditations

You can change this to suit any area of your life that you wish to separate and disidentify from.

For example:

I have a mother and I am not my mother

I have work and I am not my work

I have an eating disorder and I am not my eating disorder

I have things and I am not my things

I have a victim subpersonality and I am not my victim subpersonality

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

About Jodie

Jodie Gale MA Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy, Dip Therapeutic Counselling, CMPanzA, CMCAPA has a wealth of personal and professional knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders.  Her experience includes a Master’s thesis on eating disorders titled ‘Call off the Search: Eating Disorders a Symptom of Psychospiritual Crisis’ (you can read an excerpt here), post graduate training in addiction and ‘women’s business’, work experience in the ‘Eating Disorder Unit’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Eating Disorders Foundation (now part of The Butterfly Foundation) and Women’s Health NSW. She is an ‘approved service provider’ for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

Body Image & Eating Disorders: Stop the Fat Talk

Body Image & Eating Disorders: Stop the Fat Talk

 Tri Delta Fat Stats

54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.

81% of 10 year old girls fear being fat.

10 million women in the US are suffering with anorexia and bulimia. This is more than with breast cancer.

1 in 3 Australian females cite body image as their major concern (Mission Australia Youth Survey, 2010).

My Fat Talk Journey

I remember the first time I fat talked – I was 5. For the school photo, I stood next to the ‘fat’ boy so that no-one would notice how fat I was. The next fat talk etched in my memory was at 8 when I put a t-shirt on to go swimming in our backyard pool – I didn’t want anyone to see my fat body. I wasn’t even fat. On both occasions, I was a normal weighted young girl. 20 years of food issues, yo-yo dieting and body/self-hatred followed.

I was fortunate enough at 27 to find a psychotherapist who specialised in disordered eating and body image issues. Over time, I worked through my chronic low self-worth and self-loathing. It was a long journey back to health and well-being. It was also the start of my journey to become a psychotherapist and what Jung called, a ‘wounded healer’. Through my own experience, I now help women transform the way they feel and think about body and self.

Nowadays, I practise being compassionate and kind to myself. I no longer excessively exercise to burn calories as I did for most of my 20s and 30s. Rather, I swim regularly because I enjoy being held by the water. I have redirected my focus from a torturous longing to be skinny to being healthy and accepting of every size.

Internalized Images and the Inner Critic

Recently I went Christmas shopping online for a doll for my 3 year old daughter.  I felt overwhelmed with fear as I searched for one that did not have insect sized legs and a size 0 waist.   Although I don’t subscribe to measuring BMIs, from a medical perspective – if Barbie were a human being, her BMI would be 16.24 and would therefore fit the weight criteria for medically diagnosed anorexia.

Internalized images from children’s dolls and the media are in no way solely responsible for society’s eating and body image issues. But…they do make up part of our critical inner voice. What hope do women and girls have when the majority of dolls on the market and the images we are bombarded with, mirror such distorted and unhealthy body sizes. Fat talk reinforces these unrealistic beauty ideals.

Fat talking to ourselves and with friends and family doesn’t just affect women and girls suffering with eating disorders. Unfortunately, fat talk has become a part of our everyday lives. Due to the widespread use of technology, even third world countries are no longer immune.

If we are stuck in fat talk, it frequently starts on waking as we look in the mirror and get ready for the day. The mirror and/or the scales become a harsh critic that determines what kind of day we will have. A single pound can start a tirade of punitive, self-abuse that can torment us until the next weigh in when hopefully we have lost it again.

The crazy thing is, ‘I am fat’ cannot even be; Roberto Assagioli suggests that this is psychologically, grammatically incorrect. ‘I’ (self) cannot be fat! The ‘I’ is the essence of who we are. At the core – we are whole, unbroken, beauty, love and ultimately, a spark of the Divine (or nature, goodness, oneness if that fits better for you!).   Our work is to realise this.

Fat Talk Visualisation – Would you fat talk to a child the way you fat talk to yourself?

If you are willing, close your eyes and imagine yourself standing with a young child, perhaps 7 or 8 years old. Now say to her in your best fat talk tone,

‘You are fat’

‘You are disgusting’

‘You can’t wear that’

‘No you can’t go to the party because you look too fat’

How do you feel when you talk to the child in this way? You wouldn’t dare say this to a child. Yet…every time you fat talk to yourself, you are being self-critical and hard on yourself. Often what follows is a binge, a starvation diet or excessive exercise to soothe or punish yourself even further.

Now try this version in a loving and compassionate tone,

‘I love and accept you just as you are’

‘You have so many wonderful qualities’

‘Your body is sacred and you keep it in balance’

‘What does your body need right now – sleep, food, to dance, a swim?’

Now how do you feel? Can you feel the difference? If not, keep practising, it takes some time to shift a strong inner critical voice.

About Fat Talk Free Week

Fat talk free week was conceived by Tri Delta. Check out their 2012 youtube clip about Fat Talk Free Week.

What Can We Do To Eradicate Fat Talk?

Following are some suggestions to help you on your journey. Start with small steps…

Fat-Talk

  • Change the conversation we have with ourselves and others. Friends don’t let their friends fat talk – be a friend (Tri Delta)
  • If you are a mother (or a father), you are the biggest influence in your little girl’s life – lose the fat talk – she will learn it and internalize it from you

 Stop Dieting & Weighing

  • If you are dieting or excluding whole food groups such as carbohydrates – bring balance back into your life by eating all food groups in moderation
  • NEVER put a child on a diet. Instead, eat wholesome meals together and become active as a family
  • Ditch the household scales. If you must own some, buy the pink fluffy ones that tell you how wonderful you are
  • Stop watching TV shows that you use to torture yourself e.g. Weight loss shows where overweight people are tyrannized for being fat, encouraged to binge eat for temptation and excessively exercise

Mindfulness

  • Learn how to eat mindfully
  • Learn mindfulness meditation to help you to accept ‘what is’
  • Practise Roberto Assagioli’s ‘Body Feelings Mind’ Meditation (see my upcoming post)

Finding Balance

  • Become curious about and promote health at every size
  • Focus on uniqueness rather than comparison
  • Remember – you have a body but you are not your body, you are more than your body
  • Listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs
  • Be accepting, kind and compassionate to yourself
  • Focus on all of who you are – body, feelings, mind, sexuality and spirituality. If you are over identified with your body – get to know your neglected parts. Take some time to reflect on, ‘who am I?’
  • LOVE YOURSELF TO BITS

Resources

Psychotherapy

  • Do you want to learn more about the real you? Psychotherapy is a great way to support you on your journey of self-realisation
  • If you are suffering with an eating disorder, addicted to excessive exercising, or you have food and/or body image issues, contact a highly qualified PACFA registered psychotherapist who works holistically and at depth with eating disorders, food and body image issues. Changing your thoughts and mindfulness are useful techniques but not enough on their own for most people. There are usually deeply ingrained, underlying issues to do with low self-worth that need working through.

In the News

Since writing this article yesterday, I have just seen this article via the Butterfly Foundation’s FB page about realistic dolls for children

‘MOVE over Barbie, a new range of fashion dolls has been launched in Australia  to address growing concerns about the impact on young girls of negative body  image issues associated with dolls such as Barbie, Bratz and Monster High.

Unlike her now 53-year-old counterpart Barbie, the new Lottie doll has a  childlike form, modelled on the average nine-year-old girl’s body shape and has  practical clothes, realistic hair and healthy outdoor hobbies.’

Read more: http://bit.ly/Vff4UM

About Jodie

Jodie is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. She has a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. Her experience includes a Master’s thesis on eating disorders titled ‘Call off the Search: Eating Disorders a Symptom of Psychospiritual Crisis’, post graduate training in addiction and ‘women’s business’, work experience in the ‘Eating Disorder Unit’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Eating Disorders Foundation (now part of The Butterfly Foundation) and Women’s Health NSW. She is an ‘approved service provider’ for South Pacific Private Addiction, Eating and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Live Your Life with Purpose! * Sydney Life Coaching Christmas Special *

Live your life with purpose! *Sydney Life Coaching Christmas Special*

Are you feeling lost or disconnected?

Does something keep getting in the way of where you want to go with your life?

Would you like to know yourself at a deeper level?

Are you looking for value, meaning and purpose in life?

Would you like change in 2013?

 

It is only 5 weeks until the new year! Now is the perfect time to have some life coaching sessions to set you up for your new year’s goals.

Using guided visualisation – you will connect in a symbolic way with your deeper source of understanding and inner wisdom.

Some of the themes we will explore together are:

  • managing change
  • how your history might be impacting on your present life situations and relationships
  • life direction
  • what gets in the way of living the life you dream of?
  • self-nourishment
  • moving towards a life filled with value, meaning and purpose

Life coaching sessions can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Explore how your past is impacting on you in the here and now
  • Connect with a sense of value, meaning and purpose in life
  • Find and build upon your existing strengths
  • Build a tool-box of coping and life skills
  • Experience meditation and visualisation
  • Learn mindfulness techniques
  • Make healthy long-lasting changes
  • Change unhealthy thought patterns
  • Discover Journaling
  • Enjoy symbolic artwork
  • Explore your dreams
  • Unleash your creativity
  • Learn through psycho-education

‘Live Your Life on Purpose’ bookings with therapeutic counsellor, life coach & psychotherapist – Jodie Gale

You can experience ‘Live Your Life with Purpose’ as a 3-hour one off experience ($275pp) or for a deeper exploration, over 6-12 weekly sessions ($90 pp per session). This offer is available to purchase until 25th December, 2012.

Life-coaching makes a wonderful gift to yourself or for friends and family.   It is perfect for individuals or for a small group of family members and/or friends. Gift certificates are available.

The following session times are available before Christmas:

Saturday 1, 8, 15 December at 11.45am

Saturday 1, 8, 15 December at 1pm

Sunday 16 December at 9-12pm

Business as usual in the new year if you would prefer to start then.

Therapy Rocks! Stigma, Soul Sickness & Psychotherapy

Therapy Rocks MochaTherapy Rocks! Stigma, Soul Sickness & Psychotherapy

Many of us have felt deep emotional, psychological and spiritual suffering at some stage in our lives. And most of us could do with someone to talk to. Yet a recent Australian study through UNSW found that only a third of people with psychological problems sought counselling or psychotherapy. This is a major concern considering “Australians reported significantly higher levels of psychological distress in 2012, with nearly a quarter (22%) of respondents reporting moderate to severe levels of distress this year (APS, ‘Stress and wellbeing in Australia in 2012’). The World Health Organization suggests that 350 million people worldwide suffer from symptoms such as depression, yet only 20% receive treatment.

As I wrote in my last post on National Psychotherapy Day, ‘it often takes a life-threatening health scare, a rock bottom or major life crisis before seeking and committing to therapy.’ There is far less stigma when we visit the doctor for physical complaints than there is going to a therapist for our emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns. How often do we hear, ‘I’m going to be late for work, I have a therapy?’ Rarely, if ever!

The American Psychological Association suggests that a lack of understanding about what is involved in psychotherapy, attitudes in society, a lack of recognition of the effectiveness of psychotherapy and the growth of the psychopharmacology industry (medication) are some of the contributing factors to the stigma attached to therapy. Another area of concern comes from within the helping professions via stigmatizing labels, language, medical diagnoses and the pathology of everyday emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns.

Diagnoses, labels and language can add to stigma

Diagnoses of symptoms that supposedly point to mental illnesses and/or mental disorders can be really helpful for some people but for many of us, disease and symptom orientated labels for what is essentially a response to trauma, are experienced as limiting and as a reduction of our wholeness. For others, diagnoses can lead to self-perpetuating behaviours and a sense of having no will or choice. Noah Rubinstein from Goodtherapy.org proposes that being diagnosed in such a way suggests that we are fundamentally flawed at the core. He argues that we are not.

The medical model which uses this style of language is the underlying model in the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (DSM-IV, 1994). It is used extensively in psychiatry and has crept into many psychological approaches. Widespread criticism of the medical model for everyday emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns, suggests that it perpetuates stigma and reduces us as humans to one dimension of our being. It also doesn’t allow for the ordinary diversity that exists among us (Encyclopaedia of Mental Disorders).

The latest edition, the DSM-V, is the topic of further criticism and debate, some of which is coming from within the school of psychiatry itself. Psychiatrist Allen Francis warns us that if the latest version is published as it is, it will lead to the medicalization of normal human emotions.

A major problem with one dimensional treatment is whether our concerns are being intervened and cared for, at the right level. There is widespread criticism regarding symptoms such as depression being treated only at the physiological level through medication, when in many cases, the underlying motivation for the depression may be a loss of hope, value and meaning in life – all of which are considered spiritual concerns.  Likewise, using a ‘fix it’ or ‘get rid of it’ approach to our symptoms can fail to address our wholeness. Their limitation is rooted in the fact that they primarily focus on parts of who we are, for example our thinking or our physiology, and not our whole self.

In many cases, symptoms such as depression, anxiety, addiction and eating problems – but to name a few – are not in need of a ‘cure’ or a ‘fix’. Rather, they are sought to be understood as a call from the deeper or higher Self towards transformational growth and realization of our wholeness, inherent goodness, worth and beauty. Symptoms often subside once the underlying cause is worked through and integrated.

When our symptoms and their underlying messages are missed by using one dimensional treatment, it can lead to symptom switching or the symptom may become exacerbated. Another problem is ‘revolving door syndrome’ and is widely recognised within the Medicare Mental Health Plan system.  It is not that medication or certain techniques used such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) aren’t useful or necessary – they are at times – but they don’t address our innate wholeness and the whole story.

In Australia, government funded counselling, psychology and psychotherapy services have long been dominated by these medically orientated approaches. They provide us with little choice in regards to the psychological approach and the therapist of our liking. Master psychotherapist, Irvine Yalom, calls these kinds of treatment approaches ‘economically driven, perforce symptom orientated, brief, superficial and insubstantial…’

When we are reduced to our symptoms we are being pathologized i.e. we are seen as psychologically abnormal. A fear of being equated with our diagnoses and labelled as faulty, broken, sick, diseased, mentally ill or mentally disordered can perpetuate stigma.  

A holistic and soulful approach

A holistic and soulful approach takes into consideration all of who we are. We are first and foremost a Self, whole and unbroken at the core. And…we have a personality, otherwise known as the ego. When we are not seen or heard, or when we have suffered emotional, psychological and spiritual wounding and trauma, our life energy – or what we call in psychosynthesis, our will – can become trapped in maintaining cycles of addiction, illness, depression and so forth. This is the cause of much suffering.

From a holistic perspective, the psyche (soul) consists of body, feelings, mind, sexuality and spirituality. Therefore, many of the above concerns would be classed as soul sickness, not as diseases, mental or psychiatric illnesses: all terms used within the medical model.

Psychotherapy, from this perspective is therefore seen as a sacred space where we tend to, and take care of, the soul.

Soul talk

In psychotherapy, courageous and creative soul work happens. We are not broken, fundamentally and irreparably flawed. We go to therapy because we have deep wounds and trauma that need healing. If we are going to fight the stigma that still exists around entering into psychotherapy, we need a whole person approach and a softer,warmer, feminine and more soulful language that reflects the actual work that takes place inside the therapy space.

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Please comment below.

About Jodieas-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 20 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly, Allambie Heights and Frenchs Forest on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Therapy Rocks! National Psychotherapy Day

Therapy Rocks TurquoiseTherapy Rocks! National Psychotherapy Day

Welcome to my new series, ‘Therapy Rocks!’ For over 10 years, I have had the privilege of witnessing people from all walks of life become more authentic, grow and transform their lives. In conjunction with my personal experience of therapy, there is an ever increasing base of evidence highlighting the benefits of short and long – term counselling and psychotherapy. These specific disciplines are effective and can provide long lasting change for a wide range of experiences such as anxiety, depression and many other emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns. Despite this, recent research suggests that most people are less inclined to spend money and time on their psychological well-being as they are on other areas of their lives. It often takes a life-threatening health scare, a rock bottom or major life crisis before seeking and committing to therapy.  Yet many of these experiences can be avoided by seeking help sooner rather than later.

Today, September 25, is National Psychotherapy Day in the United States. The National Psychotherapy Day is sponsored by Goodtherapy.org and was created by a non-profit organisation called the Psychotherapy Foundation.

Founder of the National Psychotherapy Day, Clinical psychologist Ryan Howes suggests that there are several problems that psychotherapy has:

– Stigma remains for those who seek therapy.

– The media presents a distorted view of therapy and therapists.

– Psychotherapy has no unified, active promotional campaign.

– Low-income counselling options are sparse, underfunded, and overwhelmed.

– People aren’t aware of therapy’s proven, lasting effectiveness.

Over the coming months I will be writing about some of the above topics and hope to shed some light on all things therapy. Who knows…by this time next year, we may even have our own National Psychotherapy Day.

In the meantime – wear turquoise and check out some ways that you can be a part of National Psychotherapy Day: http://nationalpsychotherapyday.com/ and on facebook .

Other blogs from National Psychotherapy Day 2012: http://www.nationalpsychotherapyday.com/blog.php

Therapy Rocks!

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

 

Eating Disorders: A Search for Wholeness

capa journal addictionsTo cite this Journal article: Gale, J. (2011). Eating Disorders: A search for Wholeness. The CAPA Quarterly, Journal of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW (4)pp. 14-17, retrieved from http://jodiegale.com/eating-disorders-a-search-for-wholeness/ (updated 2011 & 2012)

Eating Disorders: A Search for Wholeness

‘At the heart of every eating disorder, whether it is compulsive eating, bulimia or anorexia, there is a cry from the deepest part of our souls that must be heard. It is a cry to awaken, to embrace our whole selves… It is a cry to deepen our understanding of who we really are. It is a longing to know ourselves in mind, body and spirit’ (Normandi & Roark 1998: 119). Continue reading

Addiction: A Psychospiritual Perspective

capa journal spiritualityThis Journal article is subject to copyright. To cite this Journal article: Gale, J. (2010). Addiction: A Psychospiritual Perspective. The CAPA Quarterly, Journal of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW (4), 20-23 retrieved from http://jodiegale.com/addiction-a-psychospiritual-perspective/

Addiction: A Psychospiritual Perspective

In every human being there is a special heaven whole and unbroken’

                                                                                                            Paracelsus.  

The word ‘holistic’ is used often within the helping professions, yet on deeper exploration, ‘spirituality’ is often neglected. It is not seen as legitimate and is rarely given space in psychology, social work, counselling and psychotherapy training (F. Gale, 2007). Considering global emergencies such as financial and environmental crises, war torn countries and displaced peoples, the widening gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian’s health and well-being, levels of addiction to the internet, food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex and shopping and a growing sense of disconnection from self and others – neglecting a spiritual context continues to have dire consequences for individuals, communities and the ‘whole’. ‘Outcomes based’ medical models supported by many governments are primarily concerned with ‘getting rid’ of problems rather than caring for the whole person (WHNSW, 2002). Yalom sees that our field is in crisis due to economically driven, perforce symptom orientated, brief, superficial and insubstantial therapies (2002, pg. xiv).  In ‘Healing the Split’, John Nelson (1994) suggests that no area of Western thought is more in need of the input from spiritual disciplines than our understanding of [neuroses] and psychoses. Wilber (1994) writes, Continue reading

The Big Turn-off

The Big TurnOff1To cite this magazine article: Hennessy, K. (2010). Wellbeing Magazine.
http://katehennessy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/The-Big-Turn-Off_Kate-Hennessy.pdf.
Retrieved from http://jodiegale.com/the-big-turn-off/internet-addiction

The Big Turn-Off

by Kate Hennessy, contributions by Psychotherapist Jodie Gale

During the Industrial Revolution, workers who were staring into the iron maw of machinery that did not fatigue, responded by fighting for the eight-hour day. This desire was underpinned by the belief that quality of life was best maintained by eight hours labour, eight hours rest and eight hours recreation. Now the Information Revolution is infiltrating all three. Continue reading

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