Nikki Gemmell started writing After, the day she found out that her mother had ended her own life.
Many of the reviews focus on the obvious topics of death and dying – but for me, this book was more about the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship , early childhood emotional neglect, emotional abuse and trauma, and the struggle to separate and individuate from early childhood wounding.
Working with women in therapy, and with a wide range of concerns, exploring and healing the mother-daughter relationship is always part of our work together. Narcissistic wounding is often at the core. By this I mean, the daughter is not seen in her own light and her emotional, psychological and spiritual needs were not met, often because the mother’s needs were also not met.
Nikki Gemmell does a wonderful job of writing about these issues and I love that she has found a creative space to ‘see’ herself. It takes guts, authenticity, vulnerability and courage to write a book like this!
This memoir is a must for anyone interested in delving deeper into the psyche of the mother-daughter relationship.
If you would like to know more, grab a copy of After and watch Nikki on Australian Story.
Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.
Increasingly, many of us feel a sense of alienation, disconnection, a lack of safety, and insecurity within our bodies. At the core, this sense of dis-ease can often be the result of early childhood attachment and interpersonal ruptures, emotional neglect and/or trauma. In The Body Keeps the Score – a powerful book for befriending the body, Bessel van der Kolk writes,
“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.”
This profound sense of disconnection from our deeper selves is the underlying force and a major contributing factor to a myriad of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual disturbances and symptoms, including: addictions, anxiety, depression, food, body and weight concerns, eating disorders, health problems, a lack of self-worth, and relationship issues. Van der Kolk goes on to say…
“…child abuse and neglect is the single most preventable cause of mental illness, the single most common cause of drug and alcohol abuse, and a significant contributor to leading causes of death such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and suicide.”
In The Body Never Lies, Alice Miller writes,
“Frequently, physical illnesses are the body’s response to permanent disregard of its vital functions. One of our most vital functions is an ability to listen to the true story of our own lives.”
When we don’t listen to the true story of our own lives – via our body, feelings, mind and soul – our deeper self will continue to call us through our symptoms. Our symptoms often seek to be seen and heard until we become conscious, pay attention and take action. One way we can do that, is to befriend our bodies.
The recommendations here are from psychotherapists and health professionals from around the globe, and who are helping their clients heal the split between soma and soul.
If you are self-medicating with food, have body-blame and shame, they may be linked to childhood emotional neglect (CEN).
This is an excellent book to start the journey of becoming friends with your body by increasing self-awareness and healing internal wounds caused by childhood emotional neglect.
The first part of the book helps you to understand how different parenting styles may lead to childhood emotional neglect. This is not to blame parents but to help you to understand your experience. Dr Webb lists symptoms often experienced by individuals whose parental figure(s) have not been emotionally available when growing up. She then gives suggestions and exercises for helping you to understand your emotions and start healing from CEN.
I really enjoyed this book that acknowledges the impact of childhood emotional neglect which is often difficult to understand because it looks at an absence of something rather than a traumatic event. The use of case examples really brings to life the impact of different parenting styles on emotional well-being and it provides great tools for increasing self-awareness. I have recommended this book to many professionals and clients.
Dr Mari Kovanen, Counselling Psychologist, London, UK
With safe contained touch, a child can begin to orient to the world and integrate proprioception and other sensations.
Touch plays an important role in our ability to self regulate because, along with sensation, it is our first language. The parent cannot always provide exactly what a child needs and this will ultimately create ruptures. Constant ruptures without repair can shrinks a person’s innate capacity to occupy their body and be able to feel and regulate their emotions. As adults, this inevitably leads to difficulty in relating and connecting safely with others.
This book highlights touch from many perspectives, some of which include culture, attachment theory, and the mental health arena. It also offers some helpful tools and homework. The author explains how touch can transform a person’s fight / flight response through engaging their ventral vagal system, which is not dissimilar from a mother’s containment when holding her baby.
The author credits many influences, highlighting Allan Schore & Peter Levine as his teachers along with Bessel Van der Kolk, Steven Porges and Robert Scare as some of the leaders in this field. I enjoyed how easily Dr. Changaris has woven in quality research that validates how touch is vital for human health and healing. For me this book is for those who want a deeper insight into the benefits of touch and its broader applications in a therapeutic context.
Amanda Howe, Somatic Experiencing, Relational and Body Psychotherapist – St Leonards and Mona Vale, Sydney, Australia
A woman’s guide to finding her inner voice and living a life of authenticity.
Many of us, without even realising we’re doing it, adapt ourselves to fit around the important others in our life (and even around what the media tell us we ‘should’ be like). It’s such an accepted part of being a woman, that the process can be almost invisible.
But the trouble is, that in the process of being (or trying to be) who others think you should be, you may feel like you’ve lost touch with who you actually are, what you feel, and what you really want in life. This book offers a new approach to understanding yourself, and helps you figure out what ‘being yourself’ actually means. Brenner teaches you how to use self-acceptance and awareness of body-based feelings, so that you can learn how to identify, trust and follow your true inner wisdom and guidance.
You’ll learn how to make friends with your body and your inner self, access your spirituality and your emotions, and live a life that feels real and truthful to the messy, glorious and unique reality of who you are.
Emma Cameron, Integrative Arts Psychotherapist – Colchester, UK
This is an excellent guide for those who are just beginning to work with their dreams as well as those who are more experienced and familiar with dream interpretation. The book consists of 16 questions that support the dreamer in the process of interpreting their dreams. Dr. Gendlin breaks down how to ask each question so that your body responds. By paying attention to your body’s responses you can discern 1) if you are connecting with the dream’s meaning; and 2) interpret what the dream is trying to tell you.
What I like best about this book is how Dr. Gendlin clearly and simply outlines the process of dream interpretation while still honoring the complexity and numinosity of dreams. This is why this is the top book I recommend for dream interpretation. This book will resonate with 1) anyone who would like to learn how to interpret their dreams, and 2) those who would like to connect more deeply with their bodies and intuitive abilities.
If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it. – Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Intuitive Eating is a book and program developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
Intuitive Eating focuses on 10 principles designed to help us make peace with food. It takes away the guilt and shame associated with certain food choices. It gives skills to start paying attention to the body, in particular, our hunger and fullness.
These principles help you respect your body and nurture yourself with food instead of using it for reward or punishment. The principles normalize the urges around overeating and goes into the science behind our relationship with food.
This book helped me to befriend my body, it changed my life and I use it with every single client!
Michelle Lewis, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Owner/Therapist at Salt Lake Weight Counseling – Salt Lake City, UT, USA
All bodies are yoga bodies. – Sarah Harry
Yoga as a practice is over 4000 years old and the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits are countless.
This is a yoga book written by a fat yogini for all people who struggle to feel at home in the current yoga culture! Yoga is not just for teeny tiny bendy young things! It’s for everyone.
This book is to bring yoga to those who don’t look like the people on the cover of a yoga mag. Covering everything from “do real yogi’s drink wine” to “how do I stop my boobs from smooshing me” so you can get on with the important business of feeling more at home in your body.
It’s practical, straight talking and easy to follow advice about how to practice yoga and get into and out of postures at any size, leaving you with the skills to build a sustainable yoga practice in your own home.
This is the ultimate resource for those wanting to befriend their body through yoga!
Lindy West packs no punches when talking about what it’s like to be fat in a fat-shaming society.
Shrill is not a self-help book, but it will help anyone who struggles with befriending their body. West’s style is especially perfect for young women who will totally get on board with her language, manner, and the internet world she knows so well.
You may already know of West’s public storms with colleagues, comedy, and internet trolls, but the linking narrative between all these events, beginning with her childhood, is a sharp, funny and honest look at herself and the society we live in. You can literally feel the hurts and triumphs jumping off the page as she implores you to look through her eyes and experience the world as she does: a woman who is ‘not normal’ and refuses to be quiet about it. I could certainly relate.
The most extraordinary aspect of travelling away from ‘waiting to be thin’, is how she actions it. I was transfixed and inspired by the myriad of ways she exposes herself to fatness, and in the process teaches us all that we can, simply, choose what is beautiful:
“I reject the notion that thinness is the goal, that thin = better—that I am an unfinished thing and that my life can really start when I lose weight. That then I will be a real person and have finally succeeded as a woman. I am not going to waste another second of my life thinking about this.”
I can’t promise that I won’t waste another second Lindy, but I sure am gonna try!
Nicole Hind, Online Counsellor – Australia
Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. – Brené Brown.
Daring Greatly is Brené Brown’s third book and in my opinion her most powerful. In this book she explores our relationship with society’s scarcity culture, vulnerability and shame. In the current landscape of ‘never good enough, thin enough, young and beautiful enough’, Daring Greatly offers some practical ways of fighting back shame, and ways of nurturing your authentic self. She offers skills on how to practice shame resilience and how to befriend your body. The idea of stepping into the arena that runs through book is visceral and enticing. Brené really gets you connected to your body and to the idea that it is possible to show up, be seen, and live brave.
Andrea Szasz, Clinical Psychotherapist, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner & Trauma Specialist – Bondi & Crows Nest, Sydney, Australia
The title may sound heavy and dry but this book is actually a treasure trove of information into befriending the body.
It contains insights into how our bodies hold memory and emotions. Ogden and Fisher teach us how to listen to the innate wisdom of our body, through being mindful of our bodily sensations. Written as both a self-help and professional manual, it contains countless, practical exercises focused on befriending the body. Such exercises guide us in: being mindful of our bodily sensations, appreciating our strengths, identifying how to support ourselves creatively, learning to ground and centre ourselves, breath work and body postures.
The entire book is really about tuning into the wisdom of our own body, in order to connect more fully with ourselves and in turn, others. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by their emotions, disconnected from themselves or others, anxious or depressed, or simply unsure of who they are. Working through this book, helps to bring the whole of ourselves back into balance.
Toni Jackson, Psychotherapist & Counsellor – Perth, Western Australia
The word Chakra means moving wheel; points of whirling energy – close to our bodies.
According to many Eastern Spiritual traditions, chakras are recognised spiritual energy points that exist in the field just beyond our body in and around our aura. These centres are recognised in a variety of spiritual traditions and are known to exist beyond the physical plane. They exist in the ‘space between’ – ourselves and another – in the space beyond the actual physical body and exist in what some call the etheric body.
This book was an intriguing read and provides a deeper understanding of the following:
This wisdom can assist us to ensure we remain of right mind, have a healthy body and heart and live long and happy lives.
Ultimately, Osho encourages us to listen to our bodies and hearts – when we do this, we can’t go wrong!
Renee McDonald, Counsellor, Psychotherapist & Coach – Bulli, Australia
Understand your brain, improve your relationships.
As a relationship therapist with 20 years of practice behind me, I almost always recommend this book to couples because Wired for Love intelligently lifts the lid on how couples relate, offers innovative ways of understanding what’s actually happening in our brain, body, feelings and mind, and how to make the changes needed to get things back on track.
The book is all about bringing mindfulness and consciousness to our relationships and gaining an appreciation of how our brains operate in conflict. Our nervous system plays an important part in how couples “fight” and this book discusses some simple things like using our breath to calm our cardiovascular and respiratory systems so that arguments can be worked through “safely” and without threat.
For example, couples that have an awareness of how they soothe each other through touch, words, facial expression and body to body contact on greeting, can transform the nature of conflicts and learn to “fight fair”.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of how their body and brain impact their relationships, and who want to be able to say and express what they need, yet still create a safe environment for their relationships to grow.
Melissa Ferrari, Psychotherapist & Relationship Therapist – Penrith, Sydney, Australia
We might begin by scanning our body . . . and then asking, “What is happening?” We might also ask, “What wants my attention right now?” or, “What is asking for acceptance? – Tara Brach
Radical Acceptance is an incredible book filled with wisdom from Tara Brach, who is not only a clinical psychologist but a meditation teacher as well.
This book is for anyone struggling with feelings of perpetual “unworthiness”.
Brach does a wonderful job of weaving in advice and guidance, personal antidotes from her own life and her work with her clients, along with guided meditations on self-acceptance and getting in touch with one’s true feelings (which may have been somatised in the body).
I have recommended this book to many of my clients in my own psychotherapy practice, and their response after reading this book is often, “I feel like she is saying exactly what I say to myself”. The idea of general unworthiness is an underlying thought that so many of us have, and it often leads to destructive behaviours such as eating disorders, addictions, and self-harm.
This book gently guides the reader to feel and accept their feelings, forgive themselves, and move in a direction of self-acceptance.
Radical Acceptance has proved to be extremely useful and effective in my practice working with people with eating disorders, as well as for myself, and my own journey towards befriending my body and cultivating qualities of self-love and self acceptance.
Melissa Preston, Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Dietitian – Denver, Colorado, USA
Stop the rush and come home to your body.
Do you regularly find yourself tired but wired? Constantly rushing around to give more, do more be more and yet enough is never enough? Deep down you probably know you can’t sustain this pace for too much longer and your body is starting to give signals that enough is enough. If this is you, you’re not alone. I see this situation played out woman after woman in my practice. The woman’s mind is saying “I must”, and yet the woman’s body is saying, “no more!” New Zealand biochemist Dr Libby Weaver addresses this issue brilliantly in her book Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. She helps us as women to understand that more rushing dose not equal a happier life, in fact it’s a recipe for stress, anxiety and ultimately, if ignored long enough, sickness and disease.
This book was inspired by the struggle Libby saw in her practice that so many women are facing in juggling multiple roles and the internal and external demands to achieve and to please everyone. This book will give you clear, practical advice in how to get off the rush treadmill. She gives us an experts tour of our bodies and the impacts the constant push-pull a frantic pace of life has on our health and well-being and offers a way out of the rush to come back home to the body. This book, in my view, is a must read for every modern women who is constantly feeling the pressure to do it all and yet longs for well-being, tranquillity and the ability to feel at peace in her own skin. I recommend this book to every one of my female clients who is looking to have a better relationship with herself and her body.
Marcia Watts, Relationships & Wellbeing Counsellor – Brisbane, Australia
The mind and the emotions have the power to affect the body. – Niravi Payne.
From the minute an individual or couple is dianosed with ’infertility’, they are usurped into a medical whirlwind of tests and medical procedures. Little time is afforded for couples to stop and reflect on the deeper issues arising from their diagnosis or the underlying issues which may be interfering with their ability to conceive.
This soulful book explores the emotional and psychological factors that can be a barrier to conception. It delves deeply into family dynamics and generational beliefs and behaviours which may be impacting a couple’s inability to conceive.
The exercises in this book will help the reader to befriend the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns that they may be struggling with around their fertility.
This is a hopeful book, which offers a mind-body approach to fertility and conscious conception. It is a must read for anyone struggling with fertility issues, and is a great accompaniement for those going through assisted conception and IVF treatment.
Emotions; we all have them, and sometimes we can be overwhelmed with the raw power of the things that we feel.
When this happens, we can feel confused, isolated and detached; even at war with ourselves. These strong emotions can be experienced within our minds, but given the close relationship between emotions and the body, the effect of these strong emotions can often be felt as overwhelming forces within our bodies as well.
Ekman, through helping us understand our emotions, grants us the prospect of coming to peace within ourselves. His book gives great insight into how our emotions develop, how they are expressed – and what we can do about them. His research over 20 years is notable for his focus on how emotion affects our bodies. When we better understand what we feel in our minds and our bodies and why we feel it, we are in a better position to accept, forgive and befriend ourselves. A critical part of this is how we can use this increased understanding to ultimately accept, forgive and befriend our bodies.
You only have one body and despite how well you live your life, it may never change. Can you afford to hate yourself for the rest of your life? – Linda Bacon
This book is a must read for anyone who has ever been on a diet or who is a health professional telling others how to lose weight. It is not another diet book. In fact, it is the opposite. Linda recommends ditching the diet and learning to listen to and trust our own body wisdom. Even better… the book advocates no more deprivation and no more guilt. Sounds like a dream come true right? Maybe too good to be true but in fact the Health at Every Size Programme (HAES) is based on a USA Government funded academic study. In other words it’s science based and proven to work.
The book is in two parts. Part 1 is designed to educate & debunk many of the common weight loss myths. The author, Dr Linda Bacon (PhD) provides logical & easy to follow reasoning which just makes perfect sense in explaining why dieting just doesn’t work. Our bodies are actually geared to resist weight loss. Part 2 of the book provides simple, practical step to help change your mindset and embrace the HAES principles into your life while re-introducing pleasure in food and saying goodbye to guilt, deprivation and diets.
It truly is a revelation & I now have it on the top of my list of recommended books for my clients with weight & body image concerns.
Pam Bailey, Feel Good Facilitator – Perth, Australia
Menopause is actually about coming home to yourself. – Christiane Northrup
This book was my bible while going through menopause and it is still a resource I check out every now and then. Initially, I thought I would read from the beginning to the end – I started to do that but different symptoms kept popping up. In the end, I found the best way was to have the symptom and look it up, because things were happening too fast to read it from cover to cover.
I’d apparently been pre-menopausal for years but my doctor didn’t inform me of that. My husband was the first to notice the change in my mood – he thought I was manic/depressive. My moods must have driven him crazy! Like most women, my mother had never told me what menopause was like and I wasn’t prepared for the miserable stage of life I had found myself in. I was in a bookstore one day and this book practically jumped off the shelf at me.
The Wisdom of Menopause has 14 chapters, with fabulous titles. These are a few: Menopause Puts Your Life Under a Microscope; The Brain Catches Fire at Menopause; Nurturing Your Brain, Sleep, Depression and Memory; Sex and Menopause- Myths and Reality.
This book is packed with practical information on how to befriend the body and simple explanations on how to make changes to lifestyle. My life was changed forever!
I highly recommend this book to all women and their daughters. Read it as a book club, read it with friends, don’t be afraid of menopause, make it your friend and live the life you deserve.
Cait Wotherspoon, Psychotherapist Specialising in Grief, Loss and Bereavement – Penrith, Sydney, Australia
Recovery from disordered eating calls for a new way of relating to our femail bodies, one that honors and values what they have to offer us. It requires that we appreciate what it means to come into the body of a woman. – Anita Johnston.
Dr Anita Johnston discusses a range of concerns related to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating through the creative use of myths and storytelling. This is not your usual self-help book – it is much deeper than that – it is full of soul!
Clients often comment that this book helped them not only to befriend their bodies and change their relationship with food, but it also helped them to transform their lives.
The chapters are short and since much of the book is told through myths or stories, it is much easier to relate to than a dry, medical book about these topics.
It’s hard to articulate how powerful the chapters are but trust me – review after review also states similar sentiments. I feel this is the best book out there for women to explore the relationship they have with food and their body.
Megan Bearce, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist – Minneapolis, MN, USA
5Rhythms is a dynamic movement practice—a practice of being in your body—that ignites creativity, connection, and community. – Gabrielle Roth.
In Sweat Your Prayers, Gabrielle Roth, provides the reader with a deeper understanding of her dance practice, 5 Rhythms, which is a combination of psychology, spirituality and body movement. She offers a journey through the five universal rhythms: flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness. Roth teaches us how the rhythms can free the body and spirit from ordinary realms and generate motion deep within the psyche. Each sacred rhythm is a teacher and a gateway to the soul.
This book is full of wisdom for befriending your body and healing the mind-body split. Once you have read Sweat Your Prayers, find a class near you!
Kylie Beatie, Managing Director at Byron Private Holistic Treatment Centre – Byron Bay, Australia
…To fully heal, this release needs to happen in your body as well. – Ellen Bass
The Courage to Heal and the accompanying workbooks have been an invaluable resource to all the woman survivors of child sexual abuse that I have known, and, unfortunately, there are many. Throughout the book, stories of fellow survivors assure women that that they are not alone, and that healing is possible.
The chapter on “Learning to Live in Your Body” includes the relationship among body, mind and spirit, and exercises on moving from hating your body to befriending your body; how to come back into your body when you’ve been triggered; grounding; and moving from numbness to feeling, among others. I highly recommend this book.
Renee Beck, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Clinical Consultant & Supervisor – Oakland, California, USA
The problem isn’t that we have bodies; the problem is that we are not living in them. Sigh. – Geneen Roth.
Having attended a week-long retreat with Geneen in 2016, I just had to share her first colouring in book!
The Women Food and God Coloring Book is full of enchanting black and white illustrations to colour in, relax and integrate the wisdom of Geneen’s #1 New York Times bestseller, Women, Food & God.
Many people who struggle with addictions and eating disorders often act out when they are angry, anxious, bored, sad or stressed. I love that this book is a practical tool which can used for self-soothing and self-care. It is also a guide for deeper contemplation and discovery of what is going on beneath the symptoms and at a deeper soul level.
For anyone suffering with food, weight and body image concerns, this book will help you to befriend your body (and soul).
Jodie Gale, Blog Author, Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Private Practice Business Coach – Allambie, Frenchs Forest & Manly, Sydney, Australia
Jodie’s journey to become a soul-centred psychotherapist + eating psychology specialist began with her own recovery from bulimia over 20 years ago. She now works in private practice in Sydney, Australia and is the Disordered Eating Consultant for Byron Private Holistic Treatment Centre and former Assistant Clinical Director of a Sydney Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Program in consultation with Dr Anita Johnston. Jodie’s extensive work experience in the eating disorder field includes stints at the Eating Disorder Association of NSW (now The Butterfly Foundation) and in the Eating Disorder and Feeding Unit of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. She regularly appears online, in print and on National radio regarding her work with women and disordered eating. Jodie’s first eBook, ‘Befriending Your Body’ will be out later this year – sign up here to be the first to receive a free copy.
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).
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:
-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
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.
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.
If the date you require is taken, please email me as I am now have space on Friday during school hours.
Saturday 14 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out
Saturday 21 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out
Saturday 28 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out
Saturday 4 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out
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Saturday 7 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out
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Saturday 28 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out
Saturday 4 – 1.30-3.30
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Saturday 25 – 1.30-3.30
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Saturday 27 – 1.30-3.30
Allambie Heights in person or via Skype.
Public transport is available via the 280 bus from Chatswood to Warringah Mall or the 142 from Manly to the Skyline shops.
Art materials and a journal to take home (not available for Skype)
I will email you a questionnaire and provide you with a short reading prior to your session
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. Credit card payments now available*
Image Credit: Institute for the Psychology of Eating
Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.
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.
Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.
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:
Resources mentioned in the podcast:
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.
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!
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!
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.
Thanks Kellogs and Body Positive for a great day and fab gift bags!
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).
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.
“Inhabiting the body develops a sense of self-possession, and a sense of there being ‘someone at home’.” Judith Blackstone
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
If you are interested in exploring other ways to really feel and consciously be in your body, here are some further suggestions:
No Lights No Lycra.
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
“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
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.
The Body Image Movement has the following philosophy,
“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!
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.