counselling psychotherapy

Inner Child

Healing the Mother Wound with Bethany Webster

This is one of my all time favourite episodes of the Women In-Depth: Conversations About the Inner Lives of Women Podcast.

Our early relationships with our primary caregivers have a profound impact on our emerging sense of self.

In my depth psychotherapy work with women, exploring the mother-wound and how to become a nourishing mother to the inner child is a powerful part of the journey, particularly for those with eating disorders and other food, weight and body image concerns.

Lourdes Viado, creator and host of Women In-Depth and Bethany Webster from Womb of Light discuss in this episode:

• How the Mother Wound affects all aspects of a woman’s life
• How having an abortion at 19 changed Bethany’s life perspective
• Working on childhood history and spirituality
• Devaluing the feminine
• How the Mother Wound is a product of patriarchy
• How it is a universal wound
• The importance of looking within
• Moving towards being a culture of depth and reflection
• How you can carry your energy differently and create change
• Healing the Mother Wound through an algorithm of safety
• Re-parenting your inner child that wasn’t mothered
• How the Mother Wound has three levels
• Repeating unhealthy motherhood behaviors in our adult life
• How the disconnect with our mothers resonates in our feeling towards life
• Dealing with taboos and stereotypes around the Mother Wound
• Realizing mothers can’t fill all our needs
• Why this isn’t simply bringing up the past
• To see the Mother Wound as a tool of empowerment

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did!

Healing the Mother Wound with Lourdes Viado and Bethany Webster

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!

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.

Let your light shine and live the life you have always dreamed of! Contact me now to book your first appointment.