counselling psychotherapy

Sydney Eating Disorder Treatment

The Australian Centre for Eating Disorders (ACFED) Approved Practitioner

I’m excited to have become an Australian Centre for Eating Disorders (ACFED) approved practitioner. Over the next few years I will be working towards GOLD membership.

ACFED train psychotherapists,  psychologists, social workers, counsellors, registered nurses and dieticians in theory and skills related to eating disorders (including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and orthorexia), obesity and nutrition. If you are looking for an eating disorder specialist in your area, you can find a list of approved practitioners on their website.

About The Australian Centre for Eating Disorders (ACFED) via their website:

“The Australian Centre for Eating Disorders (ACFED) offers training to a wide range of health care professionals on the best practice treatment of eating disorders.  ACFED also provides sufferers and their loved ones with a directory of qualified health professionals, making it easier for them to find the right support.

The Australian Centre for Eating Disorders is the leading independent provider of professional development in Eating Disorders and Obesity for health professionalism Australia and New Zealand.

Their mission is to develop and deliver effective, evidence based professional development opportunities in Eating Disorders and Obesity to health professionals and to develop a network of ACFED Approved health professionals with a high standard of skills and resources.”

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 supervision, 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!

To the Bone Review [Video]

Image Credit: Netflix

To the Bone Review

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the Netflix movie, To the Bone. As a former long-time sufferer of bulimia and as a counsellor and psychotherapist who has worked for nearly 20 years with women suffering with eating disorders – I get it.

I viewed To the Bone as a slice of one person’s struggle, at one point in time. Unfortunately that means it can’t be representative of all people who suffer and all types of eating disorders. From this place, I didn’t find it as bad as some of the reviews because it does raise some important talking points. The only real disappointment for me is that it lacked a depth exploration of the main character Ellen’s suffering and what it really takes to recover.

 

Here are my thoughts about To the Bone (with spoilers):

The focus on the dysfunctional relationships within Ellen’s family system

The story starts by highlighting the relationships between Ellen and her family. Ellen’s mother and father are separated. We don’t see the father throughout the movie – he is physically and emotionally absent. Ellen’s mother and step mother are completely unaware of Ellen’s needs and are distracted by their own lives. Ellen lacks a nourishing mother.

There is sometimes a reluctance amongst eating disorder therapists to talk about how certain parenting styles contribute to the development of the eating disorder. This is concerning considering in nearly 20 years of working with women with food, weight and body image concerns, almost every client I have worked with has grown up in a family where she has suffered at very least childhood emotional neglect, at worse, narcissistic wounding and complex trauma related to experiences within the family system.

The child with the eating disorder is often expressing the dysfunction within the family system; she does this through her behaviours and symptoms. Her body and her relationship with food, express what her words cannot. The tragedy is that the whole family is in crisis but the focus turns to the ‘sick child’ (who often feels like the problem). This is not about blaming families, rather, thinking systemically about what is really going on within the whole family system.

I like that To the Bone highlights this but I felt it lacked a depth exploration, particularly in the therapy scenes. Focusing on calorie counting and other behaviours distracts from the deep suffering that Ellen is experiencing. It also stops the audience from really connecting with Ellen’s pain. Like treatments that only focus on meal plans, food and weight restoration, To the Bone gets caught on the surface, rather than seeking to understand the whole story, the underlying trauma, and the value, meaning and purpose of the symptoms. To achieve long-term recovery, the focus needs to be redirected to the underlying emotional, cultural, psychological and spiritual concerns.

Ellen connects with others in a group home treatment facility

Whilst there didn’t appear to be a lot of supervision at the group home, I liked that it showed how Ellen was able to build connections with others in treatment. As we know, many of the issues underlying eating and weight issues are relational and attachment related.

Some reviews of the movie are concerned that it focused on a glamorised, smoky eyed, attractive white female. It’s important for the public to understand that disordered eating comes in all types, shapes and sizes. I liked that the residential treatment centre included different types of people (including a guy), different types of body sizes and different types of eating disorder behaviours and symptoms.

Ellen hits rock bottom

There is a lot of criticism about this part of the storyline. Not everyone hits rock bottom before they seek treatment and not everyone needs to hit rock bottom before they seek treatment.

My personal experience is that I did hit rock bottom and shortly after, I found a psychotherapist who specialised in eating disorders. It was the start of our 6 year journey in weekly therapy together; therapy that ultimately helped me save my life.

So although this storyline doesn’t fit for everyone – it is certainly something I have personally experienced as well as many of the women I have worked with over the years. Wanting to die, versus the realisation of, ‘I might actually die’, can often be the motivating force for choosing recovery.

Ellen’s dream in the desert

The scene where Ellen goes to the desert really spoke to me. When I first entered my own counselling and psychotherapy for bulimia, my therapist shared with me an article by Jungian Analyst, Mary Esther Harding, ‘The value and meaning of depression’.

‘Depression’, she says, ‘symbolises a psychological condition or experience when one has the feeling of being in a desert, or in the wilderness – a feeling of being lost, lost in a barren region, so lost that one is in a state of despair.’

‘For the wilderness of course is a place where there is no water. Life is precarious, human life almost impossible. A human being in the wilderness is alone, isolated, [her] life in danger’

The name ‘wilderness’ means wild-land and wherever the wilderness appears in a myth or a dream, it refers to a place of stagnation, where there is no life, where everything is arid and nothing can grow. In psychology it refers to a condition of having this same characteristic – a condition where the flame of life sinks. All energy sinks into the unconscious and the individual suffers from depression and inertia.’

‘A spirit of dullness and gloom and hopelessness falls upon one at such time and nothing seems worthwhile. Life has temporarily lost its meaning.’

This is exactly what it feels like to be stuck in the despair of the depression underlying the eating disorder. Life has lost all value, meaning and purpose. It is a place of no life energy and no will.

Essential to long-term recovery is an exploration of value, meaning and purpose at two levels:

  1. How has the eating disorder been of value? What is its meaning? How has it served? What is the emerging purpose of the symptoms? What are the symptoms calling for the person to awaken to in themselves?
  2. Life has lost its value, meaning and purpose. The work of recovery is a spiritual journey to discover that which brings value, meaning and purpose in life.

To the Bone offers hope

Ellen and her fellow companions in treatment all have a bumpy recovery journey – this is resonant with real life recovery. After Ellen’s experience in the desert and hitting rock bottom, her life energy and will was no longer trapped and she made a choice to go back into treatment. For me, this shows that even though recovery is full of ups and downs, it is always possible. The ending was a hopeful one.

Hope is the starting point for recovery.

For therapists working with eating disorders, the person suffering comes to us drowning in a sea of despair and hopelessness; it’s therefore imperative that we hold hope and continue to nourish her until she is able to do this for herself.

To the Bone is triggering

Yes it is. And … so is life.

In the height of my eating disorder, I couldn’t leave the house without being triggered. I was triggered by my reflection in the shop window, the Krispy Kreme that popped up on the corner of my street, the diet talk around my office lunch table, the Weight Watchers advertisement on the billboard opposite my house, the cover of a magazine with headlines, ‘size 0’. For those suffering with eating and weight concerns, we are bombarded with images of how women should look and how they should eat. For me, flickering through Instagram celebrities and wellness warriors is just as triggering, if not more so. MacKenzie, the physician who treated Noxon who produced To the Bone says,  “I don’t think there are any triggers in there that young people of today are not already exposed to,” .For someone in the grips or recovery from an eating disorder, the trigger list is endless.

To recover, it’s about,

  • knowing that triggers are extremely challenging
  • learning to manage these challenges as part of recovery
  • understanding that even when we are triggered, we have a choice about how we respond to the trigger
  • realising that when we are triggered, it is not a time for acting out but a time to look inwards to build our capacity for self-exploration and self-awareness

What do people who have suffered with disordered eating make of To the Bone?

As with 13 Reasons Why, I asked the women I work with what they thought of To the Bone. Shared with permission here,

‘I didn’t feel so alone after watching it’

‘It was a good movie and it made me feel hopeful’

‘Not the best it could have been but I’m glad eating disorders are finally in the spotlight’

‘It’s really got people talking; that’s a good thing’

‘The reviews said it glamorized anorexia, I didn’t feel it did, that’s just what it is like’

‘I liked it and could totally identify with all of the characters’

‘It was ok but I wish they showed how much pain is being covered up’

‘It was painful to watch because it reminded me of how I used to be’

‘That could have been my family, it was spot on’

‘I realised that I actually have an eating disorder’

Should you watch To the Bone?

If you are struggling with any kind of food, weight and body image concern, use discernment about whether you should watch this movie. In an ideal world, my recommendation would be to watch prior to your therapy session or with your therapist or other support person so that you can process the themes in the movie with care.

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!

Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul®

Let me help you transform your relationship with food, body and soul!

eating-psychology-growDo you feel crazy around food?

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

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

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

Is your mood dependent on Fitbit or the scales?

Do you fat shame and hate your body?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why work with me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

January

Saturday 14  – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 21 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 28 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

February

Saturday 4 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 11 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 18 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 25 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

March

Saturday 4 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 25 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

July

Saturday 1  – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 8- 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 15- 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 22- 1.30-3.30

Saturday 29- 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

August

Saturday 5- 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 12- 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 19- 1.30-3.30

Saturday 26- 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

September

Saturday 2  – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 9 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 16 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 23 – 1.30-3.30

October

Saturday 7 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

Saturday 14 – 1.30-3.30

Saturday 21 – 1.30-3.30

Saturday 28 – 1.30-3.30 Booked Out

November

Saturday 4 – 1.30-3.30

Saturday 11 – 1.30-3.30

Saturday 18 – 1.30-3.30

Saturday 25 – 1.30-3.30

December

Saturday 2 – 1.30-3.30

January

Saturday 13 – 1.30-3.30

Saturday 20 – 1.30-3.30

Saturday 27 – 1.30-3.30

Venue

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.

Inclusions

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

Preparation

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

Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™ Packages

For individuals

1 x 2 hour taster session = $299.00

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

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

*Because these sessions are in high demand, payment is required on booking to hold your space. Credit card payments now available*

Book your sessions now!

Image Credit: Institute for the Psychology of Eating

About Jodie

as-seen-in-december-16-pink

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

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

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

Image Credit: Iryne R on Flikr

Image Credit: Iryne R on Flickr

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

In this blog, I write about

-how our body is the home for our soul

-our true identity

-the trance of unworthiness

-the call of the soul.

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

Image Credit: Iryne R on Flickr

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

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

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

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

 

Disordered Eating: A Search for Wholeness Podcast with Lourdes Viado

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

I am so excited to share this podcast with you.

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

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

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

What you’ll hear in this episode:

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

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

Resources mentioned in the podcast:

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

The Recovery Warrior Podcast with Jessica Raymond

Women, Food & God by Geneen Roth

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

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

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

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

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

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

 

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

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

embrace

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

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

o-TARYN-BRUMFITT-570

The Body Image Movement has the following philosophy,

They say no to…

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

And they say yes to…

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

About Embrace – the Documentary

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

Just as the blurb reads, Embrace is,

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

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

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

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

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

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

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

Ditch the Diet and Steady the Scales

scalesshutterstock_360287792Welcome to my guest blogger series women and the body.

This post is by counsellor and psychotherapist Marg Ryan, who has a private practice in Caulfield, Melbourne, Australia.

Marg is a certified Somatic Psychotherapist, Trauma Specialist and Couples’ Counselor, She has a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Education, a Masters of Organisational Psychology and underwent intensive training in Somatic Psychotherapy at the Australian College of Somatic Psychotherapy where she earned her Clinical Diploma of Somatic Psychotherapy. Marg also completed a specialist course in couple therapy at Relationships Australia – a leading provider of relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.

Ditch the Diet and Steady the Scales

Your brain and your heart need to be in sync to be able to ditch the diet and feel good in your own body. However, steadying the scales and losing the body image obsession by managing your thoughts, feelings and sensations is skilful. We think and feel stuff about our bodies all of the time. A lot of it is critical.

Tim Minchin the comedian in his song “Not Perfect ” captures the dilemma:

“This is my body …And I live in it

And the weirdest thing about it is I spend so much time hating it

But it never says a bad word about me.”

The external pressures that feed unhealthy body obsession are everywhere, on billboards, in the media and in the fashion industry. In the hairdresser, we pick up magazines plastered with headlines about a celebrity mum who has miraculously managed to do away with any evidence that she even had a baby six weeks ago!

Yet this is the media myth. It is a huge adaption and change process having a baby…huge… Yet there are no photos of 2am tears, tantrums and tensions. We devour the glossy pictures and the magical belief that this diet or celebrity can show us the way …

Reshaping how you feel about your body

Understanding why you may be someone who hates their body is the key to change. I think it is an “inside out job” you do on yourself. It is all about your emotions.

The real heart of the problem is that you may have not learnt how to manage, soothe, and bear difficult feelings. No-one taught you how to “feel and deal” with life situations that trigger big feelings inside.

Yet you often think it is all about controlling the outside of your body – the way you look. You start off with the goal of changing your body, making it trimmer, stronger, sexier, more acceptable. Full of hope that a new diet or exercise regime will make you feel confident, successful and attractive.

The cycle goes like this:

  • You participate with enthusiasm but then hit an inevitable road block
  • You become increasingly emotionally reactive which eventually leads to eating slip ups
  • Next, your internal critical voice starts up saying, “why bother, I’ve mucked it up anyway, may as well eat that cake.”
  • Then you get angry, irritable, reactive and you begin feeling overwhelmed
  • And on and on it goes in a vicious cycle of bingeing / dieting /excessive exercising and self loathing …

So you hate your body for more complex reasons than just the way it looks. Your body holds emotional pain and you try to run from it by distracting yourself with comfort food or you avoid it by exercising strict control over your food because you don’t know how to make the pain go away.

It is a really common experience that clients come to a psychotherapist about  – an eating addiction – and yet they end up talking about

“being anxious about fitting in, belonging, measuring up, being loveable and generally being socially acceptable.”

They come because they realize they can’t kick this inner critic to the curb on their own. They have tried many times and failed. They realize that if it were so easy to feel good in your skin, to truly be compassionate and kind to yourself on the inside no matter what happened, they would have done it by now.

Find relief from your body image woes by digging deeper into how and why…

You can’t live in a bubble, external pressures are inevitable in some form, but you can find freedom by looking at the root causes of body anxiety on the inside. The volume of the inner critic voice can get loud as these bad feelings about your shape and size create a world of pain. To combat this, Tara Brach has some sage advise she says

“my mind can be like a bad neighbourhood, so I try not to go there alone.”

So….If you catch yourself constantly criticizing your body maybe it’s time to consider getting some support. Therapy can help you learn to manage those overwhelming thoughts of “I am fat, this is out of control, I look awful”. A therapist can encourage you to foster a kind and compassionate relationship to your body. Don’t underestimate how relieving it can be learning to catch the judgy internal conversation early. This takes practise and many repetitions. It’s just like learning a new grip of the tennis racquet. You can learn to be curious about that critical inner voice, learn to challenge it and along the way develop a more compassionate way of reshaping your connection to your body.

PHOTO CREDIT: CANSTOCK

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

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

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

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

The Wounded Healer: How one therapist uses therapy, self-care and mindfulness in her own eating disorder recovery.

canstockphoto2478412

Welcome to my guest blogger series on women and the body.

This post is by counsellor and psychotherapist Miranda Egan . Miranda is a Master’s Qualified Integrative Psychotherapist.  She is passionate about working with adults and young adults in her private practice in Lane Cove in Sydney, Australia. Miranda works with clients regarding issues to do with the loss of self and connection to others. She sees people in person and via Skype.

Here Miranda shares with us her own struggle with an eating disorder and how therapy, self-care and mindfulness are crucial to recovery.

 

The Wounded Healer: How one therapist uses therapy, self-care and mindfulness in her own eating disorder recovery.

The job, ‘psychotherapist’, is often met with the presumption that we are completely sorted as human beings; in fact, most of us are wounded healers.

We all have vulnerabilities – it’s what makes us human.

I have a long and troubled relationship with my body, as the majority of women do. My eating disorder was hidden and undisclosed. When I did talk about it, people often replied, ‘you have nothing to worry about’ or ‘there is nothing wrong with you’, which pushed my shame and my inner voice further into the shadows.

I have always been complimented for my figure – ‘Oh you are so tall and thin, lucky you!’ I would accept this compliment and thought nothing of it until I had a period in my life which caused me to feel very out of control of events and people. The more I tried to have influence in my life, the more helpless I felt. I found my way to have influence; to stop eating, to get thin.

Control is something most of us want in life, or at least a degree of influence. This is why we write lists, plan and seek structure. It manifests itself in whatever way it can.  Sometimes this appears in healthy ways and others not so healthy.  Either way, I am clear it is in response to the need to self soothe and cope with life.

When I was in my eating disorder  – I starved myself and ate so little I could just about get through the day. I became addicted to the dizzy spells, to the stomach cramps and the fight with my will power to withhold food.  After a while I moved from feelings of empowerment, to a connection with my own self–destruction.  I started to believe my own ‘hype’ – thoughts such as, ‘you do not deserve food, or nurturing’ and ‘you can just waste away’.  These voices became louder and clearer to me.  I learnt through my eating disorder that I could live and die at the same time, undercover.  I was just existing.

When I look back on this stage of my life, I am horrified at how unkind, and uncompassionate I was to myself.  

However, what an insight into my own psyche I was given during this time. As I have healed, I know now when I am feeling vulnerable, I now have a choice; I can either choose to starve myself, denigrate myself, reduce myself or I can make the choice to talk about my fears, my vulnerabilities, look for influence and take up space in positive ways.

I now know that in order for me to heal from my eating disorder, I need to eat mindfully and choose food that I love and which nurtures me through nourishment.

I may always have the shadow of this attachment to restricting myself or a propulsion to revert to old behaviours should I feel as though I am losing control. However, I am now kinder to myself and if I fall into restricting food on occasion, I accept that there may be something I am struggling to control in my life, thus an inner conversation takes place about what is missing or what can I do differently to help me deal with what is going on externally in my life. This acceptance allows me to be okay with myself without chastising or criticizing the part of me who feels small and vulnerable.

I learnt how to be in dialogue with myself in this kind and caring way with the help of a good therapist. I learnt that I needed to nurture a new relationship with food. I did this by planting vegetables and tending to them as they grew.  I took joy in offering them to others and slowly I felt able to connect with food as nourishment again.  This mindful activity helped me to understand it takes work to create food; it is an act of love and toil.  So should be the relationship with myself.

Although I perceive this time as passed, it is sometimes a struggle for me that people close to me still refuse to acknowledge that period of my life as an eating disorder. Almost like it is shunned or not considered as dangerous as someone who was hospitalized with acute Anorexia. Many clients feel like this if they don’t fit the DSM criteria. In addition, I am facing a new time in my life where I am needing to take medication with side effects which have altered my body shape and I am back in a phase of not being in control of how I look right now. It is a constant open dialogue I have with my body, mind and heart.  One that offers acceptance of the vessel I inhabit, the relationship with food that I love and a good relationship with myself.  There will always be judgments from external sources, they do not know my story, and they have their own narrative.

Self-care, as a daily practice, is essential at times of darkness and vulnerability. 

The practice of keeping an open dialogue with myself about what I want and need is crucial, for example, ‘what needs to happen for me to feel okay?’ And the reminder to just ‘be’ is often considered new and alien.  Gentle reminders that I am important via myself, loved ones and in therapy, present a wondrous opportunity of building a good quality relationship with self and others.

I have travelled this stormy journey of eating disorder recovery and I now work with others to help them recover their loss of self. Contact me for an appointment if you need support in your recovery.

x Miranda

Don’t miss the upcoming Women & the Body posts – sign up to read them first here.

PHOTO CREDIT: CANSTOCK

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

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

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

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

When I met Oprah: VIP Sound Check & An Evening With Oprah

12-12-2015 Sydney -"An Evening With Oprah"

12-12-2015 Sydney -“An Evening With Oprah”

Photo Credit: George Burns

As a 25 year-long viewer of The Oprah Show, last Saturday I crossed my number one off my bucket list – I met Oprah at the Sydney VIP Sound Check & An Evening With Oprah.

I know…cool right?!

Meeting Oprah was everything I imagined it would be. She is the real deal – present, authentic, warm and inviting. Her self-deprecating sense of humour is hilarious – this woman can truly laugh at herself!

12-12-2015 Sydney -"An Evening With Oprah"

12-12-2015 Sydney -“An Evening With Oprah”

Photo Credit: George Burns

I was blessed to be seated up front and one of only 5-10 people in the audience to have my question answered.

At the heart of the work I do as a psychotherapist, I help women discover who they really are, and how to find value, meaning and purpose in life (particularly out of their symptoms and suffering). Crisis as a catalyst for growth, and living life with purpose were two of the main themes throughout the night. My question for Oprah was, ‘What brings you value, meaning and purpose in life?’

BUT…in the moment, my therapist self went out the window and I went with expressing my gratitude by sharing how watching The Oprah Show helped me turn my life around.

There were many guests over the years who were fundamental to helping me heal from my early childhood wounding, disordered eating and then a major existential and spiritual crisis as I struggled with repeated failed IVF treatments and the possibility of never having a ‘happy family’.

I recently blogged about How Oprah and Rudine helped me overcome my eating disorder so I shared with Oprah about Rudine, eating disorder recovery and how I found value, meaning and purpose out of my suffering, and through my work as an eating psychology and eating disorder specialist. Oprah shared with me how Rudine profoundly changed her life too – the way she interviewed, the way she did the show and the way she looked at all future guests!

Towards the end of our chat, we talked about how most eating disorder recovery treatment does not include spirituality, yet spiritual issues are significant in both the etiology and recovery of eating disorders. She said, ‘yes, and you will see later in the show, it’s all about spirituality’.

After the sound check Q&A, we were invited up on stage to have our photo taken with Oprah. After my official photo was taken, she looked at me, gave me a high 10 and and said, ‘so you suffered with an eating disorder and now you help people recover – that’s great, good on you!’

12-12-2015 Sydney -"An Evening With Oprah"

12-12-2015 Sydney -“An Evening With Oprah”

Photo Credit: George Burns

oprahprofile

12-12-2015 Sydney -“An Evening With Oprah”

Photo Credit: George Burns

From start to finish, this was a fantastic experience. If there is someone you would love to meet and they offer a VIP experience, go for it – it is a once and a life-time opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Many thanks to the other VIP participants (you made the evening super special), The Dainty Group, Sun Super, Swisse and the Arena staff on the night!

Who are your role models? Did someone get you through a difficult time? I’d love to hear who! If you had the opportunity to meet them – what would you ask or say to them? If you met Oprah in Australia – I’d love to hear about your experience! Please comment below 🙂

Keep your eye out for my next blog 30 Life Lessons from An Evening With Oprah

Please note that the photos in this blog are intended for VIP participants’ personal and social media use only. No further distribution or sale is authorized.

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)Sydney soul-centred psychotherapist, therapeutic counsellor, eating psychology and transformational life-coach, Jodie Gale, 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. Jodie is the Disordered Eating Consultant for Nungkari Treatment Centre, former Assistant Clinical Director at a Sydney Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Centre, 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.

Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy and helping women to find value, meaning and purpose out of their suffering.

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

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

How Oprah and Rudine helped me overcome my eating disorder

OprahSydneyTour

OK, so I am totally obsessed with Oprah…

…and I have been since I used to bunk off high-school to watch The Oprah Show in my lunch break. That was all the way back in 1986/1987! In 2010, and in preparation for the final season of twenty five years of The Oprah Show, I was interviewed by a Harpo producer as an ultimate viewer.

It really comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am counting down the days until December 12 when I will finally meet my 30 year-long role model. LOL, I can feel a Mary Tyler Moore/Jackie Jackson Oprah ‘ugly cry’ coming on 😉 (You can buy Meet & Greet Oprah tickets here!).

With Oprah heading down under, my eating disorder recovery story recently featured on Mel’s Blog at PowerFMRadio as part of an Oprah special. I love hearing from my clients how one inspirational person or moment was instrumental in their decision to choose recovery – read below how watching The Oprah Show was the catalyst for my eating disorder recovery and my journey towards health and wellbeing.

NB: This post and the videos may be triggering – please take care if you are still suffering with an eating disorder.

How Oprah and Rudine helped me overcome my eating disorder

“If I can leave you with one thing, it is to live your life on purpose – live your life on purpose.’– Oprah at the Opera House, Sydney

For most of my childhood, teenage years and then young adult life, I had chronic low-self-worth and a deep sense of shame which manifested in self-loathing and self-destructive behaviours around food, weight and exercise.

I started fat talking to myself at around 5 years old. At 8, my body shame was so bad, I wouldn’t even swim in my own backyard pool without a t-shirt to hide my ‘fat’ and by 13 until I was 27, I suffered with chronic yoyo/fad dieting, binge eating and eventually bulimia nervosa – sometimes binging and purging up to 30 times a day.

The cycle would always start with dieting – I jumped from diet to diet losing 6 or 7 kilos only to end up bingeing and putting on 10; each time feeling more and more shame and more and more like a failure. This is probably not surprising to anyone who chronically diets – it’s a well-known fact that our set-point often returns or raises higher through dieting. For the majority of people, dieting leads to weight gain, unhealthy behaviours and obsessions around food and in many cases disordered eating – as was the case for me.

There were many guests on Oprah over the years who I identified with and who called me to awaken to a new way of being but watching Rudine’s story and her suffering with anorexia was definitely a major wake-up call into my recovery journey. I wept as I watched the show where it was announced that Rudine had died and I thought, ‘I need help or I am going to die’. Shortly after, I made an appointment with a psychotherapist who specialised in eating disorders and started my journey through weekly depth-psychotherapy.

In a world where thin is increasingly a measurement of success, it was thought-changing for me to see a woman as successful as Oprah, show authenticity and vulnerability as she shared her own battle with food, weight and dieting (watch her story here and most recently, being interviewed by Brené Brown here)  . This is why so many women identify with her. In many ways, she did the work for us by allowing herself to be vulnerable in front of the world.

Many years later, Oprah talks in this video about the difference between self and ego in relation to weight. The solution is not dieting (this is the ego talking); it is to focus on physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being (this is the self talking).

Along with guests such as Marianne Williamson, Geneen Roth, and more recently Brené Brown, she has raised awareness and highlighted how so many women feel about their relationship with food, body & self:

  • How we get stuck in fat shaming ourselves
  • How we misleadingly believe our thin self is more worthy of love than our fat self
  • How we use food to comfort, soothe and ease stress
  • How we can learn to focus on health, not thinness
  • How we can embrace the body we have right now and practice gratitude towards our body
  • How when our food and weight is out of control, it’s really balance we are craving
  • How our relationship with food, weight and the body carry important messages and opportunities for us to discover more about our true self
  • How we can move from identification with the ego and move towards identification with our authentic self
  • How we need to prioritise ourselves and make time for replenishing energy
  • How we need to stay focused on being fully alive, awake, present, engaged and connected in every area of our lives
  • How we are ‘more than’ our body, our status and our position in life
  • How we can rediscover our loveliness
  • How deep down, we are spiritually bankrupt and hungry for something other than food – for spiritual qualities such as connection, love and self-compassion

When I saw Oprah at the Sydney show in 2010, she ended the show with, “If I can leave you with one thing, it is to live your life on purpose – live your life on purpose.” She also talked about each of us speaking to the world as she has, through our work.

Having recovered from chronic dieting, bingeing and bulimia, I went on to train as a psychotherapist and now specialise in eating disorders, eating psychology and women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns. Over the last 15+ years, I have helped 100s of women transform their relationship with food, body and self. I regularly pay it forward with the lessons I learnt from Oprah, her guests and more recently, my personal favourite – Super Soul Sunday.

This is what I know for sure….

In order to recover from food, weight and body image concerns, we need to redirect the focus from weight to Health at Every Size and in Oprah’s words, to develop and listen to our internal GPS for the Soul.

So many models for working with these issues pathologise our symptoms – we are so much more than this! The essence for me when it comes to recovery is to find the value, meaning and purpose contained within our food, weight and body image symptoms and concerns – they are continuously calling us to awaken and pay attention to the Divine inherent within.

Rudine, without knowing it, was way ahead of the times – she told Oprah her anorexia felt like a spiritual battle inside herself and that she needed to accept herself. I couldn’t agree more!

X Jodie

P.S. Since my story was published, Oprah announced her investment in Weight Watchers – both personally, through participating in the diet and professionally, through financial investment. This is something eating disorder specialists (me included), Health at Every Size advocates and many women recovering from food weight and body image issues feel deeply disappointed about. Fingers crossed Oprah can inject some much needed soul and spirit into Weight Watchers and redirect the focus from weight-loss to size diversity and health and well-being at every size.

Who or what has been the inspiration for your recovery?  Add your comments below!

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, search for a psychotherapist in your area who can work in a holistic and soulful way with these issues. It takes time and a commitment to 1-2 times a week therapy but it’s worth it – recovery is possible!

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)Sydney soul-centred psychotherapist, therapeutic counsellor, eating psychology and transformational life-coach, Jodie Gale, 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. Jodie is the Disordered Eating Consultant for Nungkari Treatment Centre, former Assistant Clinical Director at a Sydney Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Centre, 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.

Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy and helping women to find value, meaning and purpose out of their suffering.

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

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

 

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