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low fat diet mental health

Low Fat Diet Mental Health

Low Fat Diet Mental Health

About two thirds of your brain is actually made of fat. Ponder that for a moment. Is there  a Low Fat Diet Mental Health connection?  For more than 40 years scientists and dietitians have told us that eating fat is bad. The message has been that all animal fat is bad, and you should avoid it when you can. They urged us to eat light oils derived from plants, such as sunflower, safflower and soybean oil. Dietitians told us to replace butter with margarine.

The origin of  the low fat diet fad

And now it turns out that this advice was completely, totally, 100% wrong. This advice was based upon research done by a scientist called Ansel Keys. He found that there was less heart disease in countries where the population ate less saturated fat. He therefore concluded that saturated fat was the cause of heart disease. This message was accepted and promoted by US health agencies and became official policy of governments all round the world for decades.

At the time, many scientists challenged this thinking. However, those scientists were steamrolled out of the way, their funding was reduced, and they were publicly vilified. The result was that alternative theories quickly disappeared. The only acceptable research in nutrition was research that aimed to prove that saturated fat was bad. But it now looks like the Keys research method was flawed.

The role of sugar in mental health

Recent research is now pointing the finger at sugar. There is a movement gaining strength now that says sugar is the cause of heart disease. It also points the finger at other simple carbohydrates. These are things like wheat flour, cornflour, rice, and to a certain extent potatoes. More and more studies suggest that it is a combination of white flour and sugar that is causing the obesity epidemic.

I went into my local supermarket recently. I went searching for any food products that did not contain sugar, or wheat flour, or cornstarch, or rice starch. Only three products in five aisles of packaged foods had none. Makes you think,

This is of more than passing interest to therapists. The research into low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet has shown that as well causing physical diseases, it may well be responsible for a range of mental illnesses, and depression in particular.

Suggested reading on Low Fat Diet Mental Health

There is now more and more compelling evidence that changing your diet to high-fat, low carbohydrate can actually cure long-term mental illnesses.

It is very early days yet, and more research is needed. Maybe you need to look at your client's diet as part of your therapy approach?

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/diagnosis-diet/201903/the-brain-needs-animal-fat

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/advancing-psychiatry/201904/chronic-schizophrenia-put-remission-without-medication

 

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binge eating

Binge Eating Metaphor therapy

Binge Eating Therapy

Today I had a repeat client. She came for smoking about two years ago. She told me she was able to give up smoking 30 a day, and hasn't smoked since. But her problem is that she is binge eating. It is not cravings. She got much heavier and then lost a lot but is still overweight.

The issue is binge eating after work. Not every day, but several times a week. Something in her head tells her that she should not be eating, but she just keep doing it anyway.  When I hear a client say "I know I should't but I do it anyway", then I assume that this would be a psychological problem associated with childhood.

Childhood roots of Bingeing

Her father was the High Commissioner for Germany. She was brought up there until she was 12. Then she came to New Zealand. At first they lived in the capital, but then they moved to a tiny town in a remote coastal area. She didn't mind that place, it was on the beach although there was nothing to do. Her parents divorced age 14. She moved schools every two years. She hated her stepfather so she left home at age 16, got married early and had kids early.

Her mother was a life long weight watcher member and seemed to be obsessed about her weight. My client said that her mother had never actually told her not to eat or directed her in any way about it. But I felt it was completely unlikely that growing up in that household she would not have picked up something about an emotional connection to eating.

It was notable that she didn't think there was anything strange about the multiple interruptions in her young life, and she didn't think it had any effect on her emotional state at all. Just a normal childhood. "Oh, and daddy had lots of affairs".

After some questioning she said that she was a bit worried that if she became little she would get noticed, and would be somehow 'out there'. Then she said that she realised it was a bit more than that. If she became little she would feel awesome, but then would be worrying about whether she was going to fail or not. And she feared the humiliation and criticism.

Metaphor Therapy for Binge Eating

There was so much going on in her life that I could not identify which bit to focus on. So I decided to do Regression and see what came up.

But even as I was talking, something in me changed. I was going to do regression, but chose to do metaphor replacement therapy instead.

After a Relaxation induction, I focused on getting her to think about the feeling of failure. Feeling isolated and embarrassed and being noticed. I asked, "What thing is that feeling like?" She said  "It's a little box". It was blue, same all the way round, hollow, no lid, cold and smooth, with sharp edges and it was light. I asked what she want to have happen to it. "I want it to go away. "

But I couldn't get it to say what that would mean for her, or what she would be able to do if it went away. I went back to trying to get her to change this box. She could make it bigger and bigger, but she could not then make it smaller from that size. When it got bigger it changed colour to white. I encouraged her to explore every aspect of it. But it stayed solid, huge, hard, strong, white. She really didn't want to change it. I tried getting her to imagine all sorts of tools she could use. I asked her to hit it with a hammer. No effect. She was able to make it bigger and bigger and bigger. But it remained unchanging, solid and enduring, and she really just couldn't get rid of it.

Eventually I suggested that everything gets old, and that started a process of change. Eventually, she could  imagine the thing crumbling.

Secondary Binge Eating metaphor

Then it turned into a grey rock. I tried to suggest that she could find tools with which she could hammer it, or scratch it, or break it up, or do whatever she wanted to it. But couldn't find anything. After much prodding, eventually the rock turned into a flat stone and she was able to break up the flat stone and throw it into a rubbish bin.

That got rid of whatever feeling the blue represented. I brought her out of trance. She said 'I feel much lighter now'. We talked some about how she feels when she is over weight. She said people regard you differently when you are big.

She said "I won't let people treat me as the funny little fat girl. I won't let people put me in that box" And I asked "Would that be a little blue box?"

 

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losing weight and mental health

Losing weight and mental health

Losing weight and mental health

How much overlap is there between losing weight and mental health? Put it another way, should hypnotherapists focus on the weight, or look to improve mental health? There doesn't seem to be any quick fix when it comes to losing weight. Perhaps we should be looking at the reasons why people eat rather than worrying about how the eat or what they eat?

Most nutritionists agree that effective weight loss comes about because of a permanent change in thinking and behavior. The weight loss is actually a byproduct of these changes.

Eating and beliefs

I am not thinking here about anorexia, or bulimia or other eating disorders which clearly are clinical anxiety problems. I am thinking about people with normal lives who just cannot lose weight.

In my practice, I believe that behavior and belief is the thing to change when addressing weight issues. Focusing on losing weight instead of focusing on becoming healthy inevitably leads to putting the weight right back on again. In simple terms, even if all you do is to instill better habits and a positive attitude towards exercise, that still benefits them even if they don't lose any weight.

People who over eat seem to have built up a pattern of eating as a response to stress. If you take away the comfort and reward of eating, then this can just increase their distress. This triggers even more eating. Hypnotherapists should focus on teaching the client ways to deal with the stress.

Deal with the whole client and their lifestyle

We need to deal with the client, their environment, and their history, at the same time. This multidimensional approach will give better results than focusing purely on one one behavior. Eating involves a mixture of biological and psychological and social triggers and rewards. We need to address all of these simultaneously.

Laboratory studies have shown that drug addicts can get a high just by thinking about taking drugs to get a high. The habits and rituals associated with taking the drugs are an essential part of the high. It is likely that the same thing happens with people who use food as a distraction or a comfort. If you remove the eating and the associated preliminary behaviours then you are likely to over sensitize the person to environmental triggers. Changing their pattern of eating requires you to find substitutes for these emotional rewards.

If your client tells you that "maintaining weight is a constant struggle" or something like that, then it shows that you are dealing with a psychological problem. Look for the origin of that psychological problem and you will be on the way to helping your client take it off and keep it off.

 

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emotional abuse

Emotional Abuse Hypnotherapy

Shame and emotional abuse

This client feels guilty about her body size. Her pattern is feeling bad about herself, eating, then feeling guilt, shame and anger about eating and food choices. And it all stems from emotional abuse.

"I feel ashamed of my body, and what I am doing to myself. I eat because I feel worthless." "Every day, I meet people I went to university with, who knew me then, and I know they remember my behaviour. People are still judging me for what I was then".

"And what were you?" "At Uni, I was the party girl, the girl who got drunk at the student bar most nights,  and went off with anybody. I was always first up for the wet tee-shirt competition, the one who struggled with every assignment. A loser. A waste of time. An embarrassment."

History of emotional abuse

We discussed her upbringing at some length. I wanted to try to identify where these feelings came from. Her mother was mentally unstable, a prescription drug addict, only focused on herself.

She told one story of when she was eight years old. Playing with her brother and a knife, she cut her finger badly. She preferred to let it bleed rather than risk another outburst from her mother. Eventually her brother made her go and tell her mother. The mother immediately screamed, "Look what you have done to me, my day is ruined, now I have to take you to the hospital!"

All her life, she was told "Stop crying, get on with it, harden up". She was not allowed to show emotion growing up, and now she can't. My client grew up feeling not wanted or valued. She always felt not good enough.

Reacting to emotional abuse

After a while she began to realize that how she feels is the result of the emotional abuse she went through. She is now examining the effect it had on that child's beliefs about her self. It explains why she was the class drunk at uni. She wanted love and affection and would do anything to get it, including throwing herself at anyone.  I  told her there is no basis for guilt about that, "You were merely trying to get what you never got at home".

Reversing feelings of emotional abuse

She said she feels angry all the time. I did the WHY-WHY-WHY exercise on why she resents her mother. She was not able to get any image or memory but liked the exercise. I told her to do it when she gets some spare time.

Then I did Metaphor Replacement Therapy MRT on her feelings of anger. She got a feeling of boiling lava. Seething, red, constrained in something. She said it was like in a beaker. Then she said "there is more, much more, huge outside as well".

I decided to do the therapy in stages. I got her to change the smaller flow of lave, the one in the beaker. After guided suggestions, the lava in the beaker got dark, and solid. Then she broke the chilled rock into pieces with a hammer.

Then I turned her attention to the massive lava flow. After a lot of persuasion, she got it to shrink and cool and go dark. Again she broke it up into pieces with a hammer.

It is early days yet, but she said afterwards, "I am feeling that I have made progress and I understand my own feelings better now."

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smoking for attention

Smoking for attention

Smoking for attention

This client could not stop smoking. She went into hospital recently with some sort of pulmonary obstruction. She did not smoke or even feel like smoking when she was in hospital. But the moment she left hospital she started back smoking.

Clearing the need to smoke

I got her to think of a picture of her feelings about smoking. She said "It is a huge cigarette rammed into my gob". I used this as material for a Metaphor Replacement Therapy. I got her to describe the cigarette she was picturing. "It is black and brown. It is being pushed down into my throat." "I can't breathe." I asked her "What would you like to have happen to that huge cigarette rammed into you gob?" She said "blow it up. Or shred it." I asked "which do you prefer?" "Blow it up" So we did. She blew it up in a great explosion. Bits were floating through the air and she could breathe.

I then asked her to check if there was anything left of those feelings of smoking. She said "there are still some cravings."

Working on her cravings 

MRT on her feelings of cravings. So I asked her what the cravings looked like. She said they were there in her chest. They were "black with a bit of yellow. Not that big." I encouraged her to start making changes to the images she was getting. "Getting more yellow." The yellow was getting stronger, but she could change the image more than that.

I was thinking of lungs and the image of balloons came to my mind. I used this imagery to convert the cravings into black and yellow balloons and get them to rise up into the sky. She was comfortable doing this. They shrank and went up and popped in the air.

I finished with some direct suggestion about "feeling good, capable, worthwhile, having a role in the family and so much to look forward to, etc."

Then I gave her images of flicking a switch, going through a closed door, changing clothes, and suggested she would find the right thing to represent how she was changed.

Smoking for attention

We started talking about her upbringing and why she felt bad about herself.

Her mother was a total slut, she went out drinking, fighting, totally ignored her children,  but brought her daughters up to be complete prudes. She mentioned that her mother and other men were into voyeur sex and all sorts of things. She mentioned a rumor that her supposed father might not be, and her grandfather was the real father. Nobody knows.

We talked about smoking. She smoked since she was fourteen. "It was surprising that I kept at it, because is made me really sick. So sick my grandmother had to nurse me. It was lovely."

I then suggested that perhaps she kept on with the smoking because that was the only way she ever got any attention? She thought about that and said "You know, I think you are right". She then told me about moving to a new school and pretending to be sick so that she could have time with her mother. "Maybe I am smoking for attention". "I have felt rejection all my life."

This client hated smoking when she started, they made her sick. But being sick meant she got attention.

Smoking for attention maybe a common reason for smoking.

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Eating is out of control

Eating is out of control

Eating is out of control

My client today was a huge obese woman.  She told me "I can't stop putting on weight. My eating is out of control".   looking after son's kids

She said that she had always battled with weight and issues of control. Right now she feels she is out of control. She said "It got worse six months ago. Before that I had lost 15 kg. Now I have put it all back on again, plus more". This is a common story with people to come to hypnotherapy for weight loss. In my experience, issues with weight are always emotional issues. When you trace it back to the origin it is usually rooted in how the client was treated in childhood. In this case, the issue was emotional, but was actually rooted in the recent past.

Why eating is out of control

Six months ago, one of her children dumped her four children on her because they couldn't cope. Her child and the partner are into drugs and alcohol. They can't cope with life, can't cope with their children, and abandoned them with their grandmother. It was supposed to be for two weeks. But the parents went off and gave everything over to their drug habit.

My client now feels that imposed upon, but cannot do anything about it. She feels that this is so unfair. She brought up her own children, launched them into adulthood, and was looking forward to spending the next 10 years as an indulgent grandma to her grandchildren. And now she's back having a full-time job looking after for young children. She sees no way out of it and no one else in the family is offering to help.

Longing for an empty nest

She is beginning to resent the children and acting grumpy with them.  She cannot sent the children back to their parents. Social security will not take them, because they are not in danger where they are. Her other children reject the parents as losers who need to front up to their responsibilities, and won't help.

There is no way out.  Her expectations of a lovely retirement hasn't happened.  She expected things to be perfect, but it has all turned out wrong. It's all getting too much for her and she sinking into despair.

This a classic case of late onset depression. She has just given up and eats to comfort herself.

How to treat eating is out of control

I talked about how to deal with her depression. The first thing is to recognize that it is not her responsibility. I told her to have some compassion for herself and her situation. She feels guilt over resenting the children, and somehow having failed her own daughter. I am not a counselor, but I suggested various ways that she could seek help. Together we agreed a goal to get these children looked after by someone else within six weeks.

Then to help her get the energy and confidence to reach that goal, I used hypnosis. I took her into trance and did an extended parts metaphor therapy to identify the parts she needed, and to get those parts energized.

Afterwards, she said 'I can find a way forward now. I am not going to put up with this any longer. Thank you."

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food aversion

Food Aversion removed in one session

Food Aversion

I had an interesting client this week, and a great result. The client was a young man with food aversion. He could only eat a limited range of foods, and hated trying anything new. The idea of eating something different raised powerful negative feelings and made him feel sick inside.

He had been like this for as long as he could remember. His mother told him that up to age two or thereabouts he would eat anything, but then one day he refused to eat something and it all got worse from there on. Now he is embarrassed to go out to a restaurant. If he does force himself to eat something new, even if he quietly spits it out, he feels sick for the rest of the meal and usually can't eat anything.

Indicators of Food Aversion

He had been dragged round nutritionists and doctors for most of his childhood, and nothing worked. He came to see me because his girlfriend was tired of uncomfortable social situations and thought that trying a hypnotist could not do any harm, and might possibly do some good.

When I saw him he was embarrassed and nervous, but open to new ideas and willing to give it a go. He described his condition to me and how he was trying to extend the range of things he could eat, with little success. He felt it was the texture in his mouth that he hated, rather than the flavor. I got him to describe in detail how he felt when he was faced with having to eat something different. He was a bit hesitant but said that he felt strong discomfort in his stomach at the thought of it.

I wanted to get as strong a feeling as possible for me to work with. My wife had been given a present of  halva, a middle eastern dessert. I got a piece of that, and placed it in front of him. It was unlikely that he would have eaten it before and it looked like an unappetizing lump of greyish stodge. I asked him to look at it and then asked him to eat it. He looked panicked and wanting to get away. I used this feeling to get him to explore his own reactions to it.

Working with his feelings

I asked him to close his eyes. Then I got him to describe out loud what he was feeling inside. It took quite a bit of encouraging and cajoling to get him start describing what he was feeling. He overcome his reluctance and described his feelings about it first as a big, messy bundle. On further pressing he said it was "darky, purply, gray" in color. Then that it felt light and not heavy. And round like a big round ball. It was made of stringy stuff all tied up together.

This was perfect material for Metaphor Replacement, so I tried getting him to imagine it shrinking. He couldn't do that. Then I asked him to imagine holding it in his hands, and to bring to mind the image of a potter moulding clay. He could do this, but the original big messy bundle just kept coming back.

That obviously wasn't working so I switched to the Attribute Reversal. I got him to name the opposite of big, the opposite or messy, the opposite of "darky purply gray", and so on. In a few minutes he had reversed every aspect of his feeling.

Removing the Food Aversion

I then tested him and asked what feeling he was getting now when he thought of eating the halva. He said 'Nothing much'.

This was exactly what I was looking for, so I asked him to open his eyes again. I asked him to look at the halva. I said "what do you feel about eating that now?" He said, 'Nothing'. Then I asked him to take a bite of the halva. To his surprise he picked it and ate a bit. He said he didn't like it, and wouldn't be eating it again, but there was no phobic reaction whatsoever.

I then called his girlfriend into the office and got him to demonstrate his new ability. He took another bite of the halva - and got a great big hug from the girlfriend.

An excellent result, no formal hypnosis at all, and the whole thing took less than thirty minutes.

A few days later I got this:

Hi David,

 I just want to thank you again for how you helped Bryan. 

After the session we went out for lunch and he had venison and red wine sausages, and has tried something new every day! Its amazing what you do 🙂

 Many thanks

It very gratifying to be able to help people get over their problems.  What do you feel when you know that you have helped someone? Or when you can't help?

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overeating loss of control

Overeating loss of control

Overeating loss of control

Many of my clients come for weight loss. The seem to be as many reasons for overeating as there are people who want to lose weight. This client was obese. She told me that she had  battled with weight all her life. The problem seems to center around issues of control. Right now she feels she is out of control. She just feels compelled to get into the cookie tin, even though she knows she shouldn't.

I asked her when all this had started. She said that it got worse six months ago. Previous to that she had lost 15 kg. Now she has put it all on again, plus more. I asked her "what happened six months ago?"

"Six months ago, one of my children dumped their four young children on me because they couldn't cope with them." I asked her why the children's parents couldn't cope. She said "The pair of them are into drugs and alcohol and just can't cope with the children."

The cause of the overeating

The result is that my client now feels imposed upon, but cannot do anything about it. She feels that this is so unfair. She brought up her own children and was looking forward to spending the next 10 years as an indulgent grandma to her grandchildren. And now she's back having a full-time job and looking after for young children. She sees no way out of it and no one else is offering to help.

She is beginning to resent the children and acting grumpy with them. These are classic depression symptoms.  I asked her how she felt about the children. She told me she loves them, but they're not her children. She is done with children. Her own children are all grown up and gone. She had 18 years of motherhood and all the hard work that goes along with that. As soon as they got married she expected to have a lovely retirement, and it hasn't happened.

Overeating, loss of control and resentment

She feels at everything she planned for and worked for has gone wrong. The dream was of taking the grandchildren to the park on a Sunday and buying them ice cream, having a lovely time, and then handing them back. But instead she is now feeding and dressing four young children full-time.

She feels resentful of the children and their parents. She feels helpless. The children can't just be put out on the street. Somehow, she has ended up being responsible for them. She feels that there is nothing she can do about it. No one is helping her. Social Security will not intervene because the children are in a safe environment as far as they are concerned. None of her sisters are lining up to help. It has all spiraled out of control.

Getting your weight under control

The classic response to lack of control is either anger or despair. In her case she has just given up.  She eats for comfort. And as soon as she's eaten it, she feels unhappy at putting on weight, gets resentful, and the whole cycle starts again. It's all getting too much for her and she is rapidly sinking into despair.

I investigated a bit more and confirmed that she has had symptoms of depression on and off most of her life. What was most apparent is that she has Categorical Thinking. People with categorical thinking believe that things should be a certain way, and if they are not then they reject them totally. In this case, her expectation was of an easy relaxed retirement, with the bonus of grand kids to play with. What she actually got was an endless amount of work, dealing with someone else's responsibility, and no way out of it. That triggered her categorical thinking, and so she has just given up. The weight gain is a direct consequence of the feeling of losing control.

She said that her weight had yo-yo'd up and down throughout her life. I think that a great many other people are similarly affected by loss of control issues.

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treating fussy eaters

Fussy eaters are created, not born

Fussy eaters are created, not born

Fussy eaters can be a problem. Kids are always making comments on their food and declaring that they don't like this or they don't like that, but by the next time they see that food they have forgotten all about it. Except where an overanxious mother feels she needs to try to please the child all the time. The basic anxiety in this situation is the mother's fear that the child will not love her if she forces the child to eat something. The child then uses food to start controlling the mother. Then a tussle of wills begins with the child always the winner.

Most mothers recognize this behavior for what it is and distract the child and the matter is forgotten. Some mothers go in for the 'you will eat this or won't leave the table till you do!' style of management and set the child up for eating disorders in adulthood.

And some mothers give in to every demand, and then reinforce it by constantly reminding the child 'Oh you don't like beans do you?' The mother tells anyone who will listen 'No, he can't eat ...' whatever it is. This sets up a reinforcing cycle in which the child is brainwashed into believing that they can't eat certain foods and so they don't get offered them, so they don't eat them and so on. In one reported case the child would only eat orange juice and crackers.

Satisfying fussy eaters

The solution is to work on the child's psychology. A good approach is to use every child's belief in magic to convince the fussy eater that they can eat something new. Hypnotize the child and tell them a story about a boy who ate a special soup. Describe the magic soup as being some particular color, or having some noticeable ingredient like corn kernels. Then get the mother to make a soup that matches the description of the magic soup.This gets the child eating whatever it is that is missing for their health. The hypnotist can suggest that once the boy drank the soup he was able to eat anything at all.

Then the mother can reinforce the idea of the magic soup to empower the child to try new things. As soon as the child has tried a new food the mother can use this to give the child  a unique sense of importance.

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Comfort eating

Comfort eating and teenage anxiety

I had a new client yesterday who came to me about weight loss. To start with, I really could not understand what was motivating her to overeat. Depression is the most common source of being overweight, but this client showed no signs of it. She seemed bright and cheerful, although she was clearly well overweight.

I asked her what she got from eating. Like most clients, she said she has no idea why she ate. "I eat when I'm bored". "I just like chocolate and snacks". "If there is a snack in my desk, I eat it". "So why do you buy the snacks?", I asked. "I don't know. I just love eating."

Sports career ruined

I asked her if she had always been overweight. "No", she said. "Up until about age 16 I was really skinny, really fit. And then I injured my knee. I loved playing softball, it was my life, and then it was all over. Soon after that I started putting weight on and have battled with it ever since".

I have heard this before from athletes. They put their whole heart and soul into becoming good at the sport. They become really good, and hope to make a living as a player. And then they get injured, and their sporting career is over. It is a devastating blow for young person, and many athletes go through a period of despair and resentment. After that the athlete feels they have nothing to lose, nothing to live for, so they get into smoking, drinking, drugs and whatever else they want to do. And then they find they can't stop it.

I suspected that might be the case for this client. "How did you feel when you could no longer play softball?" She said "Oh, it wasn't just the softball. I got a terrible attack of asthma immediately after that as well."

A perfect childhood

It has been my experience that asthma is usually associated with stress. Asthma in children is usually associated with stress with the parents, and at home. So I asked her how she got on with her parents. "I had a wonderful childhood. I really loved my parents. We got on really well". Usually when a client says they had a wonderful childhood, I suspect they're hiding something. So I probed a bit more.

It turned out that my client was the middle child. Her older sister bullied her, but no more than sisters normally do. For some reason her parents were very hard on her older sister, but really indulged my client. "I remember going away for six or eight weeks in the summer on holiday with my parents camping and having a wonderful time with them. On my birthday I always got cakes and presents and chocolate. Really, I could have anything I wanted."

And then it all went wrong

So, summarizing I said "So you injured your knee and got asthma". "Yes" she said, "and then I went away to live with relatives in a different town." Because of her intense asthma she was advised to leave her home town and go to a much drier atmosphere. So she moved away from home and lived with some distant cousins. They were cold and distant and not very happy getting a teenager forced on them. And thus started a period of intense unhappiness for her. And this was when she began to eat.

It was now clear why she was addicted to eating. At the time she was living in a cold, unhappy place. She had lost all her friends. The passion of her life, softball, was over. She was no longer the golden girl who was indulged by her parents. Her life was empty, and turned to comfort eating.
Part of her unconscious mind was trying to get back to those wonderful days of holidays and Christmas when she was given whatever she wanted. It was her sad attempt to get back some happiness. And that was what her eating behaviour was all about. And she had been eating ever since, for more than 20 years she had been overweight. Since then she had got married and her parents had died.

Choosing the therapy

It seemed to me that my client was stuck in the past. She was trying to get back to a golden time, and had to be helped to move on from there. Thinking about psychological resources, using her mother as a resource seemed like the most promising approach.

I decided to use a script called Bridge to Freedom. This includes leading the client in trance to a bridge. On the bridge there is a Figure of Power who helps the client to get rid of whatever it is that is holding them back. I took her through the script, adjusting it to her own particular circumstances. I fully expected that she would see the Figure of Power as her mother.

Then I used the shortened version of another script called Cathedral of Parts. In this script the client is taken into something that represents their own inner mind. Then all the parts that make up the person's personality are brought out. One of them that is not doing what it should is singled out and changed. Normally the client says that they saw all different parts of themselves in various forms.

Coming out of trance

When I brought the client out of trance, we talked for a while about what she had experienced. She said "I feel completely different about eating now". I asked who the figure on the bridge was. She said "I think it was me". This meant that she had been using her own resources on the bridge. Using your own resources is much more powerful than getting resources from somewhere else.

I asked what the parts look like. And to my great surprise, she said "they were all foods". It seems that, in this particular case, it was actually particular foods that were her problem. It really was chocolate and snacks that were the culprits. So in her mind, she has changed her relationship with them.

And that should be the end of her comfort eating problem.

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