The whole dynamic around how difficult it is for anyone struggling with an Eating Disorder to commit to engaging in therapy in order to change, was clarified for me one day when a new client who had booked an initial session, texted me to say “I’m still on the fence”. This is the most honest any client has ever been up front, about committing to the work involved in actually changing their behaviours and leaving their Eating Disorder behind.
In “Fat is a Family Affair” (141-42), Judi Hollis says:
“The old line goes, “there’s good news, and there’s bad news”. So first the bad news. Every food-obsessed person (sic) must face the fact that they are suffering from a lifelong illness, an illness that requires extreme measures to overcome. Now, the good news. Just because it is difficult doesn’t make it impossible. As soon as you accept that recovery is difficult – once you understand the disease and the necessity for dramatic change – recovery is no longer so difficult”…
However clients often, at the point of starting to work through recovery:
“despite…white-knuckle resolve, end (sic) up holding on to the following false beliefs:
1. I want to believe that it’s just a weight problem.
2. I refuse to pay attention to my eating for the rest of my life.
3. I promise, when I get thin, I’ll never gain it back”.
A few good days just before going to the first counselling or group session can suddenly cancel out years of struggling for clients. “Oh look, I haven’t binged once in the past five days, Obviously I can handle this myself, I’m going to cancel my appointment and just keep this up”.
I would ask how many periods of 5 days, or a week, or two weeks have you had within the five, or ten, or fifteen years of battling against bulimia or binge-eating?
Fear is also a huge part of committing to change. Who will I be without this? I have no idea who I am without this identity, even if I’m the only one who actually knows about it. Clients come to therapy for all sorts of reasons, and they come because they have decided that enough is enough, they can no longer tolerate living the way they have been, and something needs to change. So they are rejecting their old ways of being in the world. But what will replace that? Clients very rarely have a clear vision of the alternative, and that makes it very difficult to commit to the process of change, because there is no clear vision of Who I Will Be after it. That’s not very motivating, is it?
I tell clients who have no vision of the alternative and are very fearful of the unknown version of them without their eating distress, that there is a choice, to stay where they are, which is not a good experience, but it’s safe. Or risk moving through another type of uncomfortable experience that is the journey through therapy, in the solid promise that life is better on the other side. More control, more understanding of who you are and what you need, better communication with others, and the volume turned way way down, if not off, on the internal negative, critical voice that all my clients carry around with them.
Our Online Program was designed by me, specifically to help anyone struggling with Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder to safely and confidentially take the first step towards committing to change. Based on over six years’ experience of working with clients both individually and in groups, I guarantee the program will help you see your Eating Disorder in a different light, and help you begin to slowly and steadily make the change. It won’t ‘cure’ you, but if you are ready, it will set you firmly on the right path to recovery.
Can you commit to change?
Emma Murphy MIACP, Psychotherapist and Eating Disorder Specialist
www.eatingdisorderonlinecourse.com. Use the code DISCOUNT40 to get 50.00 off the cost of our 12 week, online, confidential program. That’s just 75.00 to begin tackling your Eating Disorder TODAY. Code valid until Monday 4th Jan 2016.