Counselling for Eating Disorders
A person who is wasting away because they are afraid of food and weight gain is in great distress.
Having a compulsion to eat and eat is a terrifying loss of control.
People with Anorexia Nervosa reduce their food intake to lose weight. They are afraid of becoming fat and often have a distorted body image. With weight loss there is likely to be tiredness, difficulty concentrating, moodiness, secrecy and irritability. Extreme cases of starvation can lead to death.
People with Bulimia Nervosa have binging episodes where more food than usual is eaten very quickly. Eating can be mechanical, uncontrolled and trance like. Methods used to prevent weight gain include vomiting, taking laxatives and dieting. Symptoms include sore throat, stomach bloating and loss of enamel from teeth.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binging without purging is likely to cause weight gain
Eating disorders help sufferers to cope with many underlying issues
For example abuse, bereavement, low self esteem, fears relating to growing up and separating from parents, feelings of not fitting or belonging, an uncertain sense of identity and feelings of inner emptiness.
Food has many meanings and uses
Food can be used to anesthetise emotional pain and to fill up emotional and spiritual emptiness, difficult feelings may be swallowed. People can be influenced by cultural ideas of beauty and perfection promoted by the media.
People are not always consciously aware of their underlying issues
If a person’s eating disorder were to magically disappear, underlying issues might cause difficult feelings such as anger, fear and loneliness. Other ways of coping may be found such as self-harm and use of drugs and alcohol.
Person-centred counselling is non-directive and at the client’s pace.
Eating disorders are isolating with secret binging and time consuming obsessions such as counting calories, planning meals and exercising.
It is essential that counsellors are trustworthy.
Counselling can enable clients to make changes
Clients gain awareness and understandings of their underlying issues
They can think about improving their situation and how to take care of themselves physically and emotionally.
Clients can develop a more healthy relationship with food
They are likely to gain in self-confidence and self-esteem
Clients make decisions when they are ready to do so. A decision which others consider small such as adding another vegetable to one’s diet can be huge and courageous. As they become stronger clients may chose to make life style changes for example a new and more satisfying career.
As difficult feelings emerge the counsellor is supportive, helping client’s to face and to make sense of whatever they are experiencing. Person-centred counsellors trust that their clients can recover and develop psychologically.
Relatives and Friends
Close relatives and friends are often affected. They may become extremely anxious, and uncertain about how to help. Counselling for relatives and friends can help them to gain their own insights and to feel more relaxed so that they are in a better position to be supportive.
Counselling in Harrow
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