Somatic Counseling and Eating Disorders

Somatic Counseling and Eating Disorders

Body Psychotherapy in Eating Disorder Recovery What is Somatic Counseling? Translated literally, “soma” means body. Somatic counseling is a form of psychotherapy that views the body as an integral part of the counseling process. Body psychotherapy is considered to be one branch under the larger umbrella of somatic counseling. Somatic counseling is derived from a rich lineage of psychologists, clinicians, bodywork practitioners, psychologists, dancers, and philosophers. The theories and perspectives of psychoanalysis, existential, humanistic, and gestalt psychology, expressive arts, neuroscience, and Eastern philosophy and spirituality all contribute to the practice of somatic counseling today. The founders of somatic counseling observed that the body often holds key wisdom that can be invaluable in understanding the psyche and in facilitating personal growth and transformation. On both subtle and overt levels, the body has witnessed and experienced all that has happened in each person’s life and holds its own memories and insights about these experiences. Accessing and honoring this information from the body in psychotherapy provides a wealth of knowledge that may not be part of more traditional “talk therapy” sessions. The information held within the body may also not readily be available to conscious awareness, though it may be influencing a person through illness, overwhelming emotions, or a sense of “stuckness.” Allowing the body to have a voice in somatic counseling through using specific techniques allows this information to enter cognitive awareness and provides an opportunity to process and work with it in a deep and profound way. Somatic counseling encourages a true integration of body, mind, and spirit in therapy. (Source: United States Association for Body Psychotherapy) What are the...
Mindfulness and Eating Disorders

Mindfulness and Eating Disorders

Mindfulness and Eating Disorder Recovery People keep talking about Mindfulness. Maybe you have heard of it in a yoga class, on TV, in the coffee shop or simply hear people simply talking about it on the street. But what does it really mean? One of modern leaders of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as; “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment” (2003). So again what does this mean exactly, and how can you use mindfulness in your eating disorder recovery? Let’s break it down one piece at a time. The first part can be defined as using your consciousness to focus or pay attention intentionally. An easy every day example could be paying attention to the little details when you do a seemingly mindless task, like brushing your teeth, washing dishes or pumping gas. We usually “zone out” when we do these things, and think about other stuff in our lives. Next time you do these things, why not pay attention on purpose and see what happens. Use your five senses to be super present. What does your toothbrush look like? What does the toothpaste taste like? What sounds do you hear? What does the brush feel like on your teeth? What does the toothpaste smell like? Practice this simple formula in all that you do. It’s an easy way to begin the first part of being mindful; paying attention on purpose. Especially your eating disorder recovery – be mindful of the steps you are taking in recovery, by being fully present in...
How to Stop Binge Eating Halloween Candy

How to Stop Binge Eating Halloween Candy

10 Steps to Stop Binge Eating and Make Peace with Food Trick or Treat? If you struggle with Binge Eating Disorder or Food Addiction, then Halloween can be a tricky time of year. You have to pass by all of those bags of candy in the aisles at the store, and you have to overcome the urge to buy several bags of candy “for trick-or-treaters.” Who would know all of that candy was just binge food for you? Perhaps you actually do buy candy with the real intention to give it to the children who come by your home on Halloween. What do you do with the candy until that night? Do you hide it, so it’s out of sight, and hopefully out of mind? Do you wait until the day of Halloween to buy the candy, so that it’s not around, tempting you? Even if you wait until that day, how do you keep your own hand out of the candy bowl that night? It’s such a trick. People with Binge Eating Disorder and Food Addiction often have to work very hard to fight off cravings for sweets. It’s a game of all-or-nothing — where many people with eating disorders can’t stop eating binge foods once they start, so they try to abstain from any trigger foods. But doesn’t this leave you feeling deprived? Don’t you wish you could have a few pieces of candy and stop? It can be a treat. What would happen if you really could have 3 or 4 mini-packets of candy, without binge eating? Here’s how you can make peace with Halloween candy. Try these...
DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip

DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip

DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip Do you ever feel like you are going on auto pilot? Maybe you are “going through the motions” in your daily life. Perhaps you are expected to multi-task but you struggle completing things. Give yourself permission to SLOW DOWN! This is the first step in being mindful! Yes, it’s as easy as that…. Another way to start being mindful is to pay attention to your breath. You may have heard that before – and yes, it’s as simple as that! Take a few moments right now, and JUST BREATHE. To be mindful, simply NOTICE your breath. Don’t try to force or change your breath, just notice it. Notice your inhale, and your exhale. Notice the pace of your breath. Notice the depth of your breath. Stop reading for a moment right now, and JUST BREATHE. Notice the way your body feels as you pay attention to your breath. Hopefully you will feel more relaxed, that way you are better able to pay attention to your surroundings, be present and MINDFUL! Another helpful way to practice mindful breathing is through “square breathing”. Count to 4 as you inhale, then hold your breath for 4 counts, finally exhale for 4 counts. Repeat. It’s called “square breathing” because you can imagine drawing the four edges of a square in your mind as you count to 4. Or, some people like to trace the shape of a square on their leg as they count. Repeat again as many times as you would like. Breathing is just one way to practice mindfulness. My clients report that it is the EASIEST way to be...