Eating Disorders and Spirituality

Eating Disorders and Spirituality

What is the link between eating disorders and spirituality? Can healing an eating disorder also become a path of self-discovery? Are eating disorders and spirituality keys to the deeper levels of recovery? Perhaps there is a reason why the things that we consider bad, unhealthy, broken, and dysfunctional still exist. If it’s here, it is serving a purpose. Everything serves, and there is wisdom in all of it. A common practice used in working with eating disorders is to quiet the voice of “ED” or the eating disorder. However, I believe that no aspect of ourselves should be disregarded. Instead, everything about ourselves can be embraced in order for us to transcend or move beyond a limiting, painful perception of the world. I think re-encouraging a split within the psyche where the eating disorder is a problem only adds to the client’s feelings of internal conflict. Instead, we can include the eating disorder as a part of the client and find a deeper meaning in the experience. As a therapist, I will often ask the following questions: • What wants to be said or heard? • How did the eating disorder protect you when you were younger? • What part of the unconscious wants to become known? • And how is it perfect that it became intolerable and caused you to seek help? Many eating disordered clients can feel like they are living inauthentically. Maybe they are living according to family or societal standards that have been internalized or introjected. The eating disorder can be a form of rebellion, a reaction against the socialized self, and can provide insight into...
Body Image Issues: How to Love Your Self

Body Image Issues: How to Love Your Self

Love Your Self – it might seem like a great concept, but how can you put it into practice, when you struggle with body image issues? You might think, “I will love myself when ___.” Fill in the blank: I lose xx pounds, my thighs don’t jiggle, I have flat abs, my arms are toned, I can fit into my skinny jeans… When I sculpt/mold/change my body into… what? The perfect body. What is this, anyway? Would your body ever be good enough? Or, despite the changes that you make to your body, would you continue to have body image issues? What if your body is already good enough, just the way it is? The body others love. Whose love are you really seeking? Is it worth it to become someone you are not in order to get others’ praise? If others love your body, would you love your body? Or, would you continue to have body image issues? What if your body is already lovable, just the way it is? The body that is fit. Who determines what fitness is? If you can run a mile, 6 miles, or 26 miles? What does fitness look like? Even if you’re a fitness model, would you still have body image issues? What if your body has its own powerful abilities, just the way it is? The body that fits in. Are you looking to fit into society’s standards of beauty? Do you really want to just blend in with the crowd? If you look just like everyone else, would you be happy? Or, would you still have body image issues? What if your...
Wilderness Therapy & Eating Disorders

Wilderness Therapy & Eating Disorders

Wilderness Therapy in Eating Disorders Recovery My name is Kristen, I am the newest EDIT™ Counselor Intern at Positive Pathways, from the Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy Program at Naropa University. You’re probably thinking, “Wait – what kind of therapy?” Don’t worry, I am here to give you a brief introduction of myself and the world of Wilderness Therapy. Transpersonal psychology is a relationship of the Self and spiritual connection to our world. It is not only looking at the different parts of our Self – Body, Mind, Emotions, Spirit – but also connecting those parts to the earth, relationships, growth and human potential. Transpersonal psychology combines the teachings of the psychology trail blazers – psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanistic psychology – as well as many other aspects of human experience and spirituality. We are conditioned from our past experiences; we develop a system that works for us as individuals in order to survive.  In this development, we acknowledge the “ego” and “Self” in all of its complexities, intertwined into our culture and history. We create relationships and intimacy through empathy for others and ourselves. The “transpersonal” are the experiences that we cannot fully describe, from our “heart space” that holds our limitless potential. Transpersonal psychology not only looks at the different parts of ourselves as a whole, but also acknowledges our wholeness as a part in the complexity and mystery that is the universe. Wilderness Therapy is about creating a relationship with nature, and also promoting a sense of self-sufficiency and autonomy. When we are in relationship with another person we cannot predict how they will react to our behaviors, and vise versa. When in relationship with another person...