Yesterday (13th October) the BBC’s “You & Yours” Radio 4 program had a section on the success of therapy for those wanting to lose weight. It was a clear endorsement of therapy’s effectiveness in the long term, which is the “gold standard” for Weight Loss methods. All other methods have incredibly high long term failure rates.
Having a space where people can be supported and their strengths valued is in itself very helpful. A space where a person can be allowed to be themselves, where their negative aspects can be accepted and they can be helped to see that these are a consequence of their ‘wounds’ rather their inadequacy or ‘badness’.
There are nearly always unconscious or semi-conscious emotional reasons behind over eating. This can be feelings of deprivation and deficit that remain from an impoverished background along with an associated lack of self-worth. It can be comfort eating to fill a huge hole left by abuse or neglect or some accidental happening which leaves such heavy legacies of negative self-value.
What is clear is that all our self-destructiveness comes from our wounds and if this can be made clear and seen for what it is the level of self-hatred diminishes and relapses can be accepted much more quickly and kept smaller. This self-acceptance builds new confidence in a virtuous circle, empowering the person to try taking small steps day at a time and building from there.
Self-knowledge is the way that change really happens organically and permanently. Therapy helps people to look at themselves differently and in a new way, a more objective way. The task is always to make an (non-engulfing) object out of what we are subject too so that we look at our reactions, our behaviour, our bodies, our thoughts and feelings in a more objective way that opens the door to self-acceptance and self-compassion.
To find this we need to be prepared to take responsibility for ourselves, and we need to be supported feel that we are worth making the effort for. Development is always a combination of support and challenge and growing through the middle of our insecurity is the challenge for all of us in some form or another.