Working with Emotional Obesity
The Present - What’s currently happening around food?
During the first session I ask and listen carefully to the client’s responses to the following sort of open questions. The more emotionally articulate a client is, the less necessary it is to ask direct questions. These prompts are especially useful with clients who are dissociated, or are strongly blocked about their food issues and the originating, emotional drivers to their over-eating or self-sabotaging behaviour.
Initially with my open questions I am attempting to get a sense of my client’s relationship with food. This includes how focussed a client really is when he or she eats food, or is it something that happens in a ‘zoned’ out way. Also, I want to know how much pleasure and effort is made in the preparing and eating of food; And also to explore the dynamic of who feeds and who eats?
I also want to ascertain the part food plays in an average day. What time do they wake and when do they first eat as well as what they eat for breakfast, for instance, all hold clues to behaviour and beliefs.
I ask where are they when they eat their meals and what are they doing at the same time as eating. I ask does he/she eat anywhere else other than at a table i.e. in their car, in bed, or on the sofa while watching TV or at night standing up in the kitchen, lit by the light of the open fridge. I ask what is the atmosphere around meal times– is it a calming relaxing experience, or a tense and stressful time. Finally, I ask if any of their eating is in secret. Although seemingly asking for factual answers, I always also ask ‘So, how does that feel?’ My imperative is to encourage the client to shift from experiencing their lives intellectually to experiencing their lives emotionally.
When they offer an emotional response I listen and then ask them if the feeling is familiar to an earlier time in their lives. Together we can use emotions to track back in time towards and to, the originating event, or events. The originating event is the key event when the resulting overeating initially made sense to the client on some level, or caused some degree of comfort, or relief during a troubling or turbulent time, or experience.
A client may disclose several aspects of their originating event which correspond with aspects of their emotional landscape and during this part of the process I am simply open to what may emerge as the client’s confidence in me and in the process grows. In response, he/she is more able and willing to get closer in touch with their more deeply buried emotions. I set aside a double session for the beginning part of the process for the disclosures and insights to unfurl gently without restrictive time pressures. During this part of the process I am not in any rush to begin a therapeutic intervention such as PSTEC or EFT. I am merely listening, apart from perhaps asking more open questions, and occasionally encouraging the client to move towards expressing feelings rather than just facts. Much has been written about the curative nature of the person centred therapeutic relationship demonstrating as it does unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence. What I am also demonstrating to the client is a willingness to bear witness and to hold a therapeutic, safe space for belief change and personal growth to take place. It is not unusual for clients to comment that they are speaking out loud for the very first time or for them to say things that they have kept secret from everyone else in their lives. I feel the role of bearing witness at this point is more curative then an actual therapeutic intervention and that this level of vulnerability and trust needs to be honoured and acknowledged.
Once a picture has been built that honestly reflects the client’s relationship with food I sense they are ready to work on changing their behaviour and their belief system. I know through practice that PSTEC is the quickest and most efficient way to remove emotional pain from long held beliefs or memories. However, I may choose to begin the process with EFT as it maintains the therapeutic relationship of congruence more effectively than immediately beginning with PSTEC. I always chose to work on the presenting issue, or the aspect of it, that has the highest SUD (Subjective Unit of Disturbance) following the well-known metaphor that taking out the tallest emotional tree in the forest will also always knock out several smaller trees as it
If working on a SUD of 8-10 I begin with several rounds of EFT until the SUD is reduced to a 2-4. I then switch to PSTEC as I know this will collapse, turn down, or remove any remaining emotional heat completely down to zero. With PSTEC I use mainly the two free tracks in many cases, and add in the accelerator tracks to keep the process fresh.
End Cravings with PSTEC and EFT
PSTEC works amazingly well with food cravings and most clients who are struggling with obesity have a food stuff that they obsess about, and binge on. I ask the client to bring in their favourite binge food for their second session and a simple twenty to thirty minute protocol that mixes PSTEC and EFT ends their craving for good. This happens even with a client who is massively conflicted about giving up one of their major ‘rewards’.
With craving work it’s important that the food-stuff in question is in the optimum size, style of packaging, or even presented at the correct temperature – i.e. is as crave-licious as is possible. I’ve had clients turn up with a whole carrier bag full of their
favourite binge foods and I ask them to choose to work on the one they adore the most. They are amazed to experience such a strong shift in their feelings so quickly. Something they once obsessed about they very rapidly couldn’t care less about.
PSTEC Positive is a great way to end a craving session and embed a client’s own new approach to eating and making healthier food choices.
The Future - Visualisation
Clients who have been over-weight most of their lives find it difficult to imagine themselves at a natural, healthy weight or to get in touch with the benefits they would experience if they were slimmer and healthier. They also often feel over-whelmed at the prospect of attempting to reach and maintain a natural, healthy weight after they have often failed to achieve this so many times in their lives to date. Accessing the feelings of weight loss success are important tenants of the Law of Attraction and an important motivator for clients in continuing their weight loss journey. PSTEC click tracks quickly and painlessly end limiting self-beliefs and feelings of failure, and or, shame attached to past unsuccessful weight loss initiatives. I ask clients to describe an ideal natural weight for themselves or their target trouser/jeans waist band (for men) or dress size (for women). Find out what works best for the client – sometimes pounds and ounces does not resonate as powerfully as wanting to fit a particular size of clothing.
This is another powerful application for PSTEC Positive to embed, in the client’s own words, their clear and focussed view of themselves at their ideal target weight and size. Hypnotherapy is also remarkably powerful in uncovering parts of the self that identify benefits in holding on to old patterns of behaviour so that these can be resolved. Hypnotherapy is of course core to the Hypno Gastric Band that takes a client through a four stage process of deep hypnosis. It is while in a deep trance induced state that a client believes they have been fitted with a gastric band that reduces the size of their stomach and makes them feel full and satisfied with reduced portions of food.
Emotional obesity is probably the most complex and challenging of presenting issues. These notes cannot encompass all of the nuances of working organically and authentically with each individual client. Sessions might also involve Time Line work, Noah St John’s Afformations, Abraham Hicks Law of Attraction, Logo- Synthesis, as well as practical support via one of Working on the Body’s Tap.Eat.Step Programmes which encompass therapy, gentle exercise programme, nutritional guide lines and a focus on self-care and improved self-regard. Since it’s launch PSTEC’s click tracks, have in a very short time, proved to be an amazingly powerful and magical set of tools in ending often years of emotional bondage and their use continues to grow within my own therapeutic practice.