Therapy without the “Weight”

If you have one, eating disorders and food addiction are very serious conditions. Moreover, if you have been struggling with weight for decades, it can be exhausting. Despite these very serious issues, I work hard to keep sessions with you relevant and lively. There are times for insight, for heavy emotion, for needing a shoulder to lean on and for fun. I am fortunate to love my work, and I hope it shows, whether in-session or in my online presence. As such, therapy with me is not some unknown process. I do thorough assessments at the beginning of therapy, and can always indicate why we are doing what we are doing in session.

Man with Mask

Insurance, Therapy Sessions and COVID

As a “Registered Psychotherapist”, my billings are approved by most extended health care insurance providers. However, I always recommend that you call your provider directly and ask if your employer/organization’s group plan covers “Registered Psychotherapists” as coverage is not only dependent on the insurance company, it is also dependent on the specific group policy that you have through your employer/organization. I issue a receipt/invoice for the session which you provide to your insurer.

 

All my sessions are held online, using Zoom, FaceTime, Skype or by phone, as a result of COVID-19. All payments are made either through Interac email transfers and/or PayPal invoices.

My Outlook towards Weight and Food

Sometimes therapists are called-upon to provide opinions based on their work. Moreover, having an effective social media presence often requires an individual to take a “stand” on certain issues. I guess I am no different. If you consume my social media content, here are some of the things I believe:

Broad Societal Issues

1)    If it’s healthy physically and mentally (i.e. does not fall into the realm of eating disorder behaviour) do what you want and use whatever techniques you want to lose weight. I don’t recommend diets though, because they don’t work – and I recommend keeping your calories in the normal range at all times.

2)    If you are overweight or obese, and are healthy, happy with your life and your activity – don’t change a thing.

3)    The way society in general, the diet industry and even many healthcare providers – including well-meaning ones – communicate in an abominable and abhorrent fashion about weight, diet and body image. No one should be telling you what you should do with your weight and your body. Providing gentle and well-meaning guidance is the most anyone should be doing.

4)    Let’s stop blaming “big sugar”, packaged food and fast food. We know it is bad and awful for us. Instead, individually, let’s make the choice NOT TO EAT those foods. Afterall, if the demand for those foods does not exist, they won’t be produced. At the same time though, these foods do serve a need in society, and sometimes they serve a small need for people struggling with weight and food issues.

When to Seek Therapy for Weight Issues

5)    If you are regularly or obsessively thinking about food, weight, your body or your health, or you constantly weight-cycle, you may want to seek therapy for issues with food. Therapy is not a “diet”, a “plan” or a series of steps to follow for weight loss. Many people have tried dozens of those plans prior to seeking therapy for eating and weight issues.

6)    You should be assessed for whether you have an eating pathology, including emotional eating, disordered eating, eating disorders and/or food addiction. If you have an eating disorder or food addiction, your provider must not focus on weight or appearance.

7)    In reality, there are very few physicians, psychologists and other healthcare professionals who are truly capable and effective in dealing with weight issues, and eating disorders.

How Psychotherapy for Weight Issues Works

8)    Psychotherapy for weight loss involves significant explorations of issues with food, trauma, other psychological conditions and your relationships with others. Only a very small portion of “psychological” help involves “tips” or “mental tricks” like “drink water before every meal to make you feel satisfied”

9)    A provider’s proficiency in psychotherapy and ability to explain how it works is critical to success in therapy in general and in weight management in specific. In short, effective psychotherapy creates a relationship which allows for unconscious thoughts and feelings of the client and therapist (transference and counter-transference) to be examined, discussed and experimented with in order to create awareness and new patterns of thought and feeling.

10)    The goal of therapy for weight related issues is to resolve the following conflict: “Long-term weight loss is about making big changes, when at present any change seems impossible.”

 

11)    Clarity of mind creates clarity of strategy and a feeling of control and peaceful thoughts about one’s self and food. Psychotherapy for weight loss, disordered eating, eating disorders and food addiction seeks to create this clarity of mind.

Thoughts on Weight-Related Research

12)    Research is not a holy grail when it comes to weight loss and I believe that it has not caught-up to all the psychological complexities involved in weight, health, body image and food addiction/pathology. After all, if research was a holy grail, none of us would have any issues with our weight!

 

13)    I am against messaging that implies people cannot lose weight. At the same time though, having people properly set goals for weight-loss beyond just numbers on a scale is critical.