Intuitive Messages in Eating Disorder Recovery
Our clients get stuck in eating disorder recovery because they can’t hear their intuitive wisdom which is there to guide them on a healthy path. We as eating disorder clinicians and recovery coaches can solve this “hearing problem” by helping our clients learn how to listen to the intuitive messages within them and all around them. This EDIT™ Worksheet which can be a “hearing aid” for your clients:
Scroll below the image for guidelines about using the worksheet.
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I’d like to introduce you to Amanda Grace Caldwell, who is an EDIT™ Certified III – Eating Disorder Treatment Clinician. Amanda Grace was a Counselor Intern under my supervision at Positive Pathways from January, 2014 through December, 2015. She is a knowledgeable and compassionate therapist, who works with clients in Houston, Texas. You can contact Amanda Grace with any comments or questions, including how to get started with individual sessions (see bottom of article).
– Dr. Dorie
The emphasis of the Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ approach is to guide our clients to shift from the voice of the Eating Disorder (ED) to the healing wisdom of the Intuitive Therapist (IT) within themselves. Through practicing the Be True To Your Self principle, clients discover how to become “Intuitive Eaters,” finding freedom from eating disordered eating. In addition, clients learn how to be “Intuitive Exercisers,” where they can truly enjoy the movement of their bodies, and actually have fun with fitness. As a first step towards Intuitive Eating and Intuitive Exercise, we can guide our clients with perspectives about Intuitive Living – the ways in which their Intuitive Therapist (IT) is trying to “speak” to them through a variety of messages, if they pay attention.
We live in a society rich with information. Whether it’s in a magazine, television show, online or even in a conversation, we hear and see messages everywhere. The voice of the Eating Disorder (ED) is formed from these external messages – dictating how to look, what to eat (or not eat), and most decisions in general. Our clients look outside themselves for guidance, wondering, “Who should I be?” Then, our clients seek approval from outside sources, questioning, “Am I good enough?” Recovery is about “turning up the volume” of the client’s inner guidance – the voice of their Intuitive Therapist (IT). Ultimately, clients will be able to “go within” to make decisions and receive validation.
Clients may be so used to looking outside themselves for guidance, that this concept of “going within” may be very unfamiliar to them, and it may also feel unsafe. This worksheet is a step towards paying attention to intuitive messages, and beginning to trust them. Clients need guidance to notice some of the internal and external messages they are currently hearing and seeing, which reflect their “Intuitive Knowing.” When used appropriately, this exercise helps clients make choices and empowers them to take the next step needed for their healing.
The first step in this exercise is to look at the internal messages a client might be hearing. It’s important to use their language when describing intuition. For some clients, they might best relate to the idea of a “gut feeling” or a “still, small voice.” When I describe intuition to clients I sit with, I explain that it’s the inner voice we hear when the world goes quiet. If your client has a difficult time tapping into their inner voice, try to introduce solitude or stillness into your sessions. Help them find the space to connect with what might be inside of them. Guide them to list five internal messages they have recently received, for example: I’m feeling guided to become a teacher; I have a sense I need to break up with my boyfriend; I really need more time to write in my journal.
When guiding clients to trust their intuition, it’s important to also help them realize that they don’t want to completely ignore the messages from the outside world. Although clients can sometimes internalize these external messages in a harmful way (feeding the voice of ED), clients can also use these external messages to bring healing and freedom along their journey (in alignment with the wisdom of their IT).
The second half of this worksheet focuses on the external messages clients might experience. These messages can be defined as signs, fate, coincidence or happenstance. Help your client explore what comes to mind and encourage them to write down all that they become aware of. As you walk through this exercise, the light bulb will start to go off for clients as they begin to connect the dots and become aware of themes. For example: I keep seeing that commercial on TV and it makes me think of my friend Suzy – maybe I need to call her; That’s the third time someone has mentioned that book – I guess I need to read it; I was re-routed due to construction today, and noticed a new park I’d love to go explore.
The final step of this exercise is to help clients integrate the internal and external messages they have seen and heard. When evaluation all that has come to one’s mind, connections can be made. Clients are empowered when they realize the answers they needed were with them the entire time.
At one point in my life, it was an internal and external message that helped me make a big decision. I was in Colorado at the time, pursuing my counseling degree, but I was homesick for my friends and family in Texas. I wasn’t sure whether to stay or go home. While on a trip to Houston, when all was quiet, I heard a voice say, “You’re not done.” At the end of that trip, I was driving to the airport to head back to Colorado when I noticed a billboard sign that said, “Come to Life.” It was an advertisement for Colorado. These messages told me what I needed to do. I needed to stay in Colorado. Clients can find the same validation I did when they begin to make meaning out of the messages they hear everyday.
Want to enhance intuitive messages? Contact Amanda Grace Caldwell, MA, LPCC – the author of this blog article. She is an EDIT™ Certified III – Eating Disorder Treatment Clinician who meets with clients in Houston, Texas. EMAIL AMANDA GRACE
Interested in a FREE consultation with Dr. Dorie? Dr. Dorie is passionate about her method of Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ to help people overcome eating disorders and addictions. She provides customized counseling for eating disorders and alcohol / drug addiction at her Positive Pathways treatment center in Evergreen, Colorado – and EDIT™ eating disorder training and certification for coaches and clinicians worldwide. CALL 303-494-1975 – EMAIL DR. DORIE