Counselling for eating disorders: anorexia and bulimia
self-harm counselling and help
Adolescents can be resistant to counselling, however that resistance often disappears when they discover that Transpersonal therapy empowers them and gives them a creative way to express their inner world of emotions and experiences. The Therapeutic Relationship is very important and adolescents need to feel understood and supported in a non-judgemental way.
Here, at Inner Room Counselling, I use Sandplay, Art, and Voice Dialogue as Transpersonal tools to help teenagers understand more deeply what it is that they are experiencing. It is often difficult for teenagers to express themselves directly, but with the use of these tools teenagers not only find a means to express themselves but also to discover aspects of themselves that they were unaware of. They begin to understand the impact that their behaviours have on others and learn ways to better manage their emotions. They begin to explore the layers of themselves and discover the wonderful treasures within that they have been unaware of.
Adolescence is one of the most challenging periods of our lives. We are trying to stabilise ourselves with one foot in childhood and the other in young adulthood. We are struggling between being reliant and wanting self-reliance. This often creates issues with our parents or guardians as well as struggles within ourselves. We are trying to navigate all the changes within ourselves as well as those of school, family and our social world. This manifests in different ways such as anger and defiance, or depression and withdrawal.
As I have said, the therapeutic relationship is very important. It can be a life-changing experience for a teenager simply to feel truly heard and supported without judgement or expectation. Sandplay engages teenagers and allows them to see themselves as they are, not as they believe themselves to be! It helps then to work through issues and enables them to integrate and balance the opposing forces within.
Depression, Self-harm and Eating Disorders
When we are down no amount of pep-talk will make us feel better. We need something deeper.
Depression, self-harm and eating disorders appear to be sign posts of an inability to meet or cope with external circumstances. When we are there: in our depression, expressing ourselves through self-harm, or controlling and repressing ourselves through eating disorders, we are unaware of the thought patterns that are driving us. Our thought patterns control our hormones, which in turn bring us down and lead us to repeat the damaging, and at times life-threatening, cycles of behaviour.
The Transpersonal recognises the multi-dimensionality of a person. Through the use of Sandplay , Art therapy and Voice Dialogue I help teenagers to delve into deeper aspects of Self in a non-threatening and creative way. They become aware of their internal dialogue and find inner resources that empower them.
Current traumas, or trauma that we carry from childhood, will impact heavily on us in adolescence. However, even though trauma profoundly influences our lives we often cover it up or hide it deeply within us. Sandplay is a safe and non-confrontational way to uncover our traumas, integrate them and, with the non-judgemental support of the therapist, recover from them.
The psyche will only express what it is able to deal with at a given time. It works at it's own speed, and Transpersonal therapy respects this. It recognises the depth and many layers of a person, it acknowledges the soul of a person, and allows for the gentle unfolding of traumatic experiences.
In the land of technology and social media that our teenagers inhabit it is rare for most of them to have time alone unplugged. It is even rarer for them to reflect on their life and tune-in to their inner world. Transpersonal therapy allows teenagers to use their imagination and, at the same time, better understand themselves. It gives them an opportunity to discover who they are and why. It allows them to uncover their behaviours: the ones that hinder and the ones that enrich. It helps them to become more aware, in a conscious way rather than a self-conscious way. The Transpersonal allows young people to realise that the exterior world is only one dimension of a greater reality, it allows them to know and experience their inner dimensions. Having knowledge of themselves and the ability to tune-in to themselves will allow them to grow into inwardly rich, well nourished adults.
What to expect...
As with children, a consultation with a parent is the first step. It is important for me to understand your concerns and to obtain some developmental history and insight into your teenager's behaviours and difficulties.
A session for adolescents generally runs for 45-60 minutes, depending on the individual. I suggest an initial program of three sessions. Some teenagers can be very resistant to therapy and it may take a few sessions for them to begin to develop trust and for me to gain a deeper understanding of their needs. After the initial program we will meet for a follow-up consultation to discuss whether we think more sessions would be beneficial and the approach that we should take. Often parents meet with me for individual sessions to work through their own issues with their children and to learn better ways to deal with particular problems and behaviours.
If you have any further questions please contact me.