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Counseling Mental Health


DIPLOMA IN THEOLOGY | from (6) TOPIC: Amnesia. ... | 2. Adjustment Disorder | 3. Biomedical Therapy. | INSTRUCTION
from (6) TOPIC: Amnesia. ...


(6) TOPIC:  Amnesia.

What is amnesia?

Amnesia is a profound memory loss which is usually caused either by physical injury to the brain or by the ingestion of a toxic substance which affects the brain. In addition, the memory loss can be caused by a traumatic, emotional event.

What are the characteristics of amnesia?

People with amnesia have difficulty learning new information, and/or they have difficulty recalling previously learned information. They may be disoriented and confused. Their memory deficit causes problems for them either at work, in school, or in social settings. Sometimes the memory loss is severe enough to necessitate a supervised living situation.

Does amnesia affect males, females, or both?

Amnesia can affect anyone, male or female.

At what age does amnesia appear?

Amnesia can occur at any age.

How is amnesia diagnosed?

A mental health professional will want to take a careful personal history.

Causes of amnesia can include:
External trauma, such as a blow to the head
Internal trauma, such as stroke
Exposure to a toxic substances such as carbon monoxide
Inadequate diet
Brain tumors
There are no laboratory tests that are necessary to confirm amnesia nor are there any physical conditions that must be met. However, it is very important not to overlook a physical illness that might mimic or contribute to amnesia. If there is any doubt about a medical problem, the mental health professional should refer to a physician, who will perform a complete physical examination and request any necessary laboratory tests.

Very sophisticated psychological testing, called neuropsychological testing, can be very helpful in determining the presence of amnesia. Sometimes the diagnosis of amnesia can be aided by the use of brain scans such as the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How is amnesia treated?

Psychotherapy can be helpful for people whose amnesia is caused by emotional trauma. For instance, hypnosis may help some patients/clients recall forgotten memories.

Sometimes it is appropriate to administer a drug called Amytal (sodium amobarbital) to people suffering from amnesia. The medicine helps some people recall their lost memories. The use of hypnosis or Amytal has become controversial when it is used to help a patient recall repressed memories, especially repressed memories associated with sexual abuse. After recalling memories of abuse, some patients have filed suit against the alleged perpetrator of the sexual abuse. The validity of memories recalled under these treatment situations is being questioned and tested in the courts.

Hospitalization is usually not necessary to treat amnesia unless the person is at risk for harming himself/herself.

What happens to people with amnesia?

The course of the amnesia is variable depending upon the cause of the memory problem. By removing the toxic substance, for instance alcohol, the persons memory will recover within hours. However, if the brain has been severely injured, it may take weeks, months, or years for recovery to occur. In some instances, the amnesia never goes away.

Therefore, the prognosis depends upon the extent of the brain trauma. If an ingested substance caused the memory loss and the body can rid itself of the offending substance without causing permanent brain injury, the prognosis is quite good. However, once the brain is damaged it may be very slow to heal, and therefore, the prognosis can be quite poor.


Treatment depends on the root cause of amnesia and is handled on an individual basis. Regardless of cause, cognitive rehabilitation may be helpful in learning strategies to cope with memory impairment. MORE..........




Amnesia is only preventable in so far as brain injury can be prevented or minimized. Common sense approaches include wearing a helmet when bicycling or participating in potentially dangerous sports, using automobile seat belts, and avoiding excessive alcohol or drug use. Brain infections should be treated swiftly and aggressively to minimize the damage due to swelling. Victims of strokes, brain aneurysms, and transient ischemic attacks should seek immediate medical treatment.

(7) TOPIC: Anger in Children.

Anger is a very natural reaction to those situations that may cause disappointment, hurt, frustration, sadness, confusion, shame or other negative emotions. Yet, for many people, it is an extremely uncomfortable and confusing emotion. Most often, we have learned ways of handling anger by chance and with little direct or formal instruction.

By chance, some have learned to immediately become hostile or aggressive in response to anger and its related tension. Others have learned to stuff, minimize, or deny anger or to overly value their contribution to a particular situation that aroused conflict. Instead of anger, they more readily experience depression, pain, excessive guilt, and shame. Some of us have learned not to experience anger. Others believe they lose control by giving up anger.

However, when we make sense of anger and learn ways to constructively manage it, we experience new freedom and increase real control in our lives. We tap into energy tht can become the driving force for intimacy or move us to right what is wrong. Most significantly, we experience increased harmony and connection in relationships with others and with ourselves.

Children's anger

Children's anger presents challenges to teachers committed to constructive, ethical, and effective child guidance. This Digest explores what we know about the components of children's anger, factors contributing to understanding and managing anger, and the ways teachers can guide children's expressions of anger.


Three Components of Anger

Anger is believed to have three components (Lewis & Michalson, 1983):

The Emotional State of Anger. The first component is the emotion itself, defined as an affective or arousal state, or a feeling experienced when a goal is blocked or needs are frustrated. Fabes and Eisenberg (1992) describe several types of stress-producing anger provocations that young children face daily in classroom interactions:

  • Conflict over possessions, which involves someone taking children's property or invading their space.

  • Physical assault, which involves one child doing something to another child, such as pushing or hitting.

  • Verbal conflict, for example, a tease or a taunt.

  • Rejection, which involves a child being ignored or not allowed to play with peers.

  • Issues of compliance, which often involve asking or insisting that children do something that they do not want to do--for instance, wash their hands.

Expression of Anger. The second component of anger is its expression. Some children vent or express anger through facial expressions, crying, sulking, or talking, but do little to try to solve a problem or confront the provocateur. Others actively resist by physically or verbally defending their positions, self-esteem, or possessions in nonaggressive ways. Still other children express anger with aggressive revenge by physically or verbally retaliating against the provocateur. Some children express dislike by telling the offender that he or she cannot play or is not liked. Other children express anger through avoidance or attempts to escape from or evade the provocateur. And some children use adult seeking, looking for comfort or solutions from a teacher, or telling the teacher about an incident.

Teachers can use child guidance strategies to help children express angry feelings in socially constructive ways. Children develop ideas about how to express emotions (Michalson & Lewis, 1985; Russel, 1989) primarily through social interaction in their families and later by watching television or movies, playing video games, and reading books (Honig & Wittmer, 1992). Some children have learned a negative, aggressive approach to expressing anger (Cummings, 1987; Hennessy et al., 1994) and, when confronted with everyday anger conflicts, resort to using aggression in the classroom (Huesmann, 1988). A major challenge for early childhood teachers is to encourage children to acknowledge angry feelings and to help them learn to express anger in positive and effective ways.

An Understanding of Anger. The third component of the anger experience is understanding--interpreting and evaluating--the emotion. Because the ability to regulate the expression of anger is linked to an understanding of the emotion (Zeman & Shipman, 1996), and because children's ability to reflect on their anger is somewhat limited, children need guidance from teachers and parents in understanding and managing their feelings of anger.


Understanding and Managing Anger

The development of basic cognitive processes undergirds children's gradual development of the understanding of anger (Lewis & Saarni, 1985).

Memory. Memory improves substantially during early childhood (Perlmutter, 1986), enabling young children to better remember aspects of anger-arousing interactions. Children who have developed unhelpful ideas of how to express anger (Miller & Sperry, 1987) may retrieve the early unhelpful strategy even after teachers help them gain a more helpful perspective. This finding implies that teachers may have to remind some children, sometimes more than once or twice, about the less aggressive ways of expressing anger.

Language. Talking about emotions helps young children understand their feelings (Brown & Dunn, 1996). The understanding of emotion in preschool children is predicted by overall language ability (Denham, Zoller, & Couchoud, 1994). Teachers can expect individual differences in the ability to identify and label angry feelings because children's families model a variety of approaches in talking about emotions.

Self-Referential and Self-Regulatory Behaviors.Self-referential behaviors include viewing the self as separate from others and as an active, independent, causal agent. Self-regulation refers to controlling impulses, tolerating frustration, and postponing immediate gratification. Initial self-regulation in young children provides a base for early childhood teachers who can develop strategies to nurture children's emerging ability to regulate the expression of anger.

Guiding Children's Expressions of Anger

Teachers can help children deal with anger by guiding their understanding and management of this emotion. The practices described here can help children understand and manage angry feelings in a direct and nonaggressive way.

Create a Safe Emotional Climate. A healthy early childhood setting permits children to acknowledge all feelings, pleasant and unpleasant, and does not shame anger. Healthy classroom systems have clear, firm, and flexible boundaries.

Model Responsible Anger Management. Children have an impaired ability to understand emotion when adults show a lot of anger (Denham, Zoller, & Couchoud, 1994). Adults who are most effective in helping children manage anger model responsible management by acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for their own angry feelings and by expressing anger in direct and nonaggressive ways.

Help Children Develop Self-Regulatory Skills. Teachers of infants and toddlers do a lot of self-regulation "work," realizing that the children in their care have a very limited ability to regulate their own emotions. As children get older, adults can gradually transfer control of the self to children, so that they can develop self-regulatory skills.

Encourage Children to Label Feelings of Anger. Teachers and parents can help young children produce a label for their anger by teaching them that they are having a feeling and that they can use a word to describe their angry feeling. A permanent record (a book or chart) can be made of lists of labels for anger (e.g., mad, irritated, annoyed), and the class can refer to it when discussing angry feelings.

Encourage Children to Talk About Anger-Arousing Interactions. Preschool children better understand anger and other emotions when adults explain emotions (Denham, Zoller, &Couchoud, 1994). When children are embroiled in an anger-arousing interaction, teachers can help by listening without judging,evaluating, or ordering them to feel differently.

Use Books and Stories about Anger to Help Children Understand and Manage Anger. Well-presented stories about anger and other emotions validate children's feelings and give information about anger (Jalongo, 1986; Marion, 1995). It is important to preview all books about anger because some stories teach irresponsible anger management.

Communicate with Parents. Some of the same strategies employed to talk with parents about other areas of the curriculum can be used to enlist their assistance in helping children learn to express emotions. For example, articles about learning to use words to label anger can be included in a newsletter to parents.

Children guided toward responsible anger management are more likely to understand and manage angry feelings directly and non aggressively and to avoid the stress often accompanying poor anger management (Eisenberg et al., 1991). Teachers can take some of the bumps out of understanding and managing anger by adopting positive guidance strategies.


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(8) TOPIC: Anorexia.

What is anorexia?

Anorexia, or anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder. Anorexics have a problem keeping their body weight in a normal range or even above a minimal weight level considered to be healthy.

Anorexia Nervosa.... is a disorder where the main characteristic is the restriction of food and the refusal to maintain a minimal normal body weight. Most Anorexics lose weight by restricting their food intake. Anorexics  may start by limiting or excluding foods that they perceive as having high fat or caloric content.

Once the disorder of Anorexia Nervosa takes hold, the individual usually ends up with an extremely restrictive diet that is sometimes limited to only a small number of foods. Additional methods of weight loss for Anorexics can include vomiting..., laxative abuse...., diuretic abuse..., insulin abuse..., chew-spitting, and excessive exercise....

For individuals suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, any actual gain or even perceived gain of weight is met with intense fear of becoming fat. With Anorexia Nervosa, weight loss usually does not lesson the fear, and in fact, the fear often increases following the weight loss... Not only is there a true feeling of fear, but also once in the grasp of the disorder, Anorexics experience body image distortions. Most individuals suffering from Anorexia  have an overall feeling of being overweight.

Some Anorexics  have an understanding that they are thin, but are concerned that parts of their bodies are fat.... Those areas of the body usually representing maturity or sexuality including the buttocks, hips, thighs, and breasts are visualized by the Anorexic  as being fat. An individual with Anorexia Nervosa  will often obsessively check their body size and weight through frequent weighing, measuring, pinching, and viewing themselves in a mirror.

With Anorexia  self-esteem and self worth is tied directly to the Anorexic's  body shape and weight. For an Anorexic,weight loss is viewed as a success, a sign of extraordinary self-discipline, and control over life. Conversely, any real or perceived weight gain is seen as a personal failure and loss of control for the Anorexic.

For some Anorexics, weight loss is so severe there is a loss of menstruation. Medical complications for individuals with Anorexics potential medical complications include emaciation, bradycardia, hypotension, hypothermia, impaired renal functioning and gastrointestinal problems.

If Anorexia Nervosa  is left untreated, it can be fatal.


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    Anorexia Nervosa Solving Worksheet
    For how many days has the loss of appetite been present?

    How old is the patient?

    Does the patient take diet pills? 

    Yes No

    Does the patient have a fear of gaining weight?

    Yes No

    Does the patient have abdominal pain?

    Yes No

    Does the patient have nausea?

    Yes No

    Does the patient have other a depressed mood? Yes    No  

    Studies continue........

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    Thing's To Do By The Counselor:
     Have a Amnesia Solving Worksheet

    Treatment for amnesia based on the patient's symptoms.

    For how many months have the symptoms been present?

    How old is the patient?

    Does the patient have difficulty remembering events in the distant past (more than 6 months ago)? 

    Yes No

    Does the patient have difficulty remembering events in the recent past (less than 2 hours ago)?

    Yes No

    Does the patient have difficulty remembering names?

    Yes No

    Does the patient have difficulty recognizing faces?

    Yes No

    Does the patient have difficulty getting dressed or grooming? Yes    No  


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    Anorexia Nervosa




    The complexity of eating disorders and understand the emotional, physical, nutritional, exercise, family and social components.


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    Using ipecac syrup



    Ipecac Abuse

    Some eating disordered individuals participate in the dangerous activity of using ipecac syrup as a means of purging. Ipecac syrup is a plant extract from the ipecacuanha scrub found in Brazil. When ingested, Ipecac syrup stimulates the central nervous system and the stomach, causing the person to vomit. Ipecacs sole purpose is to facilitate vomiting in an individual who has ingested poison or overdosed on medication. The use of Ipecac is for a single use, and the intent is for Ipecac syrup to never to be used on multiple occasions.

    The misuse of Ipecac syrup can cause significant and severe medical complications and even result in death. Karen Carpenter the recording artist who suffered from an eating disorder, actually died from the misuse of Ipecac syrup. The alkaloid emetine from the Ipecac syrup had caused severe damage to her heart, which eventually led to her going into cardiac arrest and subsequently dying. Complications of the misuse of Ipecac include but are not limited to:

    Cardiac Arrest
    Cardiac Arrhythmias
    Irreversible damage to the muscles of the heart
    High blood pressure
    Respiratory complications
    Electrolyte abnormalities

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    Laxative Abuse



    Laxative Abuse

    Some eating disordered individuals misuse laxatives as a means of purging. These individuals are under the misconception that through the use of laxatives they can get rid of unwanted calories. Since most of the calories eaten are absorbed by the small intestine right after eating, the method of using laxatives for weight loss is actually ineffective. Many laxatives act by irritating the lining of the intestines or by directly stimulating nerves. Continual over stimulation of the intestines form laxative abuse can eventually cause the bowels to become non-responsive. The following is one account of an individual who became entrapped in the misuse of laxatives.

    I am 19 years old and I never thought I would or could ever develop an eating disorder, but sure enough I did and am now suffering the consequences. I have always been athletic and very active so my weight was never a problem. This changed when I was sent away to boarding school my junior year of high school and was unable to practice the sports I played (gymnastics, soccer and swimming). My metabolism slowed down and I began to gain weight and lose the appearance of the lean and toned body I once possessed. For awhile it didn't seem to bother me until the entire thing blew out of proportion and took control of my life. It all started while I was at boarding school and I was having trouble going to the bathroom. At the first sign of constipation the nurses gave me laxatives and I would take them as I needed. Well I soon was drinking the orange flavored laxative fiber drink twice a day to keep me regular until eventually the drink stopped working all together. To make a long story short, from that point on I started taking different types of laxatives and kept upping the dose until the point were the particular type of laxative I was taking at the moment stopped working. Then I would start up on a new laxative and repeat the dance. During all of this, my mind somehow tricked itself into thinking I was losing weight every time I went to the bathroom. I was afraid that if I ever became irregular again and failed to have a bowel movement, I would gain weight. My laxative abuse graduated to where I started taking a stimulant laxative, which was very effective. I was now able to go to the bathroom every day and each time I went, I felt as if I just shed a few pounds. Well, when I left boarding school and came home I took advantage of my new laxative "miracle pills" (as I thought). I would binge eat and then take multiple laxative pills to "flush out my system" so I wouldn't gain weight. I soon was exceeding three times the recommended dose. I couldn't go to the bathroom without taking the laxative pills. If by chance I couldn't go to the bathroom, I felt as if I gained weight and wouldn't even leave bed for fear that people would see how fat I perceived myself. By this time I had been on the laxative pills for 3 years and the situation had grown into something so completely out of control that it was impossible for me to deal with it. I even dropped two classes because they were in the mornings and I couldn't go to them because I had to take my laxatives the night before, causing me to be on the toilet most of the following morning. Going out at night or the weekends became impossible because of the extreme stomach cramps they caused. I really became scared because these laxative pills had now taken complete control of my life and the way I felt about myself.

    The misuse of laxatives can cause significant and severe medical complications. These complications include but are not limited to:

    Abdominal pain, bloating, and fullness
    Esophageal perforations and lacerations (Mallory-Weiss Syndrome)
    Electrolyte abnormalities
    Irritable bowel syndrome
    Ulceration of the bowel
    Malabsorption of nutrients leading to hypoproteinemia, hypoalbuminemia and calcium deficiency
    Fatty infiltration of the liver
    Exacerbation of hemorrhoids
    Melanosis coli
    Gastric ulceration
    Gastric bleeding
    Intestinal injury

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    Diuretic Abuse



    Individuals suffering from eating disorders sometimes misuse diuretics in an attempt to lose or control their weight. In actuality diuretic misuse by the eating disordered individual does not facilitate weight loss but instead only reduce the amount of water in the body. Water in the body is vital for the appropriate functioning of all systems. By misusing diuretics the eating disordered individual is robbing the body of this crucial resource.

    The misuse of diuretics can cause the following severe and dangerous complications for the eating disordered individual:

    Kidney damage
    Cardiac Arrhythmias
    Electrolyte imbalance
    Heart palpitations
    Fluid retention
    Potassium deficiency

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    Insulin abuse



    Diabetes and Eating Disorders

    Because both disorders involve the control of food, diabetes and eating disorders can run hand-in- hand. Diabetes is a disorder that is a result of the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the body not being able to effectively use the insulin produced. The prevalence of eating disorders among insulin dependent diabetics is estimated to be two to six times higher than in the general population. Up to 25% of females with insulin dependent diabetes may have a diagnosable eating disorder. Although having diabetes has not been shown to cause eating disorders, the condition may increase the risk of developing them.

    The connection between eating disorders and diabetes may be a result of both disorders sharing some common traits and paths. To begin with, for many diabetics, the onset of diabetes is accompanied by an initial weight loss, which is often how the disorder is first recognized. This initial weight loss can be perceived as rewarding and become something the diabetic does not want to give up. Following diagnosis, the individual is started on insulin treatment, which often causes weight gain for the diabetic. This resultant weight gain may exacerbate any concerns of body image and cause anxiety for the newly diagnosed diabetic. Also complicating the situation are the dietary constraints imposed on diabetics. Both eating disorders and diabetes encourage individuals to pay accentuated attention to what they eat and weigh. Foods for individuals with an eating disorder and diabetes are no longer viewed as just for nutrition, but often gain the monikers of "forbidden" or "dangerous". The obsessive pursuit of gaining control of food can become central for both diabetics and eating disordered individuals. This struggle to maintain control can become the introduction to developing an eating disorder for a diabetic. The issue of control is of special importance for adolescent diabetics. Like all teenagers, adolescent diabetics strive for independence but besides the regular teen issues, adolescent diabetics must also grapple with someone or something else posing control over their food intake. Through the practice of an eating disorder, eating disordered diabetics may feel they have regained some of the lost control.

    When a diabetic has an eating disorder, they often fall into the dangerous behaviors of dieting, restricting and bingeing. The most dangerous practice being the misuse of their insulin. To avoid weight gain, some diabetics with eating disorders under use their insulin, causing their blood sugar to rise and spill into their urine. The accompanied weight loss is the result of the body's tissues being literally dissolved. Medical complications as a result of improper use of insulin or bingeing for diabetics with eating disorders include kidney failure, heart disease, blood circulation difficulties, and eyesight damage. Diabetics with eating disorders have a threefold risk of retinopathy (permanent damage to the retina of the eye). Diagnosing an eating disorder in a diabetic can be extremely difficult, even for professionals. The dietary concerns of diabetes can easily mask the eating disordered behavior. It is often hard to tell if the behaviors are symptoms of an eating disorder or just careful dietary management of the diabetes. When confronted, eating disordered diabetics often claim that they are just practicing good dietary control. One tale-tell sign of trouble is poorly controlled blood sugars for unexplained reasons.

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    Eating Disorders - Excercise Healthy exercise is an important component of our treatment program. Physical activity can act as a kinetic form of healing, facilitating a reconnection with the body. Exercise may be foreign to some individuals or may have been used as a method of purging. Our goal is to introduce the physical and psychological benefits that a program of regular exercise can offer. For exercise to be beneficial it does not have to be overly strenuous. Any activity that increases breathing and causes the use of major muscle groups for more than 15 minutes can be used to improve fitness. The type of physical activity we most recommend is walking. A walk will help increase cardiovascular endurance. With walking no expensive equipment or training is necessary. Many individuals waste money by joining expensive gyms or buying costly equipment utilizing them only for the first month and subsequently letting them collect dust. For others the gym can become an obsession, a place to compare bodies and push exercise to the extent of self-harm. With walking an individual can heal the body without the potential for abuse and best of all, a walking regimen can be easily incorporated into anyone's lifestyle.

    Our Course

    The distance of each walk is approximately 2.5 miles. Generally, the walk consists of a simple route with some varied terrain (flats and hills). To make it more interesting, the walk is usually conducted in a loop rather than retracing the same steps. The walk is conducted at least five times per week, weather permitting. The pace of our walks should cause you to breathe more rapidly and experience some discomfort but NOT PAIN. Think of a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is sitting in a chair and 10 is running up a flight of stairs as fast as possible. We ask each individual to conduct their walk at a personal exercise level (PEL) of 6.

    Other Forms of Exercise

    During the course of treatment other forms of exercise will be introduced such as: stretching, pilates, gym equipment, and low impact aerobics. Since these forms of exercise may have been used as purging methods in the past, the treatment team and the individual will decide on the appropriateness of incorporating these activities into the recovery process.

    Exercise Calendar

    As part of the treatment plan each individual will be completing an exercise calendar. Keeping an exercise calendar is one way of increasing adherence to a healthy long-term exercise regimen. On the calendar, the individual writes down on a daily basis which activity they participated in, the duration of the activity, their personal exercise level on a scale of 1 to 10, and how they felt about doing the exercise.

    Our main goal in terms of exercise is for each individual to receive the psychological and physical benefits of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle


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    WeightOver 80% of individuals who develop an eating disorder began their dysfunctional relationship with food through dieting. At Rader Programs we realize that there is so much more to an individual than just what they weigh. One of our main goals of treatment is to help our clients realize this fact for themselves. Our focus is not just on the weight, and our staff's responsibility does not include policing food intake or forcing individuals to do something that they do not wish to do. Instead we work from the inside out, concentrating on the individual's inner beauty. Your weight on any particular day or time does not yield much information, as body weight varies do to water retention, humidity, bowel contents and menstrual cycle.

    95% of all dieters regain the weight they lost within one to five years. 65 to 85 percent of the variability in body weight between individuals is due to genetics. If your family has a tendency to be a certain weight range you will tend to fall within that range. Studies involving twins have shown that identical twins have similar body weights, regardless of whether or not they grew up in the same household. Studies of adoptive children have shown comparable results in that the adoptive children's body weights were more similar to their biological parents than to their adoptive parents. Each one of us has this genetically predetermined weight range which our bodies strive for and wants to retain. This range is called the "set-point" weight. The set-point weight appears to be related to the number of fat cells an individual has by the end of their first year of life. According to set-point theory, strict dieting dramatically lowers the basal metabolic rate, causing the body to burn less food, thereby counteracting the strict diet.

    For many individuals, the number the scale reads in the morning determines what kind of day they are going to have. If the scale number is higher than they had hoped for they feel depressed and if they met their weight goal they feel elated. Constant weighing usually turns into a negative experience that leads to dissatisfaction and obsession. Many individuals who have come through our program have chosen to smash their scales and in the process have freed themselves from having their emotions tied to a number that has nothing at all to do with who they really are.

    To explore how weighing and the scale may have effected your life think about your answers to the following seven questions:

    When you think of the word SCALE what is the first word that pops into your mind?
    When you think of weighing yourself, what feelings come up for you?
    When was the last time you weighed yourself and how did you feel afterward?
    If someone were to ask you what you weigh, would you tell them the truth and how would you feel about telling them?
    When was the last time you had a positive experience when weighing yourself and how long did that feeling last?
    Think about three Individuals you care about and/or respect. Would you care about them or respect them any less if their weight was different?
    If you never weighed yourself again and only had feedback by how your clothes fit, what would you miss?

    We work with our clients to de-program themselves by replacing any false messages they have received about how they should look with realistic goals that take into account their own personal beauty and uniqueness.

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    Body Image




    Body Image

    Body Image is often a central issue for individuals with eating disorders. The body can be looked at as a canvas that the eating disorder individual paints their inner emotions on. Self-worth is often entangled with physical appearance. As an example of how emotions can be tied to our bodies, complete the following word association questionnaire:


    Write the first word or words that come to mind when you read the following words:
      Fat ___________________________
      Hips __________________________
      Stomach  ______________________
      Thighs ________________________
      Buttock _______________________
      Overweight ____________________

    For the word fat, did you think of a substance necessary for the proper functioning of the major organs, including the brain? Or for the word thighs, did you think of a major muscle group necessary for walking upright? Unfortunately the words usually associated with our body parts are negative in connotation. Individuals are usually more comfortable talking about those parts of the body they dislike than those they do like.

    To begin to develop more positive feelings towards our bodies, it is helpful to look at our first experiences in learning about our bodies. During infancy, physical sensations of the body are the way we begin to formulate the separate sense of ourselves from an otherwise seemingly shapeless and boundless space. How we feel about our bodies developed in direct response to how our caregivers treated our bodies during infancy and childhood. The ways in which we were touched, held, caressed and nurtured even before we could communicate sent us the message about how we should feel about our bodies. Individuals who were touched apathetically, held insecurely and neglected often develop poor and distorted body images later in life.

    During childhood we explored our bodies. If we were told that touching ourselves was "bad" we could have inferred the message that our bodies were something to be ashamed of. Comments about weight and teasing by family members can also lead to negative feelings about one's body. Not only the messages we received about our own bodies but how our parents related to their own bodies influenced our level of body image acceptance. Parents who displayed dissatisfaction with their bodies were likely to have children with body image disturbances.

    During adolescence the influence of peers became important. Self monitoring and comparing ourselves to others becomes central to our psyche. This may have been a time when we were particularly vulnerable to images in the media and the pressures from our peers. As our bodies developed and changed, how others and we reacted to these changes influenced our eventual body perception. Accepting and supporting these body changes is especially important for an adolescent girl's father. If a father feels uncomfortable or threatened about his daughter going through puberty and subsequently distances himself from his daughter, the adolescent girl may also try and reject her changing body. Other possible catalysts to a poor body image could have included sexual abuse, physical abuse, domineering coaches and controlling relationships.

    Not only a poor body image but also an overemphasis on appearance can lead to an eating disorder. Being labeled as a beauty can be both a blessing and a curse. When a child gets attention, admiration, and acceptance mainly for their looks, their self-worth can become intertwined with their appearance. Any real or perceived physical flaw is viewed as a flaw in their very essence. Their physical appearance becomes indistinguishable from their identity. They will often do what ever it takes to continue to get the attention for their looks.This is often the case for individuals who were once the ugly duckling and have since blossomed into a swan.For these individuals, nothing is worse than the fear that they may return to their perceived unattractive state.

    So now that we know some of the influences of body perception, how do we begin to develop a positive body image? In essence we de-program ourselves from the negative messages we have internalized over the years. You can accomplish this by connecting with, taking ownership of, and appreciating your body. Start by making a list of the parts of your body you like and the amazing things you can do with your body. You are probably more use to and comfortable with concentrating on those aspects of your body that you dislike, but instead concentrate on the positive. Constantly weighing yourself can be a negative experience that can lead to dissatisfaction and obsession. Many individuals who have come through our program have chosen to smash their scales and in the process have freed themselves from having their emotions tied to a number that has nothing at all to do with who they really are. It will also be important for you to re-program yourself by replacing any false messages you have received about how you should look with realistic goals that take into account the beauty and uniqueness of you. You may even want to avoid and not purchase fashion magazines that promote a body type that fits less then three percent of the population. Lastly, take time to give yourself the things your body needs. You may be familiar with nutritionally nourishing your body but you also need to emotionally nourish your body.


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