EDIT™ Principle #1
Love Your Self

EDIT™ Principle #1 – Love Your Self

The first EDIT™ Principle involves Self-Love – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. People with eating disorders typically only hear the critical chatter of their Eating Disorder (ED) mind. However, this is their “false self” – ED is NOT who they really are! We all have a compassionate voice within, which we might call the Intuitive Therapist (IT). As EDIT™ Practitioners, we model the voice of IT until clients can her IT within themselves. The EDIT™ process involves having ED-IT dialogues with clients. Here’s what this might sound like:

ED (false self) – “I’ll love myself when I look the way I should.”

The false self believes that the body is its identity, and that self-love implies body-love. Therefore, the only way to have self-love is to have a body which conforms to ideal standards. However, these standards are elusive, and even if they are attained, somehow it’s still not good enough. Ultimately, it’s never good enough.

IT (True Self): “I love my whole Self, exactly as I am.”

The True Self has spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects. There is an honoring and an acceptance of the entire Self – exactly as it is in the moment. There is no need to “fix” anything. There is freedom from the ideals of society, and no effect due to opinions of others. The True Self is already “good enough,” always has been, and always will be.

Try this “taste” of EDIT™ – ED-IT Dialogue

Click on the image below for a downloadable worksheet which you can use to guide clients to see themselves as more than their eating disorders, and more than their bodies. Discover Self-Love from this perspective of the True Self.

Scroll below the image for guidelines about using the worksheet.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT

 

Ugghhh! My thighs are so fat and disgusting…
I shouldn’t have eaten that, now I’ve got to get rid of it…
I’ve had this eating disorder my whole life, I’ll never get better…

Have you heard your clients make statements like these, or something similar? That’s the “Voice of the Eating Disorder” – or, ED. Explain this to your client, saying something like, “That’s ED talking right now. ED makes critical statements, like the ones you just said.” You can further explain to your client that ED can seem to dominate their mind, as if ED thoughts are the only thoughts they think. In early stages of recovery, the voice of ED can be very loud, chattering on and on with judgments and criticisms – but it’s often like background noise in your client’s mind, because they may not be aware of everything ED says. However, because these are the dominant messages in your client’s mind, the voice of ED can be very destructive to their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. These ED thoughts are what drive ED behaviors – as you re-read the three examples above, can you think of ED behaviors that might follow those thoughts.

Encourage your client by saying something like, “You are not ED! You have another voice within you, which gently counters the voice of ED, and encourages you on a path of recovery.” This “recovery voice” is what you are modeling for them as their therapist, especially when you offer compassionate feedback or guidance to take that next small but healthy step. When you are speaking to your client in this way, you are likely accessing your own intuitive wisdom. In this sense, you are modeling the “Voice of the Intuitive Therapist” – or, IT. Intuitive wisdom goes beyond the analysis and thought processes of the logical mind. And while intuitive wisdom is typically heartfelt, it goes beyond raw emotion. From a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) perspective, you can consider the Intuitive Therapist (IT) as the “Wise Mind.” Here are some words of wisdom that IT might say:

Wow! There are so many amazing things about you…
That was exactly what you wanted, and it’s OK to have eaten it…
Complete recovery is possible, by taking one small recovery step today…

In a session with your client, you might find yourself engaged in an ED-IT dialogue with your client. They reveal the critical messages which keep them stuck in their eating disorder behaviors, while you try to counter these messages with intuitive wisdom. Note that you’re not just saying the opposite of what your client says. For example, you would NOT want to have a dialogue like this:

ED’s critical thought: Ugghhh! My thighs are fat and disgusting.
Opposite of ED: Your thighs are not fat, they are beautiful!
ED’s critical thought: You’re lying to me. Anyone can see how fat my things are.

What happens if you say the simple opposite of ED to your client? They don’t believe you. In part, this is why basic affirmations are not effective to shift the deep rooted inner critic. These “opposites” or what might seem like affirmations can actually make the client’s ED voice even stronger. Your client feels stuck. And you as their therapist feel stuck! Let’s look at another example. Refer to the ED-IT Dialogue worksheet:

ED’s critical thought: Ugghhh! My thighs are fat and disgusting.
IT’s compassionate reply: Another possibility is that your thighs are strong.
ED’s argument: How can they be strong when they’re so fat and gross?
IT’s nonjudgmental observation: That’s interesting… so what does strong look like?
ED’s retort: Lean, toned, muscular legs!
IT’s curious query: What would happen if you noticed how strong your legs feel?

In this example, you as the therapist are guiding the client to shift away from how the body looks to how the body feels. This is one way to model intuitive wisdom for your client. Remember, as the Intuitive Therapist, you are guiding your client to go within themselves to access their “hidden” parts – from their mind and body, into their heart and soul. The above example guides clients to go into their bodies to feel sensation, and hopefully into their hearts to feel emotion as well. Going to a deeper level – the level of the soul – you might say something like this:

ED’s critical thought: Ugghhh! My thighs are fat and disgusting.
IT’s compassionate reply: Another possibility is that your thighs have a beauty you can’t see with your body’s eyes.
ED’s argument: My eyes see just fine. And they see fat thighs!
IT’s nonjudgmental observation: That’s interesting… that’s what your body’s eyes see. But what do the eyes of your soul see?
ED’s retort: What do you mean, eyes of my soul?
IT’s curious query: What would happen if you closed your eyes for a moment? I’ll guide you to see with your soul’s eyes…

Now, you have your client’s interest – and trust – and you can guide them with a visualization to imagine what their soul’s eyes might see. Perhaps their soul doesn’t have any labels to describe thighs from a physical perspective. Perhaps their soul can sense the amazing experience of “having a body.” Perhaps their soul feels gratitude for their whole Self, exactly as it is in this moment, serving a spiritual purpose on the physical plane. Meet your client where they are – and gently guide your client to explore the deeper parts of themselves.

Complete this ED-IT Dialogue worksheet in a session with your client, filling in the text bubbles for the conversation. Suggest to your client that they refer to this worksheet as an example, so they can practice their own ED-IT dialogue. Encourage your client to write ED-IT dialogues in their journal, and consider using different color pens to represent the different voices of ED and IT. With practice, your client will be able to “talk back to ED” in a consistently compassionate way, using their own voice of IT to guide their next healthy steps of recovery!

©2018 by Dr. Dorie McCubbrey. Dr. Dorie is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Licensed Addiction Counselor who is passionate about training professionals to effectively guide clients in recovery from eating disorders, through her Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ Certified program. She also meets with clients at her treatment center, Positive Pathways PLLC, located in Evergreen Colorado. Learn more at: https://www.drdorie.com

Article may be reprinted with this author bio.

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Want more that this “taste” of EDIT™? 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 303-494-1975EMAIL DR. DORIE – GET CERTIFIED