Eating disorder counsellor
Dr Joan Collett Somerset West, Helderberg, Stellenbosch
I am expertly qualified and equipped to deal with a range of problems and/or addictions. My primary area of expertise is eating disorders (Anorexia Nervosa/Bulimia Nervosa), though my therapeutic care and support extends to include substance abuse/addiction, depression and relationship counselling.
Eating Disorders: Confronting Deeper Hurts
My View on Eating Disorders
Contrary to popular belief that anorexia and bulimia are issues isolated to food and eating, I believe that they are about feelings. Rather than viewing obsessive eating behaviours as the root of the problem, I view them as superficial symptoms masking what is, in fact, a deeper hurt – the hurt of a self that is seeking to be noticed; a self that has fallen out of love with itself.
Anorexia and bulimia are disorders that lie very close to my heart – I’ve witnessed first-hand the devastating and destructive effect they can have on their victims, in extreme cases even resulting in death.
I cannot understand how everything changed so quickly. I realise I am not okay. I feel guilty, the fingers in my throat have become like gods, when I vomit I feel safe...Mari, 20
I fight against food and getting sick until late in the day because I do not want my food to come out again! I am eating less but I feel fatter! I cannot eat today because I do not want to vomit again...Anna, 16
But it became obsessive, the point counting It became addictive, watching the scale dial move down. Fitting into smaller clothes. The compliments There was a glamour about it, a shimmer, a sparkle...Rene, 15
- Secretive restriction/purging of food which provides a sense of control
- Feelings of uneasiness and anxiety, especially in the company of others
- Loneliness and hurting
- Excessive suspicion or distrust, overwhelmed by a feeling that no-one understands
- Constant comparison and evaluation of yourself in terms of others
- Possessing a deep uncertainty with regard to your sense of meaning/direction/purpose in life
- People close to you are worried/have expressed concern
- Increasingly rigid diet
- Over-eating or bingeing
- The need to exercise longer and harder
- The abuse of laxatives
- Self-mutilation (cutting or burning)
- Withdrawal and a need for isolation
Acknowledging the presence of an eating disorder is by no means a show of weakness or source of shame – it is a sign of strength, and an integral first step toward recovery and healing.
If you recognise any of the above behaviours, don’t wait, contact me now!