CBT for Weight Reduction
Weight Reduction and CBT
Weight reduction in Britain is a multi-billion pound industry. The problem with both dieting and exercise programmes is that, on their own, they do not work with the underlying reasons why people constantly lose weight only to regain it and end up with a larger body mass index than at the commencement of these programmes.
At any one time, it is estimated that over two thirds of British women in total are on a slimming regime.
Scientific research in the United States shows that patterns of comfort eating of high carbohydrate and fat rich foods begin in childhood where stress and emotional pain and their concomitant reduction of these chemicals in the brain (cortisol, serotonin uptake, endorphin or natural morphine response in the brain, moradrenal) are greatly reduced after eating high calorie, high fat foods.
Childhood behaviour patterns to reduce stress and emotional pain are carried through into adulthood, and are reinforced because they are effective in the short term in reducing the symptoms associated with low mood. It is only one of the reasons people over-eat.
In a society which over-emphasises slimness as the way to success, love and personal happiness, even in childhood, the relationship between self worth and a positive self image are strongly correlated with body image, and problems begin with the internalisation of these values with their relationship and meaning of food in itself.
In a nutshell, this constant striving to measure up yo-yo’s between dieting and a series of self-governing rules of what is expected in order to be good enough, fit in and be part of the social expectations of their group, and the inevitable failure to keep these strict eating regimes up.
This results in the devaluation of the self and the feelings of failure, worthlessness and self esteem problems because of self worth which is conditional on meeting these unrelenting standards.
Cognitive Therapy and Weight Reduction
CBT is more effective than diet and exercise regimes on their own because it works at the underlying core issues which perpetuate these gain loss cycles. By treating the underlying causes of these patterns clients are appreciably less prone to relapse.
Areas which underly these cyclical patterns in weight fluctuation are:
- Self Esteem issues – problems of self worth, self esteem
- Body dimorphism – a self image which has a distorted picture of how one physically appears to others
- Stress related problems – difficulty in providing alternative strategies coping in anxiety and depression
- Social anxiety – Specific problems socially related to self-consciousness in social situations
- Feminist issues – Relationship issues with men/women in the physical/sexual presentation of the self
- Identity confusion – Childhood problems which have been unresolved and make maturation into adulthood more difficult.
These are but a few of the underlying problems which cause people to overeat. In the initial assessment clients come for a CBT assessment using extensive diagnostic tests to determine what these problems are, and to design an individual treatment plan based on this diagnosis to change these.
The advantages of using CBT together with conventional weight loss methods is that by improving self esteem and better stress management strategies, clients use other coping skills besides food to regain and hold their weight loss gains, and this mitigates against relapse by approaching these problems both on a symptom and core belief level, instead of operating purely externally where food is the main problem.
Virtual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Convenient, private and secure
Online Therapy is available to anyone, anywhere in the world at home or in the office using a tablet, mobile phone or laptop / computer and a good internet connection.
This service would appeal to client's for a variety of reasons.
- Clients location would make it difficult / impossible to access Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
- Clients time-pressure, work deadlines, and work-based travel make it difficult to commit for the normal counselling time-scale.
- Clients family commitments make it easier to have treatment on-line at home.
- Clients prefer an initial face to face assessment, and then combine both treatment modalities.