One of my favorite parts of working with clients in recovery from eating disorders is doing the therapeutic work around values. I’m sure if I were to post a survey that asked for respondents to provide their definition of the word “value,” there would be a plethora of answers and opinions. For the sake of this post, I think of values as what we hold dear to our hearts and what drives the direction of our lives. Values move us closer to the things and people we care about and farther away from the pieces of our lives that are no longer serving us. Taking a meaningful look at values and what this means in the eating disorder recovery process may be a helpful part of your journey
- Identify what types of thoughts and behaviors are reinforced when you are in your eating disorder self. Ask yourself: what is important to my eating disorder? This oftentimes looks like rigidity, lack of flexibility around food, body avoidant behaviors, or compulsive exercise…(Note, this list is by no means all-inclusive, just a few examples). Another question to help determine what your eating disorder values: when I’m acting on my eating disorder thoughts and engaging in behaviors, how does this impact my mood, choices, or the how I care for myself?
- Identify what values your recovery self holds. These values are usually in line with your authentic/healthy self as well. We can typically identify what we value by asking ourselves the question of “what is important to me?” or “where do I want to be spending my time.”
- Notice differences between the two. Oftentimes, there is a significant difference between our eating disorder behaviors/actions/thoughts and our actual value system. Take time to reflect and marinate on this.
As always, I am rooting for you!
By: Laura Deneen, LPC-MHSP, CEDS-S, NCC
Anchored Counseling Company is a group practice specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, body image concerns, eating disorders & disordered eating, substance use, trauma and PTSD, and spirituality in Brentwood, Tennessee and serving the greater Nashville, Tennessee area. We are easily accessible for clients living in Franklin, Tennessee and Spring Hill, Tennessee.