Hello SOTGC community,
Previously, I discussed the importance of listening. At AmoraMED Institute, this goes beyond merely listening to content. I am talking about a deeper level of mindful listening, an empowering quality of attentiveness to the totality of what the patient communicates during their office visit. When a patient feels truly heard, the process of healing can begin.
While the therapeutic value of such deep listening is profound in any life situation, it is essential to the AmoraMED approach. It inevitably builds trust, elicits respect and fosters a mutual receptivity within the doctor-patient dialogue that supports the patient to take an empowered approach to their healthy lifestyle goals.
The physician is also inspired through gaining a comprehensive understanding of the root cause of the dis-ease, which assists in providing integrative treatment options. As rapport easily develops, it allows the patient to respond more positively to my recommendations and the treatment itself.
A recent patient — to maintain confidentiality, we’ll call her Alice — came to me with a cardiomyopathy (a dilated heart with reduced pump function). A major contributing factor was Alice’s struggle with obesity. Weight loss, therefore, was crucial to her heart-health treatment recommendations, however she had failed to accomplish this health goal using previous traditional weight loss approaches.
Alice’s weight had been fluctuating, and we decided to explore why. By drawing her out in conversation and continuing to apply fully present, deep, attentive listening, we discovered together that her overeating resulted from an emotional issue — filling a longstanding emotional void with food.
Furthering our dialogue, it became clear that Alice’s emotional eating was actually a mechanism to deal with anxiety she’d been carrying around since her teen years.
Ongoing deep attentive listening gave rise to additional relevant questions, and soon we came to realize that Alice’s emotional eating was actually a food addiction. This is an addiction very much like any other — alcohol, gambling, drugs, sex — the issues to heal are the same.
To help Alice acknowledge this food addiction and identify it as the root source of the issue, I engaged her in a mind-body session using guided imagery in combination with mindfulness breathing. Seeking a root-level approach to healing the addiction, we gave it “a voice” and invited it to dialogue with us and reveal its purpose in Alice’s life.
In this session, the image of a little girl emerged to represent the food addiction. “Little Alice” expressed disdain over how grown-up Alice had given up on her healthy sense of self. As a result, she was “not interested” in being helpful. Emotional states including judgment, anger and a sense of not belonging were uncovered, as well as insecurities around self-acceptance and self-worth.
Next, Alice and I had a conversation about ownership of the condition, responsibility, choice, authentic self-help, and how collaborative teamwork could heal the energy and emotions perpetuating the food addiction. We offered Little Alice an opportunity to be part of the process, and she accepted. We then scheduled a lunchtime appointment as a coaching session around food.
That’s when another aspect of Alice stepped in. The saboteur.
Join us next time as we confront the “Strong-Headed Saboteur” and explore the different facets of self-sabotage and its impact on health and wellness.
Photo credit: www.stepupleader.com