Diana is overweight. For more then five years she has put on weight although she tried to be very mindful of what she is eating, and in spite of the 60 minutes walk she has every day. For some reason, the weight keeps on adding, sheltering Diana from the world out there. And from herself.
She is a highly motivated person when it comes to her work and her couple relationship. A manager coordinating over 50 people in a fast pace environment, in a stable long-term relationship, Diana would have said that at 32 years old she is doing quite well. Except that she isn't. When I ask her about how she feels, she finds it hard to articulate the words. She doesn't really talk about feelings, unless she needs to focus on problem solving a specific situation. I encourage her, in almost a trance like state to open up. She cries at first and then, almost asking permission, with a slow voice she tells me she feels alone. Ashamed. She feels angry towards herself. Dissapointed. There is no reason for this weight. And she is tired. Too many diets, with no results. Diana feels lost. Confused. She has lived like this for so long that now she can't even bare to look and acknowledge the pounds. And the more she runs away, more fat adds up.
I help her to move a few steps away from her story. We have a dialogue about her using the third person. I ask who is Diana that resides in that body she dislikes. She describes a lot of positive, uplifting traits. I continue by inquiring when was the last time she was so disciplined and hard working. It happened recently on a project at work. I am curious about her patience. She recounts how she had worked for years on her relationship. After just about 30 minutes in the session I am proud of her. I wish she would hear and listen to herself. But she doesn't; she takes all the things she does for granted. And I don't know why, but she needs to punish herself. It does not matter why. What we both want is to allow the beautiful Diana to shine. Hidden under pounds of fat, there is a superb woman. And our goal for the next 10 sessions is to orient all the skills that Diana already has into her new project - losing weight.
By the end of the session Diana comes back from trance. She feels light, almost stepping on clouds. Relaxed, like after a very sound sleep. I ask her to listen to the recording of the trance every day until I see her again. Her homework for this first week is to eat as much sugar as she can: chocolate, ice cream, biscuits, cookies, whatever she finds in her way... she will eat it all. She looks dismayed. But she trusts me. So she promises she will.
**the name and description of this case have been altered to protect the confidentiality of the client.
Every therapy session is unique, shaped on the client's resources and willingness for change. Change does not require a manifestation of the client's dream or fantasy, but it happens as a small imbalance in the daily routine, in the habits that keep the symptom stuck. A small change develops exponentially into a more healthy and active lifestyle.