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3 top things that make therapy effective, (for Binge Eating Disorder and weight loss)

Have you exhausted all routes to try to stop your Binge Eating? Have you been Binge Eating for a while and now you think it is time to try therapy? These tips which are written by a therapist are to help you make therapy effective for you. 

Going to any mental health professional can be daunting. There are all sorts of fears arising if you have never had therapy before. Will the therapist be judgemental? What will they think of me? I’m here to tell you that therapy should be a safe, non-judgmental, and confidential place.  

Let’s explore what therapy is and how to make it work for you. 

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How therapy works

Coming into a therapy room can be daunting. What are your expectations?  Psychotherapy works by bringing into the conscious what is in the conscious. It is processing your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and helping you to change those behaviours into ones that are acceptable for you. 

Further Reading – What to expect from therapy

Understand the type of therapy you’re getting

There are many different types of therapy. Some therapists will specialise in one modality and others will be what is known as integrative therapists, meaning they have been trained and use a combination of modalities and tailor them specifically to you. It is useful to know the differences so you can decide what suits you and would make therapy effective for you.

Here is a list of some forms of therapy. 

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy 

This as it suggests, focuses on your cognition and your behaviour. It helps you to understand your thought processes and how they affect your behaviours. This is suitable for people who like to use logic and want to understand how their minds work. 


This uses the power of your unconscious to help you to relax and feel more positive about yourself. The therapist can help you to visualise more positive behaviour patterns and can increase your level of confidence and self-esteem. 

Humanistic therapy

This therapy focuses on you as a whole. It takes into consideration not just the problem you are facing, but other aspects of you and your life that could be contributing to your eating disorder. Person-centred therapy is an aspect of this where the therapy is centred around you as opposed to the problem. It is sometimes known as interpersonal therapy. 

Psychodynamic therapy

This is a form of psychotherapy where a relationship is looked for between your past and present. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung were the founders of this type of therapy and their studies saw us repeating patterns from our childhoods. By going back and resolving our conflicts and unresolved feelings from our childhoods, unlocked our unconscious in the present. 

Somatic Psychotherapy. 

This is a type of therapy that is body-centred. It focuses on the physical body and the emotions and feelings that are felt from the past. Eating is a very feeling activity, so this type of therapy can help you with intuitive eating. 

An important point of consideration is not only the modality but the therapist themselves. In the therapy room, a real relationship is formed and the benefits of psychotherapy not only come from the techniques but the therapeutic relationship. 

Further Reading – How does Cognitive Behaviour Therapy help for Binge Eating

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Things to consider before you start therapy. 

Before you start therapy there are a few things to consider. Therapy is not a quick-fix solution, nor at times is it a short-term solution. The number of therapy sessions and times it takes will be dependent upon your individual circumstances.  

How to get the most out of therapy

Before jumping into therapy, take the time to think about what you can do to ensure you get the most out of it. 

Below are some of the tips to help you make therapy more effective for you. 

Decide what you want to achieve from therapy

Decide what you want to achieve from therapy. You will experience some difficult emotions and will have highs and lows. Think about what behaviours you do or don’t want and how you want your quality of life to look at the end of therapy. 

Find the Right Therapist

Finding the right therapist makes all the difference to your therapy experience. The therapist will work hard to understand you and therefore will be able to help you better. You need to feel safe, be comfortable sharing your inner world and trust. Effective therapists provide an environment where there is empathy, and honesty and they have your best interests at heart. 

To ensure the right fit for you, you should have the opportunity to discuss your situation with potential therapists. You can do this in the therapy office or online as some therapists will offer online therapy.

Don’t expect your therapist to tell you what to do.

The therapist is there to support you and help you to understand yourself, your problems and how you relate to your world. The therapist is a facilitator to you changing yourself. Therapy is there to help you become autonomous in life. No one can do that if you have someone telling you what to do or think. 

Therapy is not for you if you;

Want someone to fix your problems

Are not prepared to take responsibility for your progress. 

Are not prepared to do any of the work required. 

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Try to Connect With Your Therapist

The right therapist can make a huge difference to you. Many therapists will have good techniques and will have their own signature strengths. Each therapist will have different approaches to psychotherapy. However, it is the connection that will help you to explore your deeper issues. In that connection, you have a lot going on in the unconscious. When a therapist is in tune with you, it helps you to understand you and your character strengths and development points. The therapist and the connection is what can make therapy effective for you.

Don’t keep things to yourself.

The idea of therapy is to explore your maladaptive behaviors, your deeper unconscious to heal the past and to find room for opportunities for growth. If you find keeping things to yourself, then that is something to talk about during therapy. Explore your fears about exposing your thoughts and feelings to the therapist. 

Let your emotions show.

Some people are not connected to their emotions and some people don’t know how to show their emotions. Our emotions are the aspect of us that is a big driver for the way we act and behave. Many of our communication patterns will come from our emotions. Therapy is there to help you connect with those emotions. 

Look For Themes and Patterns

When I help someone with their Binge Eating Disorder and or eating problems I look for behavior patterns. We will exhibit the same recurring patterns and themes throughout our lives. This can take us back to our childhood or to a traumatic event. It can tell us the source of your issues. 

Expect And Allow Change

If you are going into therapy being cynical, thinking this will never work, then it won’t work for you. You are going to therapy for a reason. The therapist is helping you to change. They are not doing the work for you. By working together, being open to change, and having a positive expectation, you will see changes. 

Tell your therapist what’s working and what isn’t

Therapy is a two-way street and that means direct communication on what is and what is not working for you. It is something to be discussed so that the therapist can change the way they are helping you so you benefit from this individual therapy. 

Enjoy Your Therapy

This sounds strange, especially if you are exploring the past, digging up suppressed emotions, and talking about things that you don’t want to talk about. But therapy is an evolvement and you will notice the more you feel comfortable sharing your inner world, how your outer world changes for the better. 

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Successful clients are willing to tolerate short-term discomfort

Some people are not willing to explore any form of discomfort. Any feeling that is not comfortable is shut down. It is in the discomfort that we will find our growth. 

Part of exposure therapy is exposing yourself to the very thing that is causing you discomfort so you start to normalise the feelings and they get easier for you. 

Successful clients are willing to do things that feel counterintuitive or even illogical

When we are talking about our behavior patterns and aspects of daily life, at times there is nothing logical about them. In therapy we are not here to discuss the logical, we are here to explore the illogical and thoughts and feelings that do not make sense to you. 

Discomforts with therapy

Therapy will usually involve weekly sessions and everything will be discussed in the therapy hour, which might be 50mins. 

There are four stages to learning: 

Unconscious incompetence

Therapy might start out very positive. It feels good to talk and get things off your chest. You are dont know what you don’t know and this phase feels good.

Conscious incompetence

As you get deeper into your psyche, you become aware of your underuse of strengths and what you can not do or do not do. This part is painful because there is a realisation of what is not right in your world. 

Conscious competence

As you work on the things that are not right and start bringing in new habits, you reach this stage where you are using all your focus to put into practise your new skills and you have to concentrate on them. 

Unconscious competence

As you keep going talking and exploring yourself, you reach a stage where you do not have to think about your new skills, you just do them and don’t think about it. This is when you realise the benefits of therapy. 

Further Reading – Healing your inner child for weight loss

When to end therapy

That is a good question, when do you finish therapy? Only you will know. You will get to a point where you have explored everything there is for the time being. Your issues are not bothering you anymore and you are in a happy positive space. 

The bottom line

Therapy is an amazing investment in yourself. Many people have reported it to be life-changing. They come away with positive emotions, sometimes with better physical health, and generally feel life is more on their side, it is how they want it. 

At times it is not an easy process, however, you come out with life on your terms. 

About Vanessa McLennan

Vanessa is an emotional eating expert with a passion for natural health, superfoods and psychology. She helps women from all over the world to successfully lose weight by escaping the diet cycle and end their emotional eating patterns. She holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy as well as qualifications in EMDR, EFT, Emotional Eating, IBS therapist. Check out her free guide to help you break free of the diet cycle