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The Bigger Picture

A Paradigm Shift Around Weight is Occurring in Our Field

Judith Matz • 11/26/2018 • 3 Comments

By Judith Matz - Societal norms regarding weight, health, and eating affect every client we work with, regardless of body size. Here's how you can support people of all sizes when it comes to respecting and taking care of their bodies without inadvertently causing harm.

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VIDEO: Why Not All Mental Health Problems Are Psychological

Minding the Body Means More Than Just Taking a Pill

Robert Hedaya • 8/8/2018 • 2 Comments

Most therapists recognize that physiological processes hugely influence emotion and behavior. But according to psychiatrist Robert Hedaya, too many tend to practice as if treatment should focus entirely on the mind. A comprehensive physiological evaluation is needed, he says, before determining that a medication trial is appropriate.

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A Paradigm of Wholeness

Offering Medication as the Primary—And Often Only—Treatment Isn't Working

Henry Emmons • 7/21/2018 • 2 Comments

By Henry Emmons - Today, medication management remains the primary role of most psychiatrists. In my view, it’s not working well, either for our patients, or for ourselves. Feeling deeply that something was missing in my own psychiatry practice, I developed a three-stage process for treating depression through more holistic, integrative work.

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Why Don't Diets Work? CBT's Judith Beck Has the Answer

A Five-Step Process for Mastering Dieting Skills

Judith Beck • 3/20/2018 • 3 Comments

Judith Beck - Why is it so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan and a reasonable exercise regimen? From the viewpoint of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), when it comes to changing behavior, especially long-term, habitual patterns, getting yourself to do something different, even when you know it's good for you, depends largely on what you tell yourself: that is, on your thinking.

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Approaching Food Differently

Treating Binge Eating from a Non-Diet Perspective

Sandra Wartski • 3/9/2018 • 1 Comment

By Sandra Wartski - Although binge eating disorder is the most common type of eating disorder, many people suffering with it don’t get the help they need because of their embarrassment about their bodies and eating habits. The approach to treating it is similar to other eating-disorder work, but we need to be especially vigilant about addressing issues of self-agency and keeping the focus more on wellness than weight.

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The Hidden Link Between Diets and Overeating

Why Therapists Need to Be Weight-Neutral

Judith Matz • 5/4/2016 • 4 Comments

By Judith Matz - Clients struggling with compulsive eating often seek therapy because they feel overeating may have an emotional component. But the idea that people overeat to soothe or avoid painful emotions is only part of the story. Dieting---intentional self-deprivation---sets in motion automatic physiological and psychological factors that actually trigger overeating. In fact, there's growing evidence that diets make us fat! And not only does dieting make people fatter: it affects psychological health.

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The Secret Ingredients for Effective Therapy in Inner-City Communities

Thelma Dye on Inspiring Hope at Harlem's Northside Center

Thelma Dye • 11/20/2015 • No Comments

When you do therapy in poor, underserved, inner-city communities, it’s important to be aware of the message your program communicates. For example, we never underestimate how important it is for people in the community to see our the environment at Northside Center for Child Development---a community-based agency in Harlem that’s provided outpatient mental health and educational services to children and families for 70 years---as a place that’s well cared for, inviting, and reflective of their culture. Regardless of training, the most important thing our therapists bring to the table is the strong belief that clients can get better, despite life circumstances.

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A Diet-Free Way to Help Clients with Eating Problems

Judith Matz on Abandoning Weight Loss as a Marker for Success

Judith Matz • 10/30/2015 • 2 Comments

Most therapists have been taught that if we can help clients understand the emotional triggers of their overeating, they’ll be able to control their behavior and lose weight. We tend to build strategies around nutrition, portion control, and exercise habits. But more often than not, the pursuit of weight loss typically triggers and sustains overeating. My focus with clients who have overeating and weight concerns is to help them learn how to have a healthy relationship with food. We therapists need to recognize that when we reinforce the notion of weight loss as a marker of success, we set our clients up to leave therapy with even more shame about one more failure.

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Can Childhood Trauma Lead to Adult Obesity?

How One Study Exposed the Connection Between Early Life Abuse and Weight Gain

Mary Sykes Wylie • 9/24/2015 • No Comments

During the mid-1980s, Vincent Felitti, founder of Kaiser Permanente's Department of Preventive Medicine, began directing a new obesity-treatment program. But within a year or two, Felitti and his colleagues began having a very unusual problem. Virtually none of the patients were fat as children. They'd gained their weight abruptly, usually in response to a difficult life event. But the shocking news was that the interviews revealed an unsettling pattern of childhood sexual abuse, trauma, family suicides, brutality, and other evidence of severely dysfunctional family relationships.

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A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Solution for Losing Weight

Judith Beck on Why CBT Could Be Your Best Weight Loss Strategy

Judith Beck • 8/11/2015 • 5 Comments

Why is it so difficult to lose weight and keep it off? From the viewpoint of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the reason isn’t hard to find: knowing what to do and knowing how to get yourself to do it are entirely separate skills. When it comes to changing behavior, especially long-term, habitual patterns, getting yourself to do something different, even when you know it’s good for you, depends largely on what you tell yourself: that is, on your thinking. Outlined here is a program I’ve developed for nonpsychiatric (and noneating-disordered) individuals that utilizes the basic principles of CBT to address overeating directly.

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