We all need soothing and comfort. Life is stressful, even in the best of circumstances. These days, that stress can be overwhelming. But eating can only offer the distraction of pleasure (followed by the distraction of body shame or worries about health). You can learn to give yourself the exquisite comfort and soothing you really need by listening to your feelings and being gentle with yourself. As you do, the need for medicinal cookies will likely abate.
Most of us have been led to believe that self esteem can (and must) be earned. “When I get my degree, lose ten pounds, get that promotion, have x dollars (and on and on), I will feel good about myself.” Our culture promotes this view because insecurity feeds the fires of capitalism. In reality, the opposite is true. When we treat ourselves lovingly, consistently over time, we fall in love with the wonderful person who is always so kind to us. That’s my definition of self esteem.
You look like a rock star, always on top of things, responsible, the one that others depend on. But you’re exhausted, resentful, lonely, and furious that no one is taking care of you. Codependency is a strategy we discover to connect to parents who have unmet dependency needs from childhood. We care for them to get a smidge more of the love we need. Now, your mission is to give yourself the care you’ve been giving to others. By meeting your own dependency needs, you can heal your codependency.
My studies in attachment theory began in grad school and continued with Stan Tatkin, who developed the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy. Stan’s training focused on developing secure attachment for couples to regulate physical and emotional stress. I’ve adapted Stan’s work so that the same stress relieving and security building behaviors can be applied from an inner parent to an inner child. Secure attachment within the self then fosters security in all relationships.
My studies in eating disorders relied on feminist theory revealing how women have systemically been objectified, depersonalized and devalued. Further work with feminist therapist Robyn Posin, deepened my awareness of how pervasive, toxic, and internalized sexism is. The burgeoning movement toward intersectionality continues to grow and inform my work, helping clients recognize and root out the shame and devaluation of the feminine and the “other” in a culture where white-male is “normal.”
My training in somatic therapies began with Bessel Van Dear Kolk’s training on the physiological consequences of trauma, including attachment trauma. I have studied the work of Peter Levine, and spent six months learning Somatic Experiencing. My work is also informed by yoga and Rolfing.