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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Weight Problems

Jul 7, 2008
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment that is evidenced to be effective at helping people overcome and manage difficulties such as anxiety, depression, OCD, agoraphobia, and other such problems. Cognitive behaviour therapy is a short-term talking therapy, meaning that you will not require input for long periods of time.

Did you know that CBT is also useful at helping people with weight and eating problems? A CBT approach is not about faddy diets but rather you developing an understanding of the psychological blocks that keep you locked in unhealthy eating and weight problems. Most approaches to weight-loss focus on changing your eating and activity behaviours, e.g. through diet and exercise. These approaches do not take account of the internal psychological factors behind your eating and activity behaviours - your thoughts and feelings. I am an occupational therapist and I use CBT Edinburgh to help people who want to overcome weight problems.

CBT therapy will teach you about the link between your thoughts, feelings and your eating behaviour. You will learn to be able to recognise the thinking and feeling patterns that keep your weight problem going. This will include being able to separate emotional signals from genuine hunger signals and as a result learn how to meet emotional needs in new and appropriate ways.

You will learn how to monitor your thinking and challenge disturbed patterns of thinking and errors in how you process information. You will become aware of your "automatic thinking". This refers to habitual thinking that hinders your attempts to be healthy. You may have negative automatic thoughts that relate to food, exercise, body-image, your ability to cope, motivation and how you reward yourself.

CBT teaches you how to interrupt and challenge negative patterns of thinking in relation to eating. Your therapist can support you in doing this and you will learn a range of strategies most suited to you. You will also develop new healthy patterns of thinking in relation to food, activity and yourself that will support you in losing weight and becoming healthy.

At my CBT Edinburgh sessions, the focus is on your self-esteem, and well being as a whole, not just weight-loss. You will gain insight into the ways you view yourself and how this impacts on your motivation and behaviour. As your self-acceptance increases, you are likely to find that your motivation to treat your body in healthy ways will also improve. You will also learn NLP techniques (another type of cognitive therapy) that you can use to boost your motivation and soothe your emotions.

CBT can teach you how to cope with difficult emotions such as loneliness, anger, boredom and stress. You can learn how to prevent your emotions from escalating, therefore brining more calm and stability into your life.

CBT approaches to weight problems also show you how to develop eating and activity plans, which are realistic and achievable. CBT, Edinburgh is a practical and commonsense approach to overcoming weight problems. You develop the skills to become your own therapist so that you can continue to help yourself long after therapy finishes.
About the Author
Karen is a mental-health occupational therapist, psychology graduate, NLP practitioner and qualified hypnotherapist. She offers CBT Edinburgh, NLP Edinburgh and Hypnotherapy Edinburgh. Visit http://www.karenhastings.co.uk
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