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CREATIVE WEIGHT CONTROL PROGRAMMES

Obesity is the result of a disturbance of the self and impulse control which can seriously affect health and functioning.  It is defined in terms of excessive body fat.  However, in psychological terms it represents an attempt to give substance to the self and a desire to stay within the family or couple relationship.  It thus represents a failure to differentiate and separate from one's family of origin.

The misuse of food, dieting and exercise is common to this disorder.  Obesity is now being successfully treated by clinical psychologists in conjunction with an experienced medical practitioner.

Evaluation
Clients undertaking the programme undergo a comprehensive psychosocial history, Body Mass Index, evaluation and nutritional assessment to provide an overall view of their status.  A medical evaluation may be indicated at this stage to identify and treat contributing medical causes.

An individualized treatment plan is then designed and implemented by our psychologist and doctor.  The initial 16 weeks group treatment commences or individual therapy then begins.

Treatment
Each patient's treatment plan identifies specific behavioural, emotional, social and life goals with regular reviews of progress being made.  Individual and group therapy helps patients resolve emotional conflicts contributing to unhealthy eating habits.  In specialised activities, skills are taught to enable the patient to develop appropriate eating patterns.  Visual body image sessions, to allow for realistic self-examination, are an important component of the programme.

Communication skills and training in feelings as well as training in making new choices improve socialisation, while counselling in stress and anxiety management enhance the patient's awareness of themselves, others, and their own habitual and self-destructive behaviour.

Like most habits, overeating gives temporary relief from tension and frustrations.  More appropriate ways of dealing with such unpleasant feelings are presented in therapy.  Some of these may include:

  • Body image exercises
  • Body perception and shape confrontation
  • Self-esteem training
  • Re-socialization from family rules
  • Eating re-education
  • Enhancing body pride
  • Differentiation between anxiety and hunger sensations
  • Examination of turning points and life changes

The Follow-Up Programme
The follow-up programme is advisable for the maintenance of weight, enhanced well-being and emotional control.  The follow-up programme includes limited individual treatment and a continuation of therapy involvement on a monthly basis.  Follow-up assessments are at four, six and twelve month intervals.