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
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
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