Counselling after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake
Some of the press releases on my work at The Durham Centre following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake:
> Rise in stressed people seeking help (Stuff.co.nz)
> Delayed quake trauma hitting Chch residents (3news.co.nz)
> Emergency quake workers still struggling (thebigidea.co.nz)
Do any of the following sound familiar?
- Do you feel your Alcohol or other Drug use is out of control?
- Do you find that once started you are not able to stop drinking?
- Are you drinking/taking drugs because you are hurting/want to forget/don’t want to ‘feel’?
- Is your daily life dominated by thoughts of when you will be drinking or using drugs next?
- Do you miss out on work commitments/social activities due to drinking/using drugs?
- Have your friends/colleagues/family or a health proffessional expressed concern about your drinking/drug use?
- Do you often feel remorse, guilt or shame after drinking?
These are some of the indicators that you might not be in charge of your drinking or drug use. Or -
- You might be seeking reassurance that you are still in charge of your drinking/drug use.
- Do you feel affected by the drinking or drug use of someone close to you?
- Did you grow up in an environment where Alcohol and Drug use was a common occurrence?
If you answer 'Yes' to any of the questions above you may want to consult a practitioner to discuss how we may be able to help.
Codependence is addiction to outside issues to enable us to feel comfortable within ourselves. Some codependency characteristics are:
- Caretaking – believing your life is about taking care of others – and finding that your needs are not met or that you have no right to ‘expect anything from anyone’
- Low Self worth - defensive/angry – dominated by ‘shoulds’/guilt
- Denial ignoring problem/pretending they are not happening
- Lack of Trust (yourself/others)
- Power and Control issues - desperately trying to stay in charge/or feeling powerless
- Weak Boundaries - difficulties saying ‘no’ – or utilizing rigid belief patterns in order to do so
- Dependency - keeping on re-enacting dysfunctional relationship patterns – seeking love/attention from people incapable of ‘loving/caring’, looking for happiness outside yourself, believing ‘love’ equates hate; struggling with your own addiction patterns - i.e. your relationship with food, indulging in activities that help you to avoid to be emotionally present.
The Practitioners can offer:
- Comprehensive Assessment of Alcohol and Other Drug Use (also of assistance in work and legal situations)
- Individual and family alcohol and other drug counselling
- Alcohol and Drug education including drinking moderation
- Referral to treatment
- Individual therapy for co-dependency issues
Trained in addiction counselling they have extensive experience in treating problems arising from addiction – whether it is your own alcohol or drug use you might be concerned about or the affects of having lived/living in a dysfunctional family system. You can be assisted to work towards the goals you are setting for yourself and to regain control over the addiction patterns that have afflicted your life.
Eating problems permeate all aspects of your life; they have profound effects on your life and the life of your loved ones. They are caused by a variety of emotional factors and influences.
Having an eating problem is more than just being on a diet.
Having an eating problem is about trying to make your whole life better through food and eating (or lack of). It is about how life won’t be good until weight has been lost and having no concern for how you do this; being convinced that your self esteem is dependent on how you look and what you weigh.
Eating problems are about attempting to control your life and emotions through food or lack of food.
The person affected by Anorexia may be extremely sensitive about being perceived as fat (viewing themselves as fat or being perceived by others as fat), or being extremely fearful of gaining weight. Not all people affected by anorexia have this fear. They may just be afraid to lose control over the amounts they eat, accompanied by the intense desire to control their emotions and reactions to their emotions through lack of food.
They will turn to obsessive dieting and starvation as a way to not only control their weight, but their feelings and actions regarding the emotions attached. Some also feel that they might not deserve pleasure out of life and will deprive themselves of pleasure (including food).
Bulimia is defined by bingeing and purging episodes – eating large quantities of food in a relatively short period of time – then inducing vomiting or taking laxatives. You might be feeling overwhelmed in coping with emotions or punishing yourself for something you might be unrealistically blame yourself for. Binging and purging can be used to avoid or let out feeling or anger, depression, stress or anxiety. Some also use excessive exercise or starvation following a binge instead of purging; it is also not uncommon to take diet pills to avoid bingeing or use diuretics to lose weight. Often large amounts of food are stored for future binges- unbeknown to people close.
Compulsive overeating is characterized as ‘addiction’ to food – using food and eating as a way to hide from emotions, to fill a void (i.e. a need for love or affection) or to cope with daily stresses and problems in life. They might not feel ‘good enough’, feeling ashamed for being overweight and have low self esteem – then use food and eating to cope with these feelings, which only continues the cycle. Often overeaters ‘hide’ behind their physical appearance – using it to block others/society out (common in survivors of sexual abuse).
It is important to remember that most eating problems through their signs and symptoms might be different – however they share a great number of common causes and emotional aspects. Low self esteem is inherently present in all eating problems.
Here are some questions for you to consider if you think you/or someone close to you might have an eating problem:
- Do you think people would like you more if you were thin/thinner?
- Do you constantly compare yourself to others (weight and appearance?)
- Do you continuously feel that you are overweight even if you have been told that you are not?
- Do people close to you often express concern for your weight loss/gain, your appearance or eating habits?
- Do you often feel numb or empty inside, like a big void – something is missing and try to fill this void with food?
- Are you good at convincing yourself that you do not deserve to eat/be happy?
- Do you eat, starve, deprive yourself of food, binge or purge or exercise compulsively when you feel lonely, depressed or can’t cope with emotional pressures? Is this followed by excessive guilt?
- Do often feel you are not in control when eating?
- Do you hide your eating habits from others and when questioned just pretend to be on a diet?