Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Putting Recovery in Your Own Hands

Putting Recovery on Your Hands
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC

If you don't count calories, exercise or focus on your appearance, what do you do? How does one actually recover? You can't just go out and buy a "self". Many years ago a client asked me to come up with my top 10 recovery tips "a la David Letterman". When I describe total recovery to a client I use the ten fingers to illustrate needing both halves to recover fully. Each finger represents a different aspect needed for recovery.

The first five points, the fingers on the left hand, will sound very familiar and you may have a reaction very similar to Maureen, "When I read all this stuff about eating when you're hungry, I want to scream! If I could eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full I wouldn't need the book! I have no idea anymore when I'm hungry and I'm petrified if I let myself eat what I want because I won't be able to stop. I just don't have that kind of trust in my body. After so many years of denying my hunger, I don't even know what hunger is anymore. I haven't a clue what genuine fullness feels like either. The whole relearning to eat experience is very frightening!"

I assure you that I know what you are talking about, when I was in the depths of my eating disorder I probably was more able to sprout wings and fly than eat normally. And that's the point I am trying to make, you need the second half before you can do the first. So that is why I am writing the second half of the book, the sense of Self half, first. Because you have to resolve these issues first, otherwise your eating will always be tense. When you have a sense of Self, the eating half can relax and fall into place.

Other people have the opposite reaction. As Michelle put it, "When I hear 'Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full' I have mixed feelings. My initial thought is "Yea right, as if it's that simple!". But, in the same token it's very comforting because it is that simple. It all comes down to learning to listen to my body. As challenging as that can be in the grip of an eating disorder, it really does become simple upon recovery." I want to point out that simple is not the same as easy. At times, simple instructions can elicit feelings of guilt, fear, shame, and failure– "Why can't I just stop this?!" Our inner critic reminds us what we "should" eat and then yells at us when we can't do it. This is because it doesn't acknowledge that the eating is a symptom of the deeper problem. As long as the deeper problem remains, eating will be a battleground.

So hang in there reading through points one through five because I assure you that in future chapters you will learn how to do points six through ten. But if you feel like Maureen and have to skip ahead, I understand.

Starting with the food, eating, weight and body hand, the thumb represents "I eat when I am hungry". (See I told you that it would sound familiar…) That's the shorthand version. But it's much deeper than that. When we analyze it, this point implies that you are able to slow down enough to listen to your body and recognizing your body's signals for hunger. These signals are different for everybody, for every body. These signals are going to be different for every situation, for every day. It also suggests being comfortable with having hunger, with your body's nutritional needs, and allowing yourself to eat each and every time your body becomes hungry. 

The second finger represents "I eat a wide variety of foods." This means that you are able to ask your body what it wants to eat, and then choose foods that would be a good match for what your body asked for. You are also able to give yourself permission to choose from any food at all. All foods are equal, there are no "bad" foods and there are no "good" foods.
The third finger represents, "I stop when I am full." You already have heard this one – it's the one that makes everyone say, "I can't do it! I just can't stop eating once I start. I have no control! That's why I have to monitor myself so closely." In a way this sounds harder than it is. I want to reiterate that if you only work on the food half then this aspect will always be a struggle. Stopping when you are full implies that you are able to slow down your eating and listen to your body's signals for fullness. Also, you need to eat mindfully, eating in ways that heighten your feelings of satisfaction. Consistently clients have found that being satisfied is more important than being full.

If the third point sounds harder than it is, then the fourth point "I forget about it afterwards and get on with my life!" is harder than it sounds. "Normal" eaters don't think about what they've eaten, even if they've eaten too much. They may rub their stomachs and moan, "Oh I ate too much!" But then they go cut the grass, work on the computer, whatever. How are they able to do this? They have what I call body trust. They know their body, they know that their body will digest whatever they've eaten and eventually get back to hunger again. If they have overeaten, they know that it just takes longer for their body to get back to hunger. And while they are waiting to get back to hunger, they don't think about it, they don't beat themselves up! You too, can learn how to trust your body.

The last point on this hand is a big job for such a small finger. The pinky finger represents "I accept, love and appropriately move the body I was given genetically". I feel that this is such a large aspect of recovery that I have devoted a whole section of the book to it. This is very difficult to do in our society where we are constantly bombarded with messages that no matter what you look like, it isn't good enough. Our culture is working towards acceptance of diversity of race, ethnicity, and color. But it still does not accept that people come in a wide variety of body types and sizes.

This aspect of recovery means living outside of societal norms. It means refusing to listen to messages about what your body "should" look like. It means stopping every negative thought about your body and learning to accept it as it is. When we can learn to listen to our body's signals for hunger and fullness, we also start to hear its signals for movement and rest. My clients are often surprised at how often their bodies want to move, to dance, jump, skip, swim. When they stop and listen to their bodies, they may become aware of "antsy–ness" when they are zoning out in front of the TV. They also learn to respect the body's need for rest and rejuvenation. 

Okay for those of you who skipped ahead you can start reading now. The second half, the right hand is symbolizes the primary issues to work on, the ones that if lacking make the other half always tense. These next five points are what I consider the essential emotional and spiritual aspects of recovery.

The thumb of the right hand represents "I know who I am". The tag line for The Awakening Center is "Discover who you were meant to be." This is the sense of Self I mentioned earlier. In the next chapter I will describe this sense of Self in depth, but briefly it is a deep–seated calm feeling of personal strength that is always with you, no matter what.

The next finger is "I like who I am". This means being at peace with all your various parts. Living each day in harmony and cooperation with your Self. I often say to my clients that the most important part of recovery is answering two questions "Who am I?" and "Am I OK?" Once you have the answer to the first question, you realize the answer to the second one is, "Yes". Since all babies are born pure and innocent, the answer is always, "Yes". But you have to come to that answer yourself.

The third finger on this hand represents: "I have a direction and a purpose for my life". This point is about finding meaning in one's life. Being able to put life in perspective, knowing what is important and what really is trivial. Learning to live life with our values and ethics in a fulfilling manner.

The ring finger is "I have the confidence and the tools to get there". Having a direction and purpose isn't enough, because life isn't always going to cooperate. Sometimes it will and things will fall right into our laps. But many times we really have to work for something. This point includes learning coping mechanisms, tools, skills and resources that we may not have learned when we were younger.

Again the last finger has such a big job "I have healthy relationships". This point is about learning to relate to others through your Self and relating in a way that brings out the Self in others as well. If the person can only relate through their parts, it means that you stay in your Self as much as possible anyway. Being able to connect to others, both give and take, in a meaningful and reciprocal way.

I think of the two halves complimenting each other like a three dimensional yin–yang. Just like the two hands, when we put all the points of the two halves together our life can be at peace. Every once in a while you have to work on something, to take care of problems. Afterwards life becomes calm again.

So you can see the answer lies in finding your Self. I encourage you to keep reading and "Discover who you were meant to be."

Amy Grabowski

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sense of Self

"Sense of Self"
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC

When trying to describe the sense of Self words seem inadequate; like trying to communicate an exact shade of color to someone who hasn't seen it. It helps to imagine talking to someone who is truly confident and self-assured. They would describe to you a feeling deep inside their body, a gut instinct, a quiet, peaceful place of wisdom that holds all the answers. In this place they just know who they are and, based on who they are, they know what is right for them - not a "thinking" kind of knowing, but an "intuitive" kind of knowing. People illustrate it in many different, but similar ways: "It's like the base of a pyramid that is always there and can never be knocked over", "…like a solid column of strength inside my body", "…like a spiritual channel that allows wisdom to speak to me". Clients have also portrayed it in emotional terms as well. "It's a belief that I can handle whatever comes along." "I feel calm and peaceful inside." "A quiet feeling of assuredness comes over me."

In my practice, I have been trained to use a model of therapy called "Internal Family Systems", which was developed by Richard Schwartz, PhD. Your "internal family" is the numerous inner personalities who you may refer to as "parts": "A part of me wants to go to the concert, but another part feels that I should work on that report." Sound familiar?

We all have many parts. It is normal to have parts. Everyone you know has parts. Even "normal eaters" have parts. (I jokingly wonder if there are any "normal eaters" in the US, maybe a few hiding in the mountains of Idaho.) Our Self is one of our parts - although it is different from all the other parts.

Dr. Schwartz compared the relationship between the Self and the parts as similar to an orchestra. Our Self is the conductor of the orchestra and our parts are the many instruments. Think of the most magnificent symphonic music you have ever heard. Its just so wonderful - the beauty, the harmony, the passion! (You may want to put on a classical cd now so that you can experience this with more of your senses.)

Just as an orchestra needs the strings, the woodwinds, the brass, the percussion, all the different instruments, to achieve the richness and depth of the symphony, we need all of our different parts to fully experience life. If all of the instruments were the same, (imagine an all tuba orchestra!) it would not have the same profound beauty. It is the differences among the instruments, just as it is the differences among our parts, which balances and complements each other to achieve this.

The musicians appreciate the differences between the instruments because they know that the other instruments balance and complement their instrument. Our parts can appreciate the different roles of the other parts, knowing that each can "shine" while carrying out it's particular job.

As you listen to the music, you'll notice how some instruments are playing, but others are quiet. While an instrument is quiet, the musician sits calmly, knowing that soon she will again have another passage to play allowing her instrument to "shine". The same is true with our parts; they know that they all have a unique purpose and that at times they will perform that purpose and at other times they will take a backseat while another part is performing.

If you think about what an orchestra is and what it does, it's incredible. Numerous musicians, all performing different scores of music, on various instruments, at the same time, in rhythm and in tune, together. How does that work? How do they perform to sound as one? They are following the lead of the conductor; just as our many different parts work together when they are guided by our Self.

When you listen to an orchestra, you don't hear the conductor; but the conductor is an integral part of the orchestra. The musicians follow cues from the conductor to keep in sync with the other musicians. The conductor has a deep love, understanding and appreciation for each of the different instruments. She also chooses what music will highlight the orchestra's talents and knows in which direction the orchestra needs to go. The musicians respect and trust the leadership of the conductor; and the conductor appreciates and trusts the musicians. This is truly a symbiotic relationship. The musicians need the conductor, just as the conductor needs all of the musicians.

If one of the musicians has a problem, let's say the piccolo is having trouble keeping up with the rhythm of one section of music, the conductor will take the time to stop the orchestra and give her attention to the musician in need. They will work cooperatively together, while the other musicians either wait patiently or give support and encouragement. When the problem is resolved, the piccolo returns to her rightful role in the orchestra, and the conductor will have the musicians commence playing together again.

Our Self appreciates and trusts our parts and they, in turn, listen to and respect the judgment of the Self as well. If one of our parts needs help, she can turn to the Self for guidance, with encouragement, suggestions, and advice from the other parts. This respect and assistance allows the parts and the Self to remain in supportive cooperative relationships.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Both Halves of Recovery

"Both Halves of Recovery"
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC

…."How did you do it? How long did it take? How is your approach any different from the hundreds of books already written about recovery?" In a nutshell, I'll tell you that I couldn't recover until I had all the parts of recovery in place. As long as I continued to work on only half of recovery, it all kept tumbling down.

Let me explain by giving you a visual example. Right now stop reading and put your hands together so that your fingertips are touching and your fingers are curved, like you are holding a large softball. How long could you hold your hands like this? Like most people, you'll find it comfortable, fairly easy to do. 

Now, move your hands apart but keep them in the same position, with your fingertips curved towards one another. How long you can hold them like this? Your hands may start to shake. Are you feeling tension in your hands? Tingling? You probably couldn't hold them like this for very long. It would be too uncomfortable, a struggle.

When you put your hands back together, what happens? Relief! Phew! The hands instantly relax. It becomes easy again. The hands balance each other. Each hand represents the two halves of recovery. One half alone causes tension and discomfort, a struggle. You need both halves of recovery, and then it is easy.

So, you might be thinking, what are the two halves of recovery? One hand represents food, eating, weight and the body.

This is the half that people want to fix, why they seek out therapy. When I ask a new client for her goals for therapy, inevitably she says, "I want to stop bingeing and purging. I don't want to eat this way." She will also go on to tell me all the ways that she has tried to "fix" her eating.

You know what I'm talking about, don't you? You probably already have vast knowledge about food and nutrition; know all about food groups, portion sizes, and servings. Without a doubt, you could rattle off from memory the fat grams and calorie counts of various foods. Like most women with eating disorders, you are certainly very intelligent, you know this information and have made numerous attempts to use this information to recover.
Have you been drawn to certain food combinations looking for "the answer" to fix your eating disorder? "Maybe if I eat more carbohydrates and less protein..." "Maybe less carbs and more protein is the way to go." "If I eliminate all fat and sugar, then I'll be able to eat normally." "This book says that with my blood type I shouldn't eat fruit in the morning." "I must be addicted to sugar. If I avoid all sweets, then that will make me OK." But even as you search for the answer among the many different foods out there, you know that food is not the real issue. And since food is not the issue, it is not the answer.

So if food is not the answer, then maybe the answer is…. Exercise! Maybe, like "Libby", you need to run or workout everyday, no matter what! During one of our sessions together, Libby admitted to running when the wind-chill was sixty degrees below zero! What!? Is she crazy?! Why would she put herself in a potentially harmful situation like that! Her answer, "I had to! I would have felt fat if I hadn't." Ironically, Libby felt fat even when she did.
Many women look to weight as "the answer". You may think that if you only could reach a certain number on the scale, then all would be well with the world, you would never make mistakes, everyone would like you, in other words you would be perfect. As you know, that number never appears! No matter what the scale reads, you never feel OK inside. That little voice inside your head continues to say, "Maybe if you lose five more pounds…" Even if you appear emaciated to others, you still feel "fat", not good enough, defective and empty, inside and out.

Even the labels Anorexia Nervosa (which means "nervous loss of appetite"), Bulimia ("ox-hunger") and Binge Eating Disorder emphasize the disordered eating half of the eating disorder. Outside people, those "normal eaters" out there, also don't get it. They think, "You have an eating disorder. So fix the eating and you'll be Okay." Voila! The solution is simple. Very well meaning friends and family members say, "All you have to do is eat three meals a day." "Just eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full." And my personal favorite, "Just stop, don't do it anymore!" At this point, as the recipient of this helpful advice, you are supposed to hit your forehead with insight and gratefully exclaim, "Wow! I never thought of that before! Thanks so much for that advice. I'm all better now! Let's go have lunch!"

If only it was that simple!

I, myself, also fell for these common fallacies. During my first attempt at recovery, a lot of my time and energy was spent "controlling my food" and stopping any food related symptom: I ate well-balanced, pre-planned, "normal" meals and I weighed a pre-determined, "normal" weight. Even though I received some praise from others because "I had recovered!" inside I still felt hollow and empty, not good enough. Every day was a struggle, but that's how I assumed all "normal" people felt. Now that I had "recovered", I thought that life was going to be "perfect". The first time Life threw a "zinger" my way, I freaked out! I didn't know what to do and not knowing how to handle it made me feel out of control again! But this made no sense to me! I had fixed my eating disorder, right? I ate "normal" and looked "normal", right? So why was Life throwing zingers at me? What was wrong with me? After a few more weeks of struggling to be "normal", of trying to control life by controlling my "normal" eating and by looking "normal", the eating disorder symptoms came back. And I must admit I welcomed them like old friends!

So if you only fix half of the problem, just the food, eating, weight and the body, you have the constant tension, struggle, and discomfort. Hold up only one hand with curved tense fingers again. Feel it again? It's like the phrase that some groups use, "You're always one bite away from your next binge." That way of thinking says you can never recover, you can only be abstinent. I found this to be very depressing. If I was going to have to fight with myself everyday for the rest of my life, then why bother?! Why not just stay sick!?
So you need both halves, the balance of two halves supporting each other, for total recovery. Go ahead and put your two hands together again. Feel the relief, the ease. By now, you're wondering what the other hand is. The other hand represents your sense of Self. Total recovery is achieving peace with your food, your body, and your Self.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Finding Meaning and Fulfillment

Finding Meaning And Fulfillment 
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC

This article, that you will read was written only 6 weeks after the terrorists attack on the World Trade Center. At this time, we are still in the midst of the Anthrax crisis and the bombing in Afghanistan. On the night of September 11th, only four women braved going out to attend the weekly ANAD support group. Feeling fear, anxiety and shock, they wanted to pull together, to get comfort in being with others who understood and cared. But that evening we didn't talk about food, eating, or weight at all. We had very deep conversations about trust and relationships. As one woman so aptly put it, "Worrying about the size of my thighs seems so unimportant now."

In the days that followed, people coped in their own unique ways. Some watched the televised news accounts regularly, wanting to be informed at all times. Others avoided television, needing a break from the vivid visuals. Personally I was drawn to reading the many personal stories of the people who died in the tragedies. It was touching to read what people said about the loved ones who were gone. For the most part the friends and family members remembered the person's kindness, generosity, sense of humor; the good times they had spent together talking and sharing activities; their intelligence and what they gave to their workplace and communities. Rarely was the person's appearance even mentioned. Not once did someone mention the size the loved one wore.

For weeks after the tragedy, many of my clients gave blood, brought treats to show appreciation for their local fire fighters, and donated money to the relief effort. If anything positive can come of these tragedies, for a while it was easy to put food, eating, and weight in perspective. What seemed really important was reaching out and connecting with others as a way of finding true meaning and fulfillment in life. I saw a sign in my children's school, which sums this up nicely: "If you want to be happy for an hour, watch TV. If you want to be happy for a day, go to Great America. If you want to be happy for a life, help another."

This New Year, I encourage you to find that meaning and fulfillment for yourself. It can be small things, for example: giving away clothing for those less fortunate, giving food to a food pantry, working one time in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, donating blood or money.

If you are looking for a way to build a bond with others, you may consider volunteering on a regular basis. There are hundreds of children in the Chicago area who need tutors. Organizations such as ANAD could always use clerical, phone or other office help. Answering phone calls from teen runaways or playing bingo with seniors can be very rewarding.

For longer commitments, there are 500 mile bike rides for AIDS or 60 mile walks for Breast Cancer Awareness.
In a city the size of Chicago there are thousands of organizations that would like volunteers. A Google search of "volunteer Chicago" resulted in over 313,000 websites. Here are a few to help you get started.
  • The United Way has a website devoted to matching people with volunteer opportunities in Chicago. You can search any number of categories to find a volunteer placement that suits your needs.
  • The Bottomless Closet: provides professional clothing, job readiness and employment training and coaching services to women on assistance
     - (312) 527-9664
  • ANAD (National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) often needs clerical, phone and office help; support group leaders and cash donations are needed as well.
     (847) 831-3438
  • The National Runaway Switchboard provides non-judgmental confidential crisis intervention and referrals to youth and their families through a 24-hour hotline. - (773) 880-9860
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the nations oldest youth mentoring organization.
  • Ten Thousand Villages, a store in Evanston, sells handicrafts made by unemployed and underemployed artisans around the world, providing them with vital fair income. Volunteers are needed for many daily operations of the store. (847) 869-8262
I want to close with a poem written by Edward Everett Hale
"I am only one,
but still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but still I can do something,
and because I cannot do
I will not refuse
to do the something I can do."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rescuing The Child

Rescuing The Child
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC

      I promised to write more about shedding others' opinions about qualities of our personalities. I said, "then we can decide for ourselves that we are 'good enough'." I realize this statement implies that you simply just 'decide' one day that you are good enough and Bingo! you feel 'good enough'! Oh, if only it were that simple. Recovery from an eating disorder comes in layers. You may work on the surface of an issue the first time you uncover it. 

     Later you may find that the same issue comes to you needing work on a deeper level. When the same issue comes back a third (fourth, fifth or sixth) time, you are probably ready to resolve the issue at your core!

     At the heart of these core issues are self-definitions that our "parts" cling to like a leaky lifeboat. We can talk about these definitions, we can analyze them and look for the distortions in them, we can substitute other words or phrases, we can treat ourselves like a friend,… but if we don't actually change why the part clings to this definition, it will continue to be a problem for us.

     It is imperative that certain conditions exist in the recovery process before you can change the way the parts relate to one another. If you have not read my article "From Critic to Ally" I urge you to do so and work on that before going on to this issue. If you go inward and work with the "child parts" without having a cooperative relationship with the critics first, the critic can attack the child and make the problem worse.

     In the last issue of the newsletter I wrote about how other people's opinions of us become part of our self-definition. Let's go back to "Bonnie"*. During her recovery, she did a lot of work to unburden herself from her family's problems, but she still struggled with some unhelpful self-definitions - especially one that insisted she was a liar! Situations would happen in her adult life, such as trying to get out of a request that she did not want to fulfill or sparing a friend's feelings about a new hairstyle, and "Boing!", Bonnie was flooded with feelings of being trapped, shame and self-hatred, "I am bad! I am a liar!" We had already worked with her critic and so we knew this was not from that part. Deep down inside, a young part of her was stuck in the past, clinging to an old burden.

     We began to investigate this burden and tearfully Bonnie admitted as a child she "always" lied, that she "never" told the truth. (If you analyze these two statements, they are all-or-nothing statements, overgeneralizations, mental filters and many other cognitive distortions covered in the book Feeling Good by David Burns ©1980.) As a child she felt compelled to lie to "build herself up" in other's eyes, mostly because she didn't feel good enough to be liked just for herself. She also lied because she had a creative mind and vivid imagination - something as an adult she could learn to love about herself, but as a child she was shamed for. But a big reason she lied was to get out of no-win situations at home. But lying to get out of these no-win-situations, created another no-win situation because she hated herself even more whenever she did it. Do-si-do, around we go: lie, self-hate, lie, self-hate.....

     She had a memory that stuck with her. She had been caught in a lie (probably because the lies of a 6 year old are pretty transparent) and her mother "Renee" tried to force her to admit that she had lied. She knew, even at the age of 6 that if she admitted she had lied she would be punished severely. So she stuck to her story. This enraged her mother and she was adamant that Bonnie had to admit she had lied. Bonnie remembers sitting there on a stool, crying in the middle of the kitchen with her mother screaming at her for hours! Whenever Bonnie felt like "a liar" in the present, she had flashbacks of sitting on the stool in the kitchen - with all the emotions of that day flooding back: trapped, scared, shame, self-hatred.

     A big part of recovery is being able to see that you are likeable, even though you received many messages that someone may not have liked you. (Often times people like Renee had trouble separating a person's worth from their actions and behaviors - one can be a good enough person even if they occasionally lie.) Bonnie and I found a "part" inside her who felt sorry for the little girl - who saw her as an innocent victim who was forced to protect herself in a hostile situation. This part said, "I want to help her, to take care of her, to rescue her - but how? My mom is always standing over the girl, screaming. I'm afraid of her." We needed to get past her fear and rescue that child.

     First we did some math, at this point in her recovery Bonnie was older than Renee in the original scenario! She realized how young Renee actually was when Bonnie was a child - her mother started having children when she was barely more than a child herself by today's standards! How unprepared Renee was for such an awesome responsibility! In Bonnie's mind the mother figure looming over the little girl started to shrink. Bonnie's fear lessened to the point that she felt able to enter the situation as an adult.

     This adult part of Bonnie was angry at how Renee was handling the situation. Reminding herself that she was older than Renee and a lot more educated too, Bonnie spoke to Renee in a firm and authoritarian voice, "Stop this, look what you are doing to her! You are the adult! Get a hold of yourself! Leave her alone! You don't do that to little kids! She's just a little girl. I'm not going to let you do this to her anymore!" And because Bonnie was older than Renee, Renee stopped and listened to her. Renee was shocked that someone was standing up to her! She was scared of Bonnie! As Bonnie repeated over and over, "You don't do that to little kids! She's just a little girl!", Renee began to "deflate". She wasn't this big scary monster, she was just a pitiful, uneducated, young, overwhelmed mom who had meager resources to handle the complexities of raising children - especially one with such an active, creative, imaginative spirit.

     Bonnie now could move from her angry part to the loving nurturing part who could take care of the little girl. Bonnie told the little girl that she was going to take her away to someplace where she could be loved and protected. The little girl felt relieved! Bonnie imagined holding the little girl in her lap, stroking her hair and telling her that she loved her. As Bonnie explains, "I found to my surprise how easy it was to love that little girl! She had wonderful qualities that were easily loveable. Ironically the same qualities that my mother got so angry at! I kept telling her that she was loveable and likeable, just for who she was - that she wasn't a liar. She wasn't "bad". That she was a good girl. I needed to teach her in a warm and loving way when it was appropriate to exaggerate or embellish, and when it was appropriate to tell the truth." This helped Bonnie open up to the honesty within her - to decide to value that and to live according to her values.

*Bonnie is a composite of several clients; names have been changed to protect their privacy. This work was done over a series of sessions, not all at once.