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Success Stories

Anna: A 25-year-old woman attends counselling after suffering from an eating disorder for 10 years

Katie: A 46-year-old woman enters therapy struggling with binge eating

Matt and Steph: A couple in their late 30’s attends couples therapy because they were caught in the classic pattern of pursuing and distancing

Mark: A 34-year-old man enters therapy concerned because he can’t find a woman he is interested in who is also interested in him

Anna: A 25-year-old woman attends counselling after suffering from an eating disorder for 10 years

Anna, at 25, had been struggling with an eating disorder {link to main ED page] since she was 16 years old. She began therapy because she was caught in a restrict-binge-purge cycle where she would restrict her food intake for days until she no longer had the willpower to continue. She would then binge uncontrollably for hours, and sometimes days.

Each binge session ended with a purging session. The cycle had gone on like this for 10 years.

Anna was terrified of getting fat.

She couldn’t imagine anything worse happening than gaining weight. It was a fear that plagued her day and night. She was exhausted from hearing the critical voice in her head that constantly told her she wasn’t good enough.

By the time Anna came to therapy, she was in a constant state of anxiety.

She worried about everything from work to her friends, not to mention her weight and preoccupation with food. She feared that her life would always be like this. Part of her wanted to give up her binge-purge cycle, but part of her was reluctant to change.

Over the course of several counselling sessions, Anna faced the problems that were underneath her eating disorder.

She developed ways of facing the things in her life that she found scary and overwhelming. She had to deal with uncomfortable feelings that came up in her relationships with friends and family. She had to discover how to work through conflict, how to stand up for herself, and how to deal with hurt and disappointment.

In therapy, Anna came to see herself and her body in a more positive light.

As Anna’s relationship to herself improved, she found effective ways to deal with her anxiety and fears. She found healthy ways to experience her feelings of sadness, hurt, and anger instead of restricting, binging and purging when she couldn’t cope with them. She set healthy boundaries in her relationships with others, and learned how to listen to what was important to her by making herself a priority. She didn’t need to use food or extensive exercise to cope with her fears anymore.

She started to attend to herself and her needs in a healthy, nurturing way. She followed scientifically proven forms of self-care and came to understand her food “triggers.” She found ways to respond to these triggers appropriately, instead of harming herself. She began to cook regular meals for herself and started going out with friends for dinner, even if she could only make herself eat a small amount of food. Gradually she started to love her body, instead of seeing it as the enemy.

By the time therapy ended, Anna was thriving. She felt happy for the first time in 10 years.

Anna’s relationships with her friends and family improved. She was excited about engaging in parts of her life that she had neglected for the past decade. She formed new relationships that reflected what she wanted and needed in her life, rediscovered hobbies, started socializing, and enjoying social activities.

Katie: A 46-year-old woman enters therapy struggling with binge eating

When Katie entered therapy for her problem with emotional eating, she had been struggling with binging and her weight for over 20 years. She had tried every diet available. While she did lose weight at times, like most dieters she always gained it back.

Katie was tired of the diet roller coaster.

She was now at the point where she was rebelling against everything she believed she “should” be doing to lose weight. As a result, she was eating unhealthy foods and was increasingly gaining weight.

Katie was socially isolated and felt insecure about having a relationship even though she wanted one. Her social isolation left her feeling lonely and depressed. In fact, her whole life felt depressing.

As a result of her work in counselling, Katie discovered that she turned to food to numb her uncomfortable feelings.

Binging temporarily made her feel better, but then when she finished eating she always felt worse about herself for losing control.

Part of the work in therapy was to help Katie find healthy ways of nurturing herself. For example, she began to write down her feelings in a journal on a daily basis.

Katie re-discovered the things that used to bring her pleasure in her life–like walking, cycling and painting.

She was able to turn to one of these activities whenever she felt down or was worried about something. To her surprise, she found these activities replaced her need to binge on food, and she felt good after engaging in them.

Katie started practicing “intuitive eating” which helped her get in tune with her hunger and fullness cues. She also began to practice self-care activities such as meditation. Katie came to understand her addiction to sugar and started eating healthy foods.

After 3 months in therapy, Katie noticed that she was losing weight without even trying.

She started feeling better about herself and her body. She found her mood improving and started to spend more time with other people, which eased her loneliness. After 20 years of binge eating and being overweight, Katie said goodbye to her disordered eating patterns and started to live her life fully.

Matt and Steph: A couple in their late 30’s attend couples therapy because they are caught in the classic pattern of pursuing and distancing

Matt and Steph had been struggling for years when they came for marriage counselling. They had grown so far apart that
they hardly knew each other anymore.

In the 16 years that they had been together, Matt and Stephanie developed a relationship pattern whereby Steph would get upset about something and would then push and “nag” Matt, insisting that he discuss the issue with her. Matt found Steph’s persistence about discussing problems exasperating.

Overtime, Matt began to withdraw from Steph. He felt like he was constantly being put down and started to believe that he wasn’t good enough for Steph. Steph was aware that her “nagging” behavior was pushing Matt away from her, instead of getting him to talk with her. But, she felt compelled to continue because she didn’t know what else to do.

Steph felt alone and abandoned.

By the time Matt and Steph came for couples counselling they had grown so far apart that they hardly spoke to one another. Their sex life was non-existent, and they were quite dissatisfied in their marriage.

What Matt and Steph still had going for them was that they loved each other and wanted to stay together.

After 10 marriage counselling sessions, Matt and Steph began to see how destructive their pattern of relating was. They understood that they both needed to make changes in order to make their marriage work. Steph agreed to stop demanding that Matt talk with her. Instead, she found healthier ways to tell Matt how lonely and abandoned she felt when he didn’t talk to her. She came to understand that Matt wasn’t avoiding her because he didn’t care. Rather, Matt withdrew because he felt criticized and unworthy of being her husband.

Matt softened his approach to Steph.

Once he understood how she felt when he pulled away, Matt was able to move closer to Steph and provide her with the nurturing and caring she needed. He became more willing to listen to Steph about issues that were concerning her without feeling that he was inadequate. He changed his perception so that he now saw that Steph’s desire to talk was something she needed. It was not a reflection of his worthiness as a person. Steph and Matt began behaving in a much more loving way with each other. They started to communicate more effectively, and although they were working harder on their relationship than they ever did before; they found it much more fulfilling and rewarding. By the end of their marriage therapy sessions, they felt connected in a much deeper way.

Mark: A 34-year-old man enters therapy concerned because he can’t find a woman he is interested in who is also interested in him.

Mark had been single most of his life. He only had one long-term relationship that lasted a year, and it ended 7 years prior to attending relationship counselling sessions. Mark really wanted a relationship, but found that with every woman he met, either she was interested in him more than he was interested in her, or he was interested in her more than she was interested in him.

Mark was baffled as to why he couldn’t find a woman where the two of them felt the same about each other.  

Mark came to therapy because he had started dating a woman (Sandy) who he really liked, but he was extremely anxious that it wouldn’t work out.

Mark’s goals for relationship therapy were to solve the mystery in his choice of partners so that he could find a relationship that would work for him.

Mark disclosed that it was very hard for him to open up with women he was intimate with. 

He came to see that he was deeply afraid of being hurt. As a result, he was not emotionally available to the women he was interested in. They ending up breaking up with him because they didn’t feel emotionally connected to him.

Mark also began to see his other relationship pattern: he went out with women he wasn’t that interested in because then he didn’t have to open up and make himself vulnerable. 

Through therapy, Mark discovered that the root of his relationship problems were his low self-esteem and his lack of confidence that he could have a fulfilling relationship.

Over several counselling sessions, Mark came to feel better about himself, and became more comfortable with emotional intimacy. He began to slowly take risks, opening up to his new girlfriend, Sandy. When he did, he found that she responded positively. She didn’t pull away as he feared.

Gradually, Mark allowed himself to be vulnerable with Sandy and became more relaxed with her. When relationship therapy ended, Mark and Sandy were very happy and in the process of moving in together. 

Mark was confident that Sandy cared for him and was optimistic that this relationship could become a long-term one.

Want to be another success story?

Contact me now, and we’ll get started.

*Note: The stories on this page are composites of several clients that I have worked with over the past several years. All names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

Sign up for my Email List and Receive Your Free Booklet:
"10 Tips to Overcome Disordered Eating"
Sign up for my Email List and Receive Your Free Booklet:
"10 Ways to Break Destructive Relationship Patterns"