Doctor Mark Porter on Anorexia…
… on Radio 4 tonight at 9pm, when he talks about the possible issues behind the eating disorder on the weekly Inside Health programme discussing and de-bunking common misapprehensions on health issues. On the trailer heard today, he stated that the causes were often assumed to be obsession with weight and image but – as we see on our website page, newly updated last month on our website (see our page on eating disorders & anorexia) – there are often many other reasons behind the issue.
Of course we don’t know what he’ll be discussing and/or concluding but we’re sure it’ll be interesting listening.
For more details about the Inside Health programme, click here and explore.
Research Shows Psychological Vulnerability in Actors
A recent study by California State University looked at the psychology of the sort of people who choose to become actors. The results imply that these people tend to be imaginative but also emotionally vulnerable.
Paula Thomson and S. Victoria Jaque wrote in the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts journal that “Our study adds to the body of research that suggests there is a psychological cost for participants engaged in the creative arts”.
Their study looked at 41 professional actors living in Cape Town. Toronto and Los Angeles and compared them with people from other artistic groups such as athletes and art lovers.
What they discovered was that, “Even though there was no difference between the two groups for past traumatic events, more actors were unable to maintain narrative coherence when discussing memories of past trauma and loss.” The actors struggled when attempting to discuss past traumas which the researchers felt suggested that they find it harder to resolve these traumas.
The researchers illustrated how the actors had an increased ability to “remain engaged, regulated and coherent during the interview process”, however, they were also more likely to show signs of confusion, prolonged silence or “unsuccessful failures to deny a traumatic or loss event”. Thomson and Jaque argue that this suggests “a greater vulnerability for psychological distress”.
Thomson and Jaque give a note of caution to those thinking of an acting career in therapeutic terms: “Actors may have enhanced their imagination through the practice of acting or they may have entered a career that supports their heightened predisposition for fantasy.”
For those who do choose to become actors, there is psychological support available in the form of talking therapies such as psychotherapy and counselling. This can help develop an understanding of past traumas and resolve feelings surrounding them.
The psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on London’s Harley Street, work with people of all backgrounds, including members of the performing arts who struggle with emotional and psychological problems.
Women are struggling with Depression and Anxiety
Platform 51, formally The Young Women’s Christian Association have recently done a study of more than 2000 women and girls in England and Wales that showed that almost a third of women over 18 have taken anti depressants.
13% of women experiencing mental health difficulties have had to give up their jobs, whilst 44% have taken time off work.
An NHS report showed that about 12% of men showed evidence of a common mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety whilst the percentage for women was 20%.
In order to cope with these difficult emotions, women are turning to potentially damaging behaviour, such as isolating themselves from their friends and family. More than a quarter in the study drank regularly and too much, one in five had built up debt and one in ten had self harmed (this percentage rose to 35% of women between the ages of 18 and 24). 30% had been emotionally or physically abused and one in four admitted to having felt suicidal as a result. However, one in three women have never sought professional help. Those who did seek support felt that their doctors were too willing to prescribe drugs and not suggest alternative means of support, such as psychotherapy or counselling.
A spokesperson from Platform 51 said, “Our study reveals generations of women in crisis…women are often the linchpins of their families and their communities, and if three in five of them aren’t meeting their potential, they loose out, their family looses out and so does the wider society”.
Psychotherapy and counselling provided by a professional psychotherapist can help someone struggling with depression and anxiety find out what lies behind these overwhelming feelings. The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, based in Harley Street in London provides a safe and non judgemental space for you to look into your emotional world, gaining a better understanding of it and thereby empowering you to take control over it.
The Government wants to nip mental health issues in the bud; to treat anxious and depressed children and young people before they develop long-term mental health problems. What does a psychotherapist think?
This is a good concept. Early intervention in mental health problems is important and the right kind of intervention can prevent long-term difficulties. It’s not always easy to spot mental health issues in our children though. Symptoms can go un-noticed. A child who withdraws into their bedroom for days on end just wanting to play on the Xbox or Play Station could go ignored and their problems put down to teenage behaviour. It maybe though, that the child is depressed, struggling in relationships perhaps and is withdrawing as a symptom of his or her depression.
A child who over eats, or who under eats, could be thought of as ‘enjoying their food’ or ‘fad dieting’. Prolonged over eating, or under eating, would suggest eating disorder. Badly behaved children, angry or destructive, could be acting out; externalizing painful feelings.
Children need to be listened to: to have a safe space where their feelings and fears and stresses can be expressed. It’s hard sometimes to find the time, in our busy working lives, to really listen to our children or to observe their behaviour. But it’s important that we try.
The Government is recommending CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which, while sometimes effective in the short term, does not actually tackle the underlying causes of the anxiety or depression. If the government are to really halt the increase in mental health problems, among the young, it seems important that a range of psychological therapies are available, tailored to suit the needs of each individual.
At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, in Harley Street, the therapists practice a range of effective talking therapies; all designed to tackle the underlying cause of the problems patients present with. The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice is currently working with many young people suffering with eating disorders, depression and anxiety.
Counselling & Therapy Can Get To The Causes of Eating Disorders
Psychotherapy can help those suffering with eating disorders understand the underlying causes of their difficulties with food. It is rare that anorexia and bulimia just happen as a result of dieting. With most eating disorders there is an underlying cause.
Often the cause underlying eating disorders is relational. Those suffering with eating disorders often have difficult and complex relationships with parents. An individual may be for example a highly dependent person by nature, but someone who at the same time is terrified of their own dependent feelings. They may equate dependency with weakness or helplessness. They may occasionally develop highly dependent relationships but will then pull away, terrified of the possibility of being dependent. The anorexic or bulimic individual may not be aware of any relationship issues they have with people, but use food as the focus when acting out their relationship problems.
In therapy, relationships with others can be explored and the underlying causes of eating disorders discovered and worked through. The therapists and counsellors at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice in London are experienced at working with people suffering with eating disorders and helping them find different ways of relating to food and to those around them.