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The Modules

Module 1 Emotional Eating

The purpose of this module is to help you to determine how much you engage in emotional eating and help you to recognise particular occasions and circumstances which prompt your emotional eating. We will seek to identify the feeling/s that seem to be most troublesome and begin to discover the meaning behind those feelings. From there the aim will be to help you develop alternative strategies including talking about mindfulness approaches and improving the use of social support.

Module 2 Feelings

In this module we recap the work we did during session 2 of the Core. We now begin to explore your awareness of feelings and help you develop better awareness of physical sensations and to consider how these were responded to or manifested in your family of origin. We will also explore the idea of an emotional vocabulary and to encourage you to identify and expand that vocabulary. This module will employ some CBT strategies to help enable better emotional regulation and improve interaction with others and we will look at the use of imagery and symbolism to help with the expression of emotions which are difficult to convey with words alone.

Module 3 Motivation and Empowerment for Change

In this module we discuss the difficulty of changing and the reasons that change actually needs to be difficult. We will introduce a number of ways of looking at change processes and ways that we can help or hinder the lifestyle changes we want to make in our lives.
We will discuss concepts that hinder such as ‘black and white thinking’ and investigate how feelings of ambivalence can also sabotage our efforts to change. We then look at how we can move forward, develop new behaviours and routines and increase our feelings of empowerment and ‘self efficacy.

Module 4 Food monitoring and choice

The purpose of this module is to explore, first of all, the emotional meaning of food in your family of origin and then begin to think about how those early experiences may have affected your current food choices and preferences. We will explore the emotional meaning of food choices in your current situation and consider where there might be need and room for change. To begin to make changes we will discuss planning as a way of improving old habits and undertake a food diary to monitor change.

Module 5 Activity

In Module 5 we look at our previous experience of exercise, the memories and feelings associated with those experiences and how this impacts on our attitudes to exercise in the present. We will examine how our relationship with activity is linked to body awareness, self-care, and mental and physical wellbeing. We also look at how being active impacts on our self-esteem, self-consciousness, sense of capability and achievement. We will explore any resistance to exercise in the present and discuss what sort of activity, if any, you might be willing to undertake to increase positive feelings about yourself and your body.

Module 6 Self Nurture

This module is about self-soothing. We can almost always benefit from exploring the internal self soothing voice and a range of non–harmful external strategies for self-soothing, as a means of reducing our reliance on food. This development can usefully go hand in hand with an exploration of our potential, dreams and ambitions. This module focuses on our experience of being nurtured and what it means ‘to be nurtured’. We will look at how you currently nurture and talk to yourself and seek to develop a kinder internal dialogue. We also look at other benign ways of nurturing yourself and self-soothing without the use of food. Our last aim of this module is to help you in ‘being yourself and becoming yourself’ by looking to help you strengthen your identity and self-esteem, support your own development and potential and ultimately link feeling good about yourself with taking care of yourself.

Module 7 Relationships

This module tries to make conscious some of the unconscious patterns of relating that we all carry with us. It is based on attachment theory, which was addressed in Session 2 of the Introduction. You may want to refresh your memory of what was discussed then. It also echoes the themes of the Session 5 of the Introduction, which again you may want to review.
The idea is that poor attachment history can lead us to have little confidence in other people’s willingness or ability to help us. Those who are avoidant become very self-reliant and those who are anxiously attached keep trying to find the person they can trust, but tend to choose badly and are repeatedly disappointed. These patterns can leave people feeling very unsupported and so prey to addictions and compulsions which substitute for relating. You have a pattern of using food for comfort and support. This module attempts to address some of the issues involved and encourages you to value others and connect with them. The hope is that you can use the group to practise some of these skills.

Module 8 Self Esteem

We spent Session 3 of the Introductory Course on self-esteem and used that time to suggest that good self-esteem is built on a realistic assessment of our strengths and a compassionate acceptance of our limitations and what we do less well. The idea was to find our own recognition of our achievements and qualities. Some of this material will be re-visited and elaborated in this module.
The main aim of the module is to enable compassionate self acceptance and to see that as the platform on which change and growth may be built. The overall aim of the programme is the facilitation of a better relationship with food; a better relationship with oneself is almost certainly a way to reduce the power and importance of food and a basis for continuing growth and development.

Module 9 Body Esteem

If you have done the modules in order and began at Module 1, this will be the last module. We will want to be talking about what, if anything, you would like to do next. One of the options is a transition to a more standard therapy group, maintaining the basic theme around the relationship with food, but not structuring the groups. Another option is on-going email or telephone support or one-to-one counselling. As we go through the module you can be thinking about these possibilities.
The aim of this module is to revisit the material on body esteem from Session 4 of the Introduction, to think about how ‘fat’ is used as a word of abuse and to think about what might underlie it. We will seek to identify a time when you enjoyed your body and begin to create a vision of your body as a safe place, as home. To do this we will first investigate the journey that brought you to have such poor body esteem and explore the effects of poor body esteem. We will then look at how change can be brought about; such as by finding positive affirmations to replace your abusive self-talk. Our ultimate goal is to reach a better place of self acceptance and devise a way of learning to love and cherish your body. It is our belief that valuing and respecting your body in its current form is a better platform for making any future personal changes.
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