What Do You See In The Mirror...On The Scale?

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

How much power have you given your mirror - your scale? Does the number on your scale set your mood for the day?  Do you see a different image in your mirror compared to how everyone else says they see you in person? Does your scale decide if you’re going to have a good day or a bad day?  Do you try on multiple outfits, never finding one that looks right on you, and finally give up because you are late? Do you feel anxious if you don’t weigh yourself multiple times every day?  Regardless of whether you over-eat, binge, binge-purge, or restrict, stop crucifying yourself – you have found a place with a very different approach to help you get what it is you really want.

Dealing With Stress

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

We ALL have some kind of self-soothing behavior, because we ALL have current or past stress to deal with.  Some people read.  Some hang with friends.  Some drink, some do drugs, some eat/stuff food...if the self-soothing didn't work, we would NOT have continued to do it.  However, sometimes the method of comfort goes too far/lasts too long.  It no longer comforts or soothes, now it hurts...

Matt Lauer, on the May 1, 2009 Today Show interviewed Emme, the first plus-size super model, and Cynthia Sass, a dietitian.  The women revealed a startling fact – 98% of diets fail.  They were discussing Kirstie Allie’s regaining of 75+ lbs after her stunning success on the pre-packaged Jenny Craig diet, and Oprah Winfrey’s constant battle with her figure.  They could have just as easily been discussing the singer, Karen Carpenter’s death from anorexia.

Emotions Override Logical Choices

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

Why do pills, pre-packaged food diets, and even surgeries fail so often?  Why can’t people suffering with anorexia just start eating?  Because diets – to control consumption -  all appeal to your logical left brain.  But the issues driving your unhappy behaviors which create the unwanted image in your mirror, or the dreaded number on your scale, all reside in your emotional right brain.  Emotions eventually override will power, determination and logic.  And, then, what’s even worse is you start beating yourself up with recriminations and shame and guilt.

Please stop crucifying yourself.  I know it’s easier said than done, but I’ve got a tool for you.  It’s guided imagery.  Imagery is similar to hypnosis.  In fact, you could consider it hypnosis lite.  Guided Imagery allows you to find and heal your emotional discomfort without making you remember or re-live a painful past which created this behavior in the 1st place.  With guided imagery you can figure out how to self-sooth in a helpful, uplifting way, and let go of habits that keep you from being your best self.

Guided imagery can help you find peace and balance.  It can help you find motivation.  It can help you find a happier way of being.

Our 90 minute sessions are tailor made to your individual needs.  In a soothing setting, complete with warm lighting, soft music, and fragrant incense, you are able to feel better in a brief amount of time.  A happier, healthier image in your mirror will follow.

Unchain yourself from your mirror and scale without stress or worry.  Dr. Mickey is a specialist in guided imagery.  Please call or txt anytime to discuss your individual situation.  Namaste.


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True Stories

Barbara and Weight Control

Barbara (not her real name) had been morbidly obese until she successfully completed a Lindora weight control program.  However, Barbara was terrified that she would return to her former size, because her mother and 3 sisters were still obese, and they were very jealous of Barbara's success/discipline.  They were constantly telling her that the weight reduction was temporary, and that she would be just like them...that when stressed she would eat - not a slice of cake, but the whole cake.  Not a bowl of ice cream, but the entire gallon.  Not a handful of chips or candy, but the entire bag in one sitting.

As human beings, we all have struggles in life.  As human beings, when we struggle, we "self sooth."  Self-soothing can be anything from thumb sucking in young children, to stuffing food in tweens, to recreational drugs in teenagers, to alcohol, tobacco, shopping or even sex in adults.  Self-soothing is fine as long as it doesn't keep you from your best self/a happy, productive life.  So self-soothing such as reading, working out, going to the movies, calling a friend or cooking, for example, give you a break from a stressful life, allo­­w you time to calm down/hit the reset button, if you will, and usually don't have any negative after effects (ok, working out can make you sore, but you know what I mean...)

However, as a child, Barbara had been taught to use food to sooth, reward, stem boredom, calm frustration, distract from loneliness...in short, food was for everything.  Lindora had taught her how to eat right and add exercise to her routine, but they had NOT taught her how to self sooth...

When she came to me we discussed her eating history, her success with Lindora, and her goal with me, which was to make the size reduction permanent.  So, we started with my basic set of 12 guided imageries.  The first 3 imageries are to release emotional and physical pain from the body.  Barbara did really well with these, and immediately had improved sleep and ease of movement.  The next 3 focus on balancing parts of self; balancing the logical and emotional sides, balancing the masculine and feminine sides, and allowing us to get out of our own way, and giving ourselves permission to make life changes to be our best selves.  This was mind blowing for Barbara.  In the 3rd imagery, Barbara imagined that she was stressed out, and that she was going to eat in order to self sooth.  HOWEVER, when she imagined openingthe refrigerator to get food to self sooth, instead of finding cake, cookies and candy, she found bottled water, apples and salad - she had given herself permission to NOT follow what her mother had taught.  Instead, she had given herself permission to eat the way in which Lindora had taught her to eat!

We continued with several custom made guided imageries, in which Barbara resisted her mother and sisters eating habits, and continued with her new way of life.  That was 5+ years ago and Barbara is still slender :-)


Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

Dr. Mickey Wilson, PhD LMFT

Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY
Guided IMAGERY for healing addiction counseling trauma THERAPY

Nadia and Body Image

I met Nadia (not her real name) at a therapist seminar about eating disorders.  Nadia shared that she is in recovery, and would be in recovery for the rest of her life, because even though she looked fine to any stranger who met her, she still struggled with body image.  In fact, she shared with the group that she was almost late to this speaking engagement because she thought she looked terrible in what she was wearing, and had changed outfits numerous times, until her roommate finally told her she looked great... :-(

Nadia explained that her brain did not see, what everyone else sees, when they look at her.  She did not feel, what everyone else feels, when they touch her body.  When she was skin and bones, to her eyes she still looked obese, to her own touch she still felt fat.  This is heart breaking, and unnerving to hear.  And this does not go away on its own, it is not something that people "grow out of," it is not a phase...

And all of that is what family and friends don't understand.  To ask someone suffering with disordered eating "why don't you just eat something?" or "you ate the entire cake - why can't you control yourself?" just reinforces their shame and loathing of self.  It makes the sufferer want to withdraw and hide even more.  And it makes the disordered eating behaviors even stronger/more frequent.

Let me put it to you this way - would you blame a cancer patient for being sick with breast, or bladder, or brain cancer?  Of course not.  Would you blame someone suffering with Alzheimer's disease for having the disease.  Of course not.  Eating disorders are the same thing.  Eating disorders are very cruel diseases.  Our own mind betrays us - plays tricks on our senses - displays images and sensory experiences which are lies.  Then our mind starts talking to us with recrimination, shame and blame, for "not being in control," which just makes the disordered eating even worse.

Please, there is help for this.  Guided imagery helps change perception, and perception is reality...please don't suffer with an eating disorder another day.  Guided imagery is a tool that can help speed healing, not just for the person suffering with the eating disorder, but for every friend and family member watchingdisordered eating in frustration and fear that this disorder will be fatal.   I would be honored to help.  Please call.

Medical Research

The Cleveland Clinic states, “Clinical studies have shown that anxiety can intensify pain, prolong recovery time and lower the immune system.  Guided Imagery can bring about the state of mind and body most conducive to healing.”  This article goes on to state the benefits of guided imagery:

1.      Reduce stress and anxiety

2.    Decrease pain and narcotic consumption

3.    Enhance sleep

4.    Increase client’s satisfaction and quality of life

The Cancer Librarians Section of the Medical Librarian Association states that Guided Imagery "...is considered a complimentary therapy that works well with traditional treatments.  Guided Imagery can reduce stress, anxiety, enhance personal awareness, and improve psychological coping skills."

The following guided imagery therapists consider eating disorders in the same category as addictions and compulsive behaviors.

Noted Guided Imagery Therapists, Charles D. Leviton, Ed.D. and Patti Leviton, M.A., teach us that “The value of imagery is that imagery can diagnose a problem, provide options for change, and even promote healing and personal empowerment.  Its primary purpose is to allow the body to relax, healing the physical and emotional aspects of self.”

Health Journeys Magazine touts the benefits ofusing guided imagery with addictive behaviors and eating disorders.  The magazine discusses the Three Principles of Guided Imagery, which are:

1.      The Mind Body Connection

Images are events to the body.

To the body, images created in the mind can be almost as real as actual events. 

2.    The Meditative State

The power of the meditative state

In a meditative, relaxed state, we are capable of a more rapid and intense emotional and physical healing, and intuitive insight.

3.    The Locus of Control

The importance of feeling in charge

When we have a sense of being in control, and have available to us a simple technique that we can use whenever, wherever and however we wish, we support our sense of wellness, self sufficiency, and self-esteem.

I wish to acknowledge the following publications used in the compilation of this fact sheet:  Charles D. Leviton, Ed.D and Patti Leviton, “Inner Peace Outward Power,” 2007.  Health Journeys Magazine.  Cleveland Clinic Guided Imagery Fact Sheet, 2008.  Cancer Librarians Section, Medical Library Association, 2002.