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Anyone had counselling - compulsive eating/binge eating?

29 replies

mumofthreebeauties · 05/05/2006 17:30

I am seriously overweight (20st) and am just about to start some counselling. It has been suggested I suffer from compulsive comfort eating/binge eating.

Does counselling help?

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MrsBigD · 05/05/2006 17:36


whether counselling helps or not is imho generally down to the individual. As far as I see it you have made the first step in that you 'admitted' that you might have a problem and that's always a good start :)

I am the type who 'carries her feelings on her sleeve' iykwim :) so always bored most of my friends and family with my 'misery'. I went for some counselling re depression but didn't find it extremely useful especially as would have had to wait another 4 weeks for the next session which then would have only been 15 minutes! though the 1 session I did have was good in a way as it was an outside perspective and that was all I needed.

My brother and his fiancee are both psychologists and they have had successes of very varying degrees.

I would say give it a go and see how you feel about it.


Littlefish · 05/05/2006 17:55

Mumofthreebeauties - I'm just about to start counselling as well - partly for my problems with food, plus other things too! First appointment on Sunday - let's keep in touch!

bummer · 06/05/2006 12:07

Please let me know how you get on. Wish I could go for counselling but too ashamed to get help. I can't stop eating know what my problem(s) is but it doesn't stop me from eating.

kokeshi · 06/05/2006 12:55

Hi mo3b,

Compulsive Eating is actually classed as an eating disorder, just like Anorexia and Bulimia. It is and illness and thus you shouldn't feel ashamed to go to the doctor.

These days, treatment usually takes the form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, over a period of time. Just like the more prominent EDs, it comes from the same origins, so hopefully your doc will be able to refer you.

My Health Board actually pays for inpatient or outpatient treatment in an Eating Disorder Unit, obv depending on the severity of your condition. I wish you all the best, and hope you see someone who'll help you soon.

mumofthreebeauties · 08/05/2006 22:35

What a relief there are others out there too.

I know where it stems from and am hoping the counselling will help. It comes from child abuse and this is my last attempt to get some control over my life.

I have finally stopped gaining weight (been the same weight now for 8 months but it needs to start reducing.

Littlefish, I would love to stay in touch as we go through this journey (and the one thing I have learnt is that there is no quick fix.)

Thank you all so much for replying. I will let you know.


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mumofthreebeauties · 08/05/2006 22:38


how did the counselling go. My session was on Friday and I feel there is a glimmer of hope.

I don;t show any emotion (which is right). Somewhere I have learnt to swich my emotions off and need to start recognising and dealing with them.

Hope your session was useful.

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schneebly · 09/05/2006 08:39

Hi mo3b

I am glad you feel that the counselling may be able to help. I also have problems with compulsive eating and find it difficult to control. I think about food most of the time. Did you get referred by your GP?

Littlefish · 09/05/2006 18:29

Hi Mob3

Glad you feel there is a glimmer of hope after your appointment. Mine went ok. I'm not sure how far I'll take these appointments as I didn't feel entirely at ease with the counsellor - I may need to consider a different one.

No time to stop and chat now but I'll be back tomorrow (Wednesday).

mumofthreebeauties · 09/05/2006 21:42


I initially got referred by my Gp to a dietician, but quickly realised what she was telling me I already knew.

I returned to the doctor and took part in a research project that focussed on the emotional side of eating.

I knew what I should and shouldn't be eating but emotionally I couldn't control it.

Now the counselling is focussing on that.

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mumofthreebeauties · 09/05/2006 21:46


It's important to get the right one. I had one who was very harsh school - you're an adult now, get to grips and stop playing the child.

That was sooo far removed from what I needed.

This counsellor I was unsure of at first but it took a couple of weeks and now I'm confident she can help. The process is to go and deal with all the emotions rather than hiding them. more an acknowledge, feel the feeling and move on sort of thing.

hope things work out for you wahtever you decide to go - I can;t recommend counselling enough, but shop around if you feel its not working.

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Littlefish · 09/05/2006 22:16

The trouble is that she reminds me of my mother. As many of my problems with food stem from my relationship with my mother, it's quite strange trying to talk to someone who resembles the root of the problem!!!

mumofthreebeauties · 09/05/2006 22:36

Get your drift!

The research group I went to. Everyone had issues with their mothers - me too.

Hope you find someone - what about a man?

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lazycow · 10/05/2006 10:06

I had counselling for compulsive eating over a period of about 4 years (not continuosly). It did help a lot for me to undertand the undelying emotional issues around food for me. However when it came down to it I didn't miraculously lose lots of weight. I am glad I did it though.

It made me much more aware of my problem with food and gave me strategies to deal with it. the problem for me is having the will to deal with it. In many ways my addiction is my friend (not a real friend obviously) but the equivalent of a drinking buddy.

I have years of ingrained habit to undo - i.e eating when not hungry and that unfortunatley takes quite a while.

Arabica · 10/05/2006 11:50

I've been in therapy for some time and the issue that initially brought me was bulimia/compulsive eating, but it took an awful lot of courage and a couple of false starts to get there.

It helps me to think of my disordered eating behaviour as a symptom, rather than the cause, of an underlying depression--the real problem to be tackled.

Someone mentioned cognitive behavioural therapy earlier. It can only tackle the behaviour you're doing that you would like to change and not the underlying emotional issues that are making you eat without knowing why. If your eating behaviour has been going on for a number of years (and especially if it started in early childhood, as mine did) CBT alone may not be enough.

By the way, Littlefish, if your counsellor reminds you of your mum, it can be incredibly helpful as it may eventually become a safe space to talk about all the things with your mum you feel uncomfortable about. It took me a while to realise that my therapist had aspects of my mum about her, but I'm really glad I stayed with it and am now hoping to take up psychotherapy training myself.

Sorry for the essay!

lazycow · 10/05/2006 13:30

I was also going to day that often the counsellor/therapist who makes us feel most uncomfortable gets the best results. the discomfort is a sign that emotions we normally keep hideen are being stirred up.

Obvipusly you shouldn't keep seeing someone who you believe is incompetent but as Arabica says the fact that they remind you of someone you have issues with is often a good sign. Though of course that is only my opinion

Littlefish · 10/05/2006 21:38

Thank you for your comments Arabica, Lazycow and mo3b, they were really helpful. I hadn't thought about the idea of a positive aspect to my counsellor reminding me of my mum. Interesting thought. I will give it another few sessions and see how we get on.

jenk1 · 11/05/2006 22:05

I read this thread with real interest.

I too have trouble with compulsive eating and bingeing and i have had counselling and my problems are also due to my mum.

What i dont understand is why is that?
Why do so many women have issues with eating/to do with theor mothers?
I didnt ask my counseller but i wish i had!!

bummer · 15/05/2006 14:53

I would really like to know how when you know what the problem is you actually turn things around.

Do counsellors cost an awful lot?

Littlefish · 15/05/2006 18:23

My counsellor is pretty affordable. I go to a centre which does lots of training for counsellors. They have counsellors who cost from £6.00 per session up to £40.00 per session, depending on their level of experience. They are all fully qualified, but some are very newly qualified (if you see what I mean!). My sessions cost £20.00 each.

Jenk1 - I will ask my counsellor about the mother/food thing. I presume it is something to do with lack of nurture and a confusing a feeling of being physically full, with emotionally full.

Bummer - I can't really answer your question as I haven't got fully to the root of things myself. Perhaps someone else can help.

MO3b - how are you feeling? How was your latest session?

mumofthreebeauties · 18/05/2006 22:12


I'm back. didn;t make my session. Just spent a week in hospital with my son - ruptured appendix.

If he recovers well, I will look to going back ina couple of weeks.

Keep the thread going though.

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Littlefish · 18/05/2006 22:46

Hi mo3b - so sorry to hear about your ds. Look after yourself and come back when you can.

mumofthreebeauties · 19/05/2006 22:51

Thanks littlefish

He seems to be coping - just got to watch and make sure all the infection has gone.

Lost a stone though in my time at the hospital. couldn;t leave him to get anything to eat so hence the weight loss.

I wished DH would have had a couple of morning off to let me get breakfast, but thats another thread!


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Littlefish · 22/05/2006 12:32

Hi mo3b - how is your ds? Hope you are eating properly again.

I had a really good session with the counsellor yesterday. As is always the way with these things, I was just beginning to really open up about my food issues and we ran out of time!

Never mind, it's given me plenty to think about before our next session.

mumofthreebeauties · 24/05/2006 13:56

Thanks LF

He is recovering well. He is verging on the naughty again so he must be feeling better!

Glad it's all over- it's me that needs looking after now. I haven;t phoned for another appointment yet.

Speak soon

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mumofthreebeauties · 11/06/2006 22:22

Hi all

Had another counselling session and it went really well. We discussed all my 'issues' as i see them. Self worth is a big one - i don;t really have any.

How is everyone else getting on?

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