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Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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The Importance of a Sense of Self

The Importance of a Sense of Self

What is your sense of self and how might it affect your eating and body image? Do you know what a sense of self means or what yours is? Do you understand what having a healthy one entails?

Research by Christopher Basten, Ph.D. and Stephen Touyz, Ph.D. “lends some empirical support for the often-cited observation that eating disorders (EDs) occur in those whose sense of self and identity is weak.” (EDRS Post Presentation Summary 2018 Manual, “The relationship between sense of self and pathology in eating and body image,” Basten and Touyz, accessed 10/20/19). According to them, a weak sense of self includes “lacking a sense of wholeness, authenticity, continuity, and vitality.” 

Many eating disordered clients hold a view of themselves that is fragmented, That is, they see themselves as parts that are unintegrated with other parts to form a sense of wholeness. For example, they view their work value as distinct from their social value and generally feel somehow incomplete, as if something is missing in them. This lack of integration is a barrier to a sense of wholeness that says, “I am all of me at once” and “I am enough for me all the time,” mindsets which are necessary to function effectively in the world.

Authenticity is almost always an issue with dysregulated eaters. They hide aspects of themselves, act “as if,” have difficulty being authentic with others or themselves, and fear rejection or shame and humiliation when they’re genuine. They say they’re fine when they’re not. 

Lacking a sense of wholeness, they fail to experience continuity within themselves, known as a stable sense of self. Chameleon-like, they reflect what (or who) is around them and are dependent on others’ approval for their own self-value and self-approval. Vitality, aka self-agency or empowerment, is often low because they get thrown by indecision and suffer severe self-doubt. Rather than feeling energized by who they are, they suffer from a perceived inner emptiness which leads to apathy and inertia.

If any of these descriptors apply to yourself, especially in a major way, it’s time to set things right. Therapy can help enormously. Your therapist will understand your wanting an improved sense of self and will help you develop skills to develop one that is strong and stable.

Best,

Karen

 

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This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy