Felix Economakis - Therapist

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Note for Users of Comcast

Unfortunately it seems Comcast are refusing to play these videos from Vimeo. Clients have asked Comcast to make an exception but Comcast seem unwilling or unable to make the necessary changes. In the meantime I recommend you ask a friend or relative with a different internet provider if you can borrow their internet connection for just over 1.5 hours.

Or if you have an internet allowance on your phone, iPad or tablet, just go to settings, switch off ‘WIFI’ so that your phone defaults to the internet allowance.

ADULTS & CHILDREN

Adopting The Most Useful Mind-Set & Attitude:

In general it seems those clients who come in and say 'I'm not expecting miracles, I just want to be able to get some food in my mouth ... not expecting to like everything...'' ironically tend to have the most 'miracle' type results. Lower expectation = lower pressure.

Those who come in expecting everything to be a miracle and to immediately love everything they eat are expecting 100% change, end up being disappointed if they e.g. 'only' experience 70-80% change. They see things more in terms of 'fail' or 'success'.

The main aim of this video is to remove the fear sufficiently so people have the chance to explore new foods without the usual crippling fear blocking them.

The next step is up to the client. You get out what you put in. For instance one client signed up to a cookery course and posts up regular photo updates of all the new food she is trying; another one was determined to go through the whole of a certain menu. Another client went to the supermarket on her own, without any planning, did not know what to buy, so she bought frozen French fries and chicken nuggets because she just wanted to get shopping out of the way and not think about it. Consequently, she only ate the same food again for another three months. The same identical format was used for all three clients

Maintenance of Change & Managing Expectations

There are three elements involved to working with SED/ARFID (and changing other behaviours for that matter).

  1. The first is overcoming the initial phobia around trying new foods at the end of the session without the previous mental blocks or crippling fear. This is the main focus of this treatment session.
  2. The second is managing the judgement (from self or others) about progress not being fast enough.
  3. The third is the ability to focus on the big picture goal for continued motivation.

Whereas some clients have informed me that just being able to ‘taste chicken’ would be a massive success, for others, as the success of my therapy has become better known, many clients now expect to not only be able to try new food but remain highly motivated and disciplined with their eating habits from just one session. It is not possible to address all of this three elements in just one session. There is enough to do with just resolving the phobic aspect. It is best not to see therapy as a magic wand but a process that will re-educate your system to view food differently, but it will require your cooperation.

Keeping up new good habits will also depend on other factors – individual temperament, ability to delay immediate gratification, ability to focus on a longer term goal and future benefit, ability to take personal responsibility for change.

Despite my emphatic advice, some clients end up undoing a lot of progress made in therapy by being overly self-critical, overly impatient, judgemental and competitive which ends up putting a lot of pressure back on themselves. Under pressure, our system traditionally just ‘clams up’ again. If you or your child is incredibly hard on its self and puts a lot of pressure on their self to get results, then he/she may need some preliminary work on learning how to ‘encourage’ rather than ‘discourage’ their self. They will need to learn to stop focusing on results but rather on how to cultivate managing their self in a way that does end up getting the results in the end.

Please also bear in mind that different people will have different rates of progress, just like when learning to read or riding a bike or first learning to swim. In a swimming pool you will see some people are ready to dive into the pool, some take more time and slowly wade into it, and others still have some trepidation and dip their toe in the water, waiting for the pool to heat up. Clients are a little like that. Most seem to wade in after the session, but many may still need more time and want to ‘test the waters’ slowly first. It is not about having the same results as some of the YouTube clips, but finding your own time and pace.

THERAPY FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

CONFIRMATION THAT CHILD WANTS HELP:

Before purchasing the product for your child it is a good idea to check the child’s level of motivation. Ideally we would like the child, at the minimum, to just be open to being helped. If they are not in the mental place yet, it is best to wait until they are. It is also best to consult with them over this treatment option so they feel they have had a say in it.

Many times I have been assured by parents in the past that their child definitely wants help only to have the child come in and I find them unengaged, paying lip service to questions and very much looking like they are in my session out of duress and would very much rather be doing something else with their time.

I can only presume the parents are asking closed questions (e.g. 'You want to change don't you? Don't you want to get better') to which the child replies in an abstract way 'Yes', without it actually meaning that they want to engage in therapy. There is a difference. Children do not treat it like a verbal contract. The difference is striking when compared to those children where it is obvious that they want to change and feel better. A child might say ‘Yes’ simply to get parents off his/her back, or to give  the impression that they want to change.

To this end, it is advisable to use ‘open questions’ (e.g. ‘How do you feel about seeing someone who can help you in an hour or so, without any hard work or forcing you to eat anything at all?’, or 'What would you like us to do to help about food... what would you like to happen?.), let your child fill in the blanks and gauge their responses accordingly for commitment.

If you feel assured that your child genuinely wants to change, then the next step is to consult with them over preparing 6 or 7 foods or more of various challenge that your child would like to eat but currently cannot. More will be said on this later.

I have pasted some more info below on ‘Motivational Stages’

Change and motivation is part of a process. In that process there are different stages so it is important to be aware of where you (or your child) is at in their motivation. The main stages are:

Pre-contemplation stage - Here the person is not considering change. e.g. if they are smoking or drinking excessively, they are still ‘in love with their behaviour or there is still a romance to it. People in this stage would actively resist any attempts to change them.

* Contemplation Stage - admitting there is a downside to their behaviour in terms of consequences e.g. noticing health effects. On a mental scale of pros vs cons, they are leaning more towards the cons side of the equation. This then leads to:

Preparation Stage- person decides to do something about it. At this point they are not yet a ‘customer’ for therapy, they are still enquirers as they can still feel ambivalent or mixed feelings about changing e.g. I want to give up smoking/drinking but not just yet, or I want to drink for my birthday party….

Action - “as of tomorrow”. Here the person has gotten so fed up of their behaviour that they have resolved to do something about it, even if it is daunting and hard work

Maintenance - Often the most difficult phase for some until that new behaviour sets and becomes permanent.
Relapse – A illness or a new big issue can regress a person straight back to old safety behaviours..

The goal in therapy is to move the patient only on to the next stage. A lot of children I’ve seen were not at the ‘action’ stage but still in contemplation, still not quite decided.

So, one suggestion would be to talk this over with the member of your family and ask them “Right now, which stage do you think you are at?”

Please consult with your child first. If your child is not interested in viewing the video, then do not buy it and wait for the child to become interested. It is better to wait until the child is interested and then buy it. If the child is interested in seeing it, then one year is enough for any further reinforcement sessions.

It is also really important to remember that sometimes the client’s subconscious mind does NOT want to change its behaviour, despite the exasperation of their own rational ‘conscious mind’ and all the problems that have followed. I once saw an 8 year old boy for a Skype session. At the start of the session he was very excited by hypnosis and was even doing some of the suggestibility tests or ‘party tricks’ without a problem, and he was genuinely fed up with the impact of his diet on his life. But as soon as it came to the change work, he started fidgeting and getting uncomfortable. He kept opening his eyes, he was very restless and agitated. As I explored further, there was a ‘shutdown’. The poor boy just burst into tears because he didn’t know why his system was still opposed to change despite me outlining the obvious benefits of change. So, there is no guarantee the subconscious mind will agree to the terms and conditions of its conscious mind, for its own reasons which it may or may not want to share. The responsibility for motivation for change does rest with the client not the therapist.

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