“Habits are like a bowl of spaghetti: they are intertwined and influence each other”
Luke Mathers, Curious Minds.
The problem that Luke identified in his bowl of spaghetti analogy is what I’m helping my clients to ‘unravel’ with Session Mapping; a technique I developed whilst trying to untangle and get clarity on how topics are interrelated. The process involves me 'mapping' clients words as they describe a situation or goal. Together, we're able to draw connections and 'reveal' solutions that were before hidden in a tangle of proverbial "tomatoey deliciousness".
Sarah is an expat. When she first moved she felt quite isolated and started comfort eating to compensate. This caused her to put on weight making her feel depressed and withdrawn. She found herself stuck in a loop of comfort eating, weight gain and guilt, leading her to lose even more confidence in herself and feel even more isolated.
So, she started using diet shakes and an exercise plan to lose weight, which worked well but because the diet was so restrictive she found it difficult to socialise because of the fear of gaining weight once again, leading to her feeling depressed and isolated. When Sarah talked to me she felt like she was under a heavy dark cloud. She explained how although she’d lost 15kg and reached her target weight, she still wasn’t happy.
By mapping what she was saying Sarah was able to see what was happening and understand why she wasn’t happy despite reaching her target weight. More importantly, she could see she needed to work on understanding the heavy dark cloud to make further progress.
We located the heavy cloud part using parts-therapy and learnt that it was actually a protector part which had formed 12 years previously during a time when she felt very criticised. Using a combination of parts-therapy and NLP techniques we were able to understand this part of her and reduce it’s weight over her. We also identified a light part which felt like golden sunlight and gave her the confidence to interact in social settings and handle social situations.
Through further parts-therapy Sarah has come to understand that the weight gain was also ploy by her protective parts to keep her at home so she wouldn’t be criticised and hurt again. Now she understands the motivation for her heavy cloud part she has compassion with it and how it’s been trying so hard to protect her for so long. By communicating with this part and the light part she’s been able to come to a new agreement between her parts. The heavy cloud part has reduced in size and moved over allowing the light part to shine.
She no longer hates that negative part of her. She sees it’s working for her alerting her when there is a possible threat. She doesn’t have to push away the negative thoughts, she now acknowledges them, puts them in perspective and moves on. She socialises more, feels lighter and less isolated. In Sarah’s words “I now see it (going out) isn’t actually about the food, it’s about being out. No one really cares what I eat, or if I eat at all, that was just the excuse I used to avoid being criticised and hurt.”
If you’re an expat in a new country and your thoughts are getting tangled, get in contact to find out how I can help you unravel your situation using Session Mapping.