Healing questions to find your authentic center.
Healing Question: Are you using your eating disorder as your center?
You developed an eating disorder to hold your emotional and psychological life together. Something interfered with your developing a solid self core that could sustain you through the trials and challenges of living. Developing an eating disorder is a creative act. You created a core center that you can support by controlling how you eat (or don’t eat), how you exercise, how you isolate and how you limit your life to specific habits and routines.
Recovery work involves tampering with that artificially created center. Psychotherapy encourages the growth and development of a true center based on the seeds of your authentic self that didn’t have an opportunity to flourish in life.
Healing questions are vital in recognizing your authentc center. I work with people who have an eating disorder. I work with people who had one, no longer struggle with the food behaviors, but still isolate or defer to others looking and look to be rescued. Before they rely on their internal center externals define them. They don't believe it’s possible to be assertive, competent and proactive based on who they truly are and what they truly want.
Every day in my psychotherapy practice I see the people struggle against losing their artificial core because they sense looming anxiety of internal anarchy. Fearing internal chaos, bewilderment and helplessness they hold on to the only center they’ve known.
Yet, gently, over time, in gradual increments, they can and do develop what at first seems too good to be true. They build on the seeds of self buried under the eating disorder. As that true center develops a new free life unfolds full of the riches they’ve always wanted yet never thought possible.
It’s a fearful joy when things fall apart yet it’s the greatest opportunity of a lifetime to get rid of that false center and develop a sturdy authentic core that can see you through your life in all its stages.
Use these 12 healing questions as prompts to explore your thoughts, feelings and experiences that relate to your way of living and your psychotherapy recovery work (or lack of recovery work).
You’ll have more to say about some topics than others. That can change over time. But giving your energy and attention to any of the questions will gain more self understanding and self compassion on your path to recovery.
- Why is recovery so hard?
- What is the core effort that leads to eating disorder recovery?
- Why do you suppose you feel angry, stubborn and even enraged when your food routines are challenged?
- Why are you threatened or disbelieving of what your therapist may say about the emotional world you live in?
- What scares you about recovery psychotherapy?
- Why do you suppose anxiety attacks are part of your recovery psychotherapy experience?
- What surprises and even astounds you about the sorrow, rage and fear your therapist encourages you to bear?
- Why do you suppose there are times when you think your therapist is a fool and that you would be a fool to follow her lead?
- Why do you run away from psychotherapy?
- Why do you run to psychotherapy?
- Why is recovery psychotherapy different from what you thought it would be or could be?
- Why does it take courage to rely on your therapist?
Continue to address these healing questions. Incorporate them in your journal. As you work with them you will discover more insight and develop more strength to move on your recovery path. Please let me know how you are doing.
Joanna Poppink, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD and adult development.
She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, UT. Author of Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder
Appointments are virtual. For a free telephone consultation e-mail her at