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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


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Bear the conflict. Eventually, if you follow step 1 and step 2 you will feel uncomfortable. You will feel afraid or mad or so angry and depressed you want to blame something or someone or many people or conditions for your emotional pain.

You can get through this stage without understanding, relying on a devil may care act of desperation. But that often does not work. If you try to break the conflict in yourself through dangerous activities you are not trying to die, although you may. You are trying to stop the pain by taking extreme distracting action.

Your hope is that you will break into a new way of being alive, and if you don’t then you are willing to die rather than live with the pain. Your situation doesn’t have to get this extreme. You don’t have to put yourself in danger, either through risky behaviors or through numbing your soul till you rot away.

With a willingness to look within, it’s at this stage people often seek psychotherapy, spiritual guidance or philosophical change. Without a willingness to look within, at this stage when, people often look to drugs, alcohol, sexual excess, self-harm or “pull a geographic,” as AA describes.

It’s also at this stage when people are often vulnerable to cults and manipulative and exploitative people because putting someone else in charge and surrendering personal autonomy seems better than overseeing yourself since you don’t like where that has led.

So, what is the best choice, or at least a better choice? What holds opportunity for you to move through this painful impasse within your mind, heart and soul?

Understanding and a stable base from which to work on and with your inner self in order to grow is essential. This is available in many ways, but in your emotional crisis, your vision of your possibilities may be narrow.

What’s going on? Deep in your psyche is a world, your world, of possibilities, dreams, identities, goals, and desires. What is true to your heart and soul is there, some of it refined and some of it raw. All of it is powerful.

Just a bit higher up in your psyche is a controlling Judge that enforces the way you believe you are supposed to act, think and behave. This is powerful, too, and keeps you living the same way, thinking and responding the same way.

It pressures you to maintain the equilibrium of your existence, good or bad, based on family, culture, religion, and gender laws you follow regardless of your deep knowing of yourself. What you have is pressure coming up from below, saying, “This is who I am. This is what I want. This is the path I choose to follow.”

And the pressure from above pressing down says, “Behave yourself. Follow the rules. Don’t hurt people. Don’t damage the system. Don’t let people down. Don’t hurt yourself by opposing forces stronger than you. Stay with your established routine.”

Yes/No/Yes/No/Yes/No forces within your divided self grow and can lead to anxiety attacks, self-doubt, guilt, fear, isolation, people pleasing, confused thinking and rage, as well as risky behaviors. But there’s more within your psyche than these two poles.

You also have within you a force pushing you to grow, evolve, heal, and develop into who you already authentically are. I like to think of it as your natural life force. You see it in action when you see a blade of grass growing through a cement sidewalk.

You see it when a rose comes twisting and turning out of a dark, thick bush to expose its bud to the sun and blossom. A force within pushes life through incredible obstacles so that life can be what it truly is.

You also see it clearly when you witness an actual developmental change, like birds or reptiles emerging from eggs or insects coming out of the chrysalis. They are all moving from one defined way of living into another, and they must exert themselves to come forth.

Action for Your Authentic Life in Six Steps

Action for Your Authentic Life in Six Steps - Steps One and Two

Action for Your Authentic Life in Six Steps - Step Three

Action for Your Authentic Life in Six Steps - Step Four

Action for Your Authentic Life in Six Steps - Step Five

Action for Your Authentic Life in Six Steps - Step Six

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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