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These people believe that losing weight is the only way to increase their self confidence. A desire to improve their health is another reason people try to lose weight, albeit this is a less common reason. There are other reasons like wanting to be more active to play with children or being diagnosed with diabetes but these are more rare reasons. As seen above the majority of patients see weight loss as the only way of achieving some benefit that is very important to the patient. This is often an unrealistic goal which is unlikely to be met.


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However people do not realise this. Society suggests to us that weight loss is simply a matter of self control.

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This results in many people linking body image with beauty, confidence and self respect. The result is that people set goals to lose unrealistic amounts of weight in the hope that this will fulfil their primary goals.

It is easy to see that many of the primary goals are only loosely connected to weight loss. In some individuals it is important to lose weight to achieve better health but other primary goals often have no connection to body weight. Goals about self-confidence, better social or work skills or even how attractive a person considers themselves are not really dependant on their weight.

When someone starts to lose weight they are usually successful for a short time. As a result people become discouraged, often underestimate their achievement and ignore any benefits like greater fitness, a change in clothes size or having more energy. Regardless if the person reaches their weight loss goals, primary goals remain unachieved and therefore the person is at high risk of lapses. These lapses usually involve over-eating, which results in weight gain. This weight gain is then seen as a failure resulting in further dieting and then further lapses. People work hard to try to reduce their weight but tend not to make an effort to maintain the new lower weight.

This arises from 2 reasons:. However without weight maintenance people return to their prior lifestyle habits and soon begin to regain weight. As is seen above weight loss is a very complex issue that usually involves issues of body image, self image, confidence and self respect. Because of this CBT can be useful in several stages of a weight loss program. Below is an example of a weight loss program that uses CBT. The program has 6 parts outlined below.


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This is the start and the most important part of losing weight. A diet should be started to encourage healthy eating that provides nutrients and vitamins but reduces calories. There must also be a focus on increasing activity. If the patient has a steady general increase in activity they are more likely to continue this into the long term once the initial enthusiasm has worn off. Once the above is in place it is important to address the problems that can cause a person to abandon their diet. Issues include motivation, frequent snacking, excessive alcohol consumption , binge eating and eating in response to mood comfort eating.

Here CBT can be used to try to solve some of these problems. For example CBT has been shown to be very good at improving mood and so it can be used to stop comfort eating. As mentioned before the majority of people who try to lose weight have very negative views about their body image. Body image is very important in our society but body image should not define a person.

Why is someone trying to lose weight? As mentioned before many people dismiss the weight loss they have achieved and any benefits they have had. This leads them to become discouraged with weight loss. CBT can help a person appreciate how far they have already come and show them why they should be happy with their achievements.

This part also allows a person to start to separate weight goals and primary goals. This is where CBT is very important. Let us take the example of a patient who is trying to lose weight as they currently lack self confidence. The person believes that external appearance is the most important aspect of their lives and because they view their appearance in a negative way they view themselves as a person in a negative way. In social settings they may become extremely self conscious, leading to feelings of anxiety that in turn lead to the person being quiet and withdrawn, so the person lacks self confidence.

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If the person receives therapy and they begin to understand that there is more to them then merely their external appearance then the situation can change. The person becomes less self conscious of their image, thus they are no longer anxious and thus their self confidence increases. Helping a person achieve their primary goals is an extremely important step in allowing them to lose an appropriate amount of weight and then maintain this weight. Long term maintenance is extremely important to ensure a person has a steady weight.

CBT can be used to reinforce the significance of the weight already lost and encourage ongoing weight control. There must also be an emphasis that dieting is a set of flexible guidelines and not a set of rigid rules. A person may break their diet on occasion and this is not the end of the world and the patient still has control over their weight. Weight loss is difficult and requires a lot of effort.

However, the reasons why people try to lose weight are often related to negative views of body image and a lack of social skills and confidence. Weight loss therefore becomes a method by which people hope to improve social skills, etc.

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CBT is vital in helping people separate these goals from their weight loss goals. After the patient understands that the two are different CBT helps the patient fulfil their primary goals separately form their weight loss goals. The result is that people become far happier with themselves and with the weight they lose resulting in long term weight control. View more information about myVMC.

Please be aware that we do not give advice on your individual medical condition, if you want advice please see your treating physician. Parenting information is available at Parenthub.

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Are you a Health Professional? Jump over to the doctors only platform. Power is, in itself, neither positive nor negative; it is neutral. Few, if any, marriage, business, friendship, or therapy relationships are truly equal. The problem of abusive or exploitative power in therapy is not going to be resolved by avoiding all touch and other boundary crossing in therapy. The problem with the argument of power differential is that all patients are portrayed as malleable, weak, and defenseless in the hands of their powerful, dominant, compelling therapists. The disparity in power is regarded as extreme, which is disempowering to the client.

It is possible that many therapists cling to the false ideals of the segregated therapy session and avoid dual relationships because it increases their professional status Dineen, ; Zur, , , a. These therapists are thereby imbuing themselves with undue power that can all too easily be translated into exploitation Zur, Many therapists work with clients who are much more powerful than they. Often, these clients do not regard their therapists as particularly powerful or persuasive, and their therapists experience them as more powerful and successful than they.

Such cases are a prime example of when therapists have to work hard at cultivating an aura of power so as to appear credible.

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In summary, therapists must be very careful not to abuse the trust and power they often have in the therapeutic relationships. At the same time it is important that therapists humbly accept that some clients are more powerful than they are and acknowledge the limitation of how much power and influence they really have.