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MACHOL's Photo MACHOL Posts: 2,423
9/27/11 7:02 P

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Take a look at my blog I made today if you have time (I know that as counselors and therapists, we don't always have time).

The long and the short of it, does it make me a better counselor? No.

Does eating right and exercising to help dispel the stress that comes with this position make me a better counselor? Absolutely.

I guess it's the way I look at it.

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Shalom

If you don't laugh, I will give you a virtual tickle!

"Don't let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries."
--Astrid Alauda


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4/16/11 2:15 P

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REDDIRTRUNNER,

I agree, countertransference wise it could be a new aspect for me to deal with. I know that many of my cohorts felt crushes from their clients, or transference as a sex object. And I know that I am a good looking woman...and if I drop the weight interest will arise. Even if it is simply you are a good looking woman. Now I am a nice therapist with a pretty face.

And yes, this is stuff that I need to work out. This thread is a great place to start as well, talking about it with others - as the process begins.


REDDIRTRUNNER's Photo REDDIRTRUNNER Posts: 437
4/16/11 1:53 P

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On the flip side of this, I find that I am concerned with becoming "sexy" or attractive in a sexual way. Obviously this is my crap to work through, but it is a strange and vulnerable feeling. I find myself trying to really cover up so that my butt can't be seen and feeling very self conscious if clothes are tighter or clingy. I am happy and excited to have a more attractive figure forming, but it also makes me very uncomfortable- especially at work. I have a lot of male clts and I don't wear skirts or show too much skin anyway, but I am finding some more counter transference issues around sexual stuff coming up in my work with my weight loss..I think about other women I work with who have nice figures and dress nice, with shirts that show their figure, etc. It doesn't seem to be an issue. I don't quite understand why I have such an issue with this. Something to talk with my therapist about...

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4/11/11 4:14 P

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Hello,

I am glad this thread is here, the question of being a fat counselor has been on my mind...in fact I thought the subject might make a good journal article.

I am uncomfortable in my body and have wondered if clients will trust the fat lady. And during practicum I had a client, who I adored working with, call me on my fat...and we talked about the subject some. In the long run he trusted me and therapy through the year went well.

I do worry though, about being questioned of my ability. Then figure that the other can make up any excuse they want - to avoid working - to avoid engaging in a therapeutic relationship. If they choose something as simple as my weight, they are taking the easy way out. My weight has nothing to do with them...it is my own issue. And I'll talk to my own therapist about it (wink, wink).

Not too long ago I made a comment about this subject to a group of friends, about my own worries, and one responded, "I would love a fat therapist. Someone who understands the issues I have!"

Thinking about countertransference - I believe I have come across more as a "mother figure" or "friend" rather than the 'very attractive' therapist...as my cohorts reported of their countertransference experiences...each bring out differing areas a client needs to work in...all progress, neither good or bad.

There is also frustration for me here. There seems to be an assumption shared by some. A laziness, or lack of considering alternative reasons regarding a persons present weight. A lack of considering other health issues that there might be, or have been, personal histories, aging...that may have to do with weight. Will you do this with your clients?

My example: Try being an already curvy 44 women, who survived a huge brain tumor, surgery, and a lengthy prescription of steroids to keep the swelling in your brain down...increasing the waist line by 40 pounds in 3 months (cushings via steroids). Making exercise nearly impossible for 2 years. Though practicum completed, thesis complete, oral exam passed, degree earned. Do not go thinking that I am "lazy", you would be wrong.

Believing that others will not trust you due to weight could mean that you would not trust someone with else with weight issues. Logic: if A is true = then B must be true. And this will not build a health therapeutic relationship. Helping me rethink my worries. Others can trust me...with or without prejudgments. If it'll take a little time for a clients to build up that kind of trust...that is okay, it is a part of the process.



JESUSSHRINK's Photo JESUSSHRINK Posts: 151
2/4/11 12:25 P

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Depends on how you let the weight effect you. If it makes you more confident in your profession of course, but for the most part it has nothing to do with your stance as a counselor. On the other hand it could make you a positive influence on others!

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HORBTR's Photo HORBTR Posts: 50
10/31/10 7:28 P

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Your weight has nothing to do with counseling skills. It's your ability to listen and connect. Being able to show how you struggled and met your goals give more credibility.

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GRUVEGIRL's Photo GRUVEGIRL Posts: 50
8/2/09 10:19 P

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I know this is an old topic, but I just joined the team and wanted to "weigh" in.

One of my colleagues told me she believes her weight helps her as a counselor because, "No one confides in the skinny girl." That statement really struck a chord in me and has really caused me to wonder if my weight loss might actually hinder my ability to connect with clients -- particularly those who have their own weight issues. Weight can certainly act as a buffer to intimacy, even emotional and psychological, but in counseling might it encourage safety for disclosure?

Isaiah 50:4-5


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SWEETPEAPIG1980's Photo SWEETPEAPIG1980 Posts: 744
7/31/09 10:31 P

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I believe not only losing weight but learning to just maintain a healthy lifestyle will make me a better professional. Most of my clients are overweight and in need of both exercise and portion control. I have taken a class and used this site to try to lose weight and learn to eat in a healthier manner along with exercise. I feel this makes me better because in order to demonstrate proper behavior and properly advise my clients on what they need to do to lose weight, I will have to know how and prctice these skills daily as well.

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PANDORALSU's Photo PANDORALSU Posts: 130
3/9/09 6:41 P

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I like thought provoking questions! I need to post some new ones.

A pessimist has no motor, an optimist has no breaks!


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NICOLEJEANB's Photo NICOLEJEANB Posts: 194
1/18/09 10:06 A

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I really appreciate this question. I struggle with feeling like I should be "above reproach" all the time. While I don't know if this is true, I definitely worry about what my clients think about my weight. I think it's more about my own self consciousness, which is an ongoing struggle. So, I think loosing weight may help me be a better counselor but, essentially, feeling better about myself will definitely help me be a better counselor.

Thanks for the really thought-provoking question. That's why I like this board so much.

Nicole

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Plato


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
1/3/09 2:23 P

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ALEX, I work with a diverse population ranging from ages 3-18yrs old, and families. I spend tons of time in schools and on reserve. Being small town, people know me outside of work. In all the many years I've done this work I've only had a couple issues from fathers, who use my weight as a reason why I'm not capable of counselling their children. Those fathers were abusive and angry, I was an "easy target" and I didn't hold much to their comments, in terms of how they viewed me. At times some younger children have said to my young clients that "she's fat, why do you go with her" and even as young as 6yrs old have replied back appropriate. Like one little girl said to me "I said that you weren't fat and that was mean, it isn't nice to say and he went away." That's not so bad, it teaches children that we are all different shapes, sizes and colours, therefore, acceptance of all is really the key. I've been thrown off reserve for being white. I can't change that and if I go with the premise that my weight creates issues, therefore, I need to change it to be a great counsellor, then I should change my skin colour to be a great counsellor.

That's not reality nor even reasonable. I don't struggle and maybe that's the key. I accept me for the shape that I have and love who I am. That self-confidence radiates outwards and has assisted more people than my weight ever turned away.

A very well respected health nurse in this community who works in the schools is very thin and tall. She's had more adults talk about her than anyone ever spoke of me with my weight. They constantly state that she's battling eating disorders, that she shouldn't teach children nutrition since she starves herself etc. It's her body shape, it's natural and at the beginning it really bothered her. My mother was her strongest allie, as were the other nurses. Now over a decade later that talk is done, she is very well respected and while there will always be occasional gossip, she is seen as healthy.

So it doesn't matter what end of the scale one is on, if you are different from the crowd, you will be noticed and what is most important is to be strong in self as that'll teach far more than losing weight. (or in my friend's case, gain weight)

ALEX68 Posts: 5
1/3/09 1:59 A

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I know this is a old post but i just wanted to thank everyone for you thoughts......I am 220 and have thought about this very thing for many years.
I work with Teens as a high school counsellor and often wonder what they think about me being heavy. i wonder about my credibility when I encourage them to make changes in their lives when I haven't gotten control of my own issues. I also think that being overweight is different than some of the other issues that we as counsellors and humans struggle with because everyone can SEE our struggle. I am new to this site but hope to hear more from you all over the months and Happy New Year everyone!

PANDORALSU's Photo PANDORALSU Posts: 130
11/17/08 12:36 P

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Aron - You are so right. Actually, I find that our clients expect for us to have made mistakes in our lives, else we wouldn't understand the complications which bring them to us. No one is perfect, and no one should expect anyone to be perfect. I think we all share personal struggles and wisdom in having survived to become counselors through surviving our own personal difficulties. We all bring our own wisdom and self knowledge to each session. Thanks for adding your experience to our group!

A pessimist has no motor, an optimist has no breaks!


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11/11/08 2:30 P

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Aron, terrific insight, thank-you for sharing.

FIGHTERCHICK32's Photo FIGHTERCHICK32 Posts: 2,537
11/11/08 12:42 P

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Good Morning:

Just wanted to add my thoughts here. I am in the counseling field, and received my Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2005. So, I'm still learning. I personally believe that therapists/counselors do not have to be perfect, and that our clients do not expect perfection. If they do, I am in BIG trouble. I also believe that our own personal struggles help us to be better therapists. For example, I've struggled with several issues for years, including depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, and other issues. But, I've been responsible. I personally am in therapy with a wonderful therapist and I'm on medication. The result has been that I am a better therapist. I'm taking care of myself so that I can help my clients. Guess what? My own therapist isn't perfect either(no offense K, if you happen to be reading this). She's human, and I'm assuming she has her own struggles. But, that's probably what makes her such a GREAT therapist. Our clients don't what perfection, they what a HUMAN who is compassionate and understanding.

Take care everybody!

Aron

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PANDORALSU's Photo PANDORALSU Posts: 130
11/5/08 5:04 P

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As the administrator of this SparkTeam, I apologize for my absence. I created this group with the intention that professional counselors would act professionally and support each other, not make assumptions about one's ability to be an effective counselor.
Though the questions posed here are suppose to be "sticky topics" I ask that you all act professionally and not individually attack someone's personal issues. The most likely answer to this current question, Lana, is that if a counselor has struggled with their weight, their weight problem is most like not an issue related to the stress of their job but rather a personal issue and pre-existing struggle in their relationship with food.
Please use your best judgment in posting comments here, we are suppose to be here for support of one another, not attack each other's professional identity.
I ask that you all refrain from sending people emails off the board when there is a conflict on the boards. This is seen, in my eyes, as harassment. Drop it and contact me at my personal email nanettemwilson@gmail.com so that I can address the issue.

Best,
Nanette

A pessimist has no motor, an optimist has no breaks!


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LANAG39's Photo LANAG39 Posts: 198
10/30/08 2:37 A

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I checked out some of the posts and it looks like a lot of people connect the two. Do you think the stress inherent in helping people with their problems every day (especially heavy duty stuff like marital/child abuse, drug dependence, etc) contribute to counselors weight issues? If so, how do you combat it?

In the end, what does it all mean? Everything!


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LANAG39's Photo LANAG39 Posts: 198
10/24/08 4:48 A

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Unfortunately, I don't have time to read every post. But I agree, let's let it go.

Lana

Edited by: LANAG39 at: 10/24/2008 (05:11)
In the end, what does it all mean? Everything!


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
10/24/08 2:28 A

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Lana, I have read your post. You state that you didn't read my post about the issue regarding disease and weight - it is on this board.

We appear to have different belief systems. I also suspect that we work with different clientelle, in very different regions. Also, based on your posts, we come from very different education backgrounds. All that will play into differences in opinions regarding this subject.

As I mentioned before, I agree to let it go and its simply differences in perception, leave it at that.

LANAG39's Photo LANAG39 Posts: 198
10/24/08 1:42 A

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Please go back and read my response again. I didn't say you were closed minded. I said an outright dismissal of the idea doesn't sound very open minded. I didn't use the term closed minded at all b/c I don't believe people are close minded but again, that's another discussion. :-) I also used the term sound--doesn't sound. I'm really surprised you don't see the difference.

I also didn't tell you to watch being a hypocrite. If I recall, I used the term we and us concerning perception and responsibility. Not even considering a client's perception is like burying your head in the sand. What would be the point? You also have to take into consideration my first post. They go hand-in-hand. The question was asked in one of my grad classes: Would you see a therapist who has been divorced 3 times for marriage counseling? We all said no. Why? Perception. They don't know how to make a marriage work so how can they tell us? The individual may feel that every divorce made him/her a better person and s/he is now doing great in the 4th marriage. But it was our perception that mattered b/c it's our choice. Do you see the difference in what I'm saying and what you heard?

I didn't see your post about your diseases but unless the disease is manifesting itself physically (other than weight gain) or the client knows you have diseases, it's still perception. Are these perceptions accurate? Are they right to make perceptions? It doesn't matter b/c humans do. It's how we decide as counselors to deal with perceptions that matter, an outright dismissal is not the path I'd choose but everyone is different. God bless.

Please reread both of my posts. The first one was not directed to you yet I'm saying the same thing--I'm looking at this from the client's perspective.

Lana

Edited by: LANAG39 at: 10/24/2008 (01:46)
In the end, what does it all mean? Everything!


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
10/23/08 11:18 P

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Lana, I struggled with how to respond to your post because how can I not take it as a personal attack? You mentioned that I was close-minded, that I have to watch being a hypocrite, that I have to be a better person than my clients etc.

I started off this board by stating that my weight is a side effect of multiple diseases. My ability to lose the weight is affected by disease. For me, it is far more important that I convey self-acceptance, a solid sense of self and compassion, then weight. My focus on health - both emotional and physical - comes through when I meet with the children, youth and adults.

I also believe that you don't mean it the harsh way that it comes across. Or at least, that's what I want to believe, based on your comments it wasn't meant as a personal attack.

I will end by stating that it appears we'll have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
10/23/08 10:50 P

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.

Edited by: CD1389378 at: 10/23/2008 (23:04)
LANAG39's Photo LANAG39 Posts: 198
10/21/08 3:44 A

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I disagree with the use of the term judging by counselors but that's another discussion. :-) We are all imperfect but that doesn't mean people don't have expectations. Clients expect counselors to be a little ahead of the game or why bother to seek out their knowledge and wisdom? Not to mention, pay for it. But not only that, we have a responsibility to be ahead of the game. I'm not sure any of us really want to be perfect but we do want to be better and that's okay. Will any of us suddenly be a better counselor if we lose 20, 30, 50 pounds, maybe, maybe not. But an outright dismissal of the idea doesn't seem very open minded. Why should a client be more open minded than you?

But please don't see this as a personal attack against you. Probably everyone's belief will be based on their experiences. I've worked with kids and teens for 20 yrs and I know the quickest way to lose them is any hint of hypocrisy--not walking the talk. If I tell them not to drink sodas b/c of the sugar and they see me drinking one, guess what? They won't hear me the next time I tell them that--and they'll drink soda.

Lana

In the end, what does it all mean? Everything!


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
10/20/08 10:27 A

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I also want to add that there are many things that a client could and do judge me on.

My ethic background, the fact that I'm white in an area that is predominant First Nations people. That I hold a job and am "wealthy" in an area where poverty is norm. That I'm so-called "middle class." That I'm educated in an area where many haven't completed high school. That I'm not from an original white family who settled in this area. That I'm not the right religion, in an area that is thick Bible belt. That I'm a woman. That I'm single. That I don't have children - that one comes up all the time.

I can't control what others "hear" in their own minds and the judgements they call. All I can do is my job and being overweight, in my opinion, really is such a small barrier compared to the bigger ones - in this area, mainly being "middle-class" white woman.

Edited by: CD1389378 at: 10/20/2008 (10:27)
CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
10/20/08 9:51 A

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I am imperfect. We as human beings are imperfect. I am an excellent counsellor. It doesn't matter if a client judges me, I teach compassion and empathy. I've had non-judgemental clients and those who will use whatever means to avoid taking ownership and responsiblity.

I've had clients look at me and say that they have so much respect and hope because I work in this field and look good "for someone who is overweight." For those teens who are looking at getting healthy and losing weight, I focus on self-esteem, healthy nutrition plan and balance exercise. It's all how you approach the situation.

In all my years, the only ones that have made my weight an issue are ones who are filled with anger and attack everyone, as a means to survive in the world. And those tend to be the adults.

The majority could care less.

I will remain impefect and will continue to teach this to my clients - that as human beings we are imperfect. Thank goodness for that.

In the 30yrs or so that I've worked, I've ran into many types of people - some judge, some avoid, some run, some deal with things head on and some are the most compassionate non-judgemental people you'll meet. What I look like physically will not change how I deal with these people nor will it change how they deal with me. If they can't hear me because of my weight, then there are many other issues that need to be dealt with and the first - at least in my experience.

I remember one father telling his son that I was too fat to know anything. His son came in and told me. We had a long conversation on this (on many different levels) and by the end of it, the son (under 12) had a whole different perspective on this issue. Plus, it moved into other aspects of his life - as he was a mean bully - and he became kinder to his peers.

I am imperfect and my outer appearance is only a tip of who I am and how I work. Being thin won't change my skills or my approach nor will it really change how my clients work with me. If anything, at least I don't have the issue that a coworker had - she had the fathers salivating over her and that was a whole other issue!





LANAG39's Photo LANAG39 Posts: 198
10/20/08 4:25 A

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I try to look at it from the client's viewpoint. I remember sitting across from an overweight doctor who was huffing like he'd run a mile and I just thought what can he say to anyone about taking care of their bodies? I couldn't hear him. And after 2.5 yrs in my master's program many of us were so sick of professors who told us not to judge the client while they were the most judgmental people I'd ever met. No one could hear them. For me it's not about how I feel, it's the client's perception. If s/he comes to counseling to arrest their weight issues, for example, and the counselor is overweight, they may not be able to "hear" us.

Lana

Edited by: LANAG39 at: 10/20/2008 (04:27)
In the end, what does it all mean? Everything!


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TAWANDA75's Photo TAWANDA75 Posts: 271
10/14/08 9:08 A

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I believe that losing weight will make me a better therapist due to keeping me accountable to bieng healhty. As therapist, we ask our client's to be accountable.

There a blessing in each day, sometimes you just have to search for it.


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
7/24/08 3:48 P

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I have been this weight for many many years because of health issues. The weight was a symptom, not the actual issue, so losing the weight is simply a sign that my health is returning.

My confidence level wasn't hooked with my weight, it was hooked with many other issues. I dealt with those issues and my confidence soared. My weight remained heavy.

I personally don't align weight with my ability to be an effective counsellor. If anything, I've shown children that you can be solid in self, no matter how your body looks.

REDNECKFEMINIST's Photo REDNECKFEMINIST Posts: 19,281
7/22/08 7:47 P

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It may help with self-confidence, but I do not believe they are connected.

Trishwitch

No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.
Barbara De Angelis

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JAMIEGEORGETTE's Photo JAMIEGEORGETTE Posts: 460
5/22/08 1:34 P

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I think loosing weight makes a person more confiendent in any position they hold. As a counselor, confidence encourages more positivity which is expressed to others that one is trying to assist.

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HOT_G_GIRL's Photo HOT_G_GIRL Posts: 7,788
4/28/08 9:06 A

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Even though I have only lost a pound so far, my new healthy habits have improved who I am as a counselor. I have a lot of energy and a lot more confidence in myself. Eating healthy food makes me feel better in general than junk food ever did. When I ate junk food, I felt sick and fat and bloated. I feel much lighter eating better foods.

"Eat to live, don't live to eat!"

"Know your limits...but never stop trying to exceed them."

"Self-love is the only weight-loss aid that works in the long run."


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DARKNESS2NIGHT's Photo DARKNESS2NIGHT Posts: 722
2/28/08 9:57 P

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I think it may help boost your confidence level, especially in those tough times working wtih individuals.

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SAYRAH-M's Photo SAYRAH-M SparkPoints: (0)
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2/8/08 12:20 P

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Great conversation. I think being on the road to health makes you better at everything you do. It makes sense and it makes thinking and moving and being better. Did I mention breathing?

SAYRAH for me. Sarah aka Sally
The true test of emotional and mental health is the ability to learn from one's mistakes and change one's behavior. All else is reflex.

Charter Member of Members Motivating Members
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MELOMOORE's Photo MELOMOORE Posts: 314
1/21/08 2:11 P

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Congrats on that test. I have my test coming up, I hope this summer. I am in the final stages of completing my contact hours and supervision for the LCSW (Licensed Clincal Social Worker). I can not take the test until the hours are complete. Right now I am working as the Director of Counseling at a boarding school, however I am not a school counselor. There are other people that perform most of the "guidance counselor" roles. I simply counselor the kids on any emotional issues.

In my experience in working with kids it is important to stay relevant. I have found that when I feel the most confident about my own health and lifestyle choices I do a better job at relating to them and their issues. I know that even though I am still a ways away from my goal I feel so much better about myself for simply making better choices about eating and exercise. I would feel guilty counseling them on making positive choices when I have not taken those steps in my own life.

You were created the way you are for a reason. Stop beating yourself up for being you.


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JOULETEP's Photo JOULETEP Posts: 1,312
11/16/07 4:22 P

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SASSI800 - you're absolutely right!

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
- Anonymous


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
11/16/07 1:35 P

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What I'm hearing you both talk about is health. Feeling healthy, alert, energetic, solid in self and balanced. That is a separate issue from weight. A person can be heavier than standard charts and be extremely healthy, be energetic, be focused and solid in self. A heavier person can still be taking in the proper nutrients that provide balance and health. That's how it is for me. I am heavy and right now, I'm out of balance because of medical issues unrelated to weight. I'm working on that issue and as it comes back into normal range, I feel more alert and energetic. I have been known to out walk slim (supposedly healthy) people, been able to outdo slim people and been healthier than some slim people.

I understand how weight is a symptom of something gone astray in the body, however, in my opinion, it's not the weight that holds a person back it's the lack of health that does it.

JOULETEP's Photo JOULETEP Posts: 1,312
11/16/07 6:03 A

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That's awesome PANDORALSU! Isn't it amazing how just giving your body the nutrients it needs makes you feel balanced and healthy. I'm so grateful that I found this site. I didn't need to lose that much but it has been a struggle for several years. I tried south beach, weight watchers, a nutritionist...nothing worked. This did. I used to be in the Air Force so health and staying in my military weight range is important to me.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
- Anonymous


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PANDORALSU's Photo PANDORALSU Posts: 130
11/15/07 5:44 P

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I agree! I am more confident in myself all around, I have more energy, and I'm definitely paying more attention to details. I'm eating healthy, so my mind isn't in a "carb fog" or sugar high.

A pessimist has no motor, an optimist has no breaks!


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JOULETEP's Photo JOULETEP Posts: 1,312
11/15/07 4:33 P

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I just joined this group today. I'm a middle school guidance counselor and I just lost over 20 pounds. I think it's affected everything about me. I feel happier, have more energy, and feel I'm better at everything I do.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
- Anonymous


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
11/11/07 5:51 P

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*laughing* sorry, I meant in Canada and specifically northern BC. :)

PANDORALSU's Photo PANDORALSU Posts: 130
11/10/07 3:53 P

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That leads me to ask.... Where is up here?

A pessimist has no motor, an optimist has no breaks!


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
11/10/07 3:40 P

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Tks for the explanatino Pandora because I think things are different up here than down there. Congrats on passing that!!!

I understand what you are saying about not feeling competent enough and it is good that you referred out to others. I believe that is so important that if one doesn't feel that one is able to do the best for the client, to refer to another counsellor.

PANDORALSU's Photo PANDORALSU Posts: 130
11/10/07 8:50 A

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NCE is National Counselor Exam. When passed the credential is NCC (National Certified Counselor.)

I agree about using your experience to disclose just enough to make them understand that you have lived as well.

Having counseled on a college campus and having had clients there who struggle from a range of eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, and obesity, sometimes I have referred the client to another clinician because it is not in my scope of competencies. Though, now that I am having more success with my own program, I feel like I will be able to develop better competencies to work with this area.

A pessimist has no motor, an optimist has no breaks!


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CD1389378 Posts: 12,567
11/10/07 12:51 A

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What is NCE?

No, losing weight will not change how I counsel. If anything, I've taught both parents and children and teens how to accept others who are not "perfect." I've had teens open to talking to me about weight issues - whether too little or too much - because they can see that it is something I deal with.

I've had little kids go "gosh you are fat" and I go "yup, I am." Kids are kids, they don't know that they are to censor. It usually leds to more questions and we end up having a conversation on tolerance, respect and acceptance.

I do very active things with the kids, like the playground, walks, hikes, playing and such. I can sit in a swing and swing with them.

To be honest, the auto-immune diseases create more barriers than the weight and even if I lose all the weight, I'll still be dealing with the diseases.

By the way, almost all the kids and teens believe I'm in my thirties. I recently had one say I'm probably 40. (I'm 45)

So I think that I'm doing pretty good when the kids see me as younger than my age due to how I look and my attitude on life. :)

As for personal struggles, such as experiencing abuse (both as a teen and later, surviour of domestic violence) and work harrassement etc - those have strengthened me as a counsellor. I worked hard in therapy and on my own to move through issues, to the place I am now. I use my personal life in a way that is not fully disclosing but enough (when appropriate) that kids, teens and parents understand that I've been there, get that. It also helps me to know the "inside" story (so to speak) so that I can recognize signs (and hidden stuff) earlier than someone who either has never experienced struggles or hasn't worked through their own struggles.

How do you feel about this?

PANDORALSU's Photo PANDORALSU Posts: 130
11/9/07 5:08 P

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How do you feel about this topic? At first, I was hesitant to post it because I know as well as the rest of you that no one is infallible, but do you feel your personal struggles prohibit you from being a better counselor?

(BTW, I passed the NCE today! Woohoo, now the long road to licensure....)

A pessimist has no motor, an optimist has no breaks!


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