Message from Dr B. (Linda Paulk Buchanan): The last couple of weeks I’ve been writing about how our early beliefs affect our lives and cause ambivalence. If you have beliefs that make it difficult to create the life that you wish for, you may have developed symptoms such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse or eating disorders, just to name a few. I believe that most people’s thoughts, feelings, habits and behaviors make sense no matter how dysfunctional they seem in the moment. I often tell my clients that they make sense and that as we work together they will learn why their behaviors make sense. We use the concept at Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders of respecting the symptom, quite a feat when you consider that eating disorders result in more fatalities than all other mental disorders. This does not mean that we are advocating the choice to use the symptom, but rather to study the symptom and the surrounding urges, thoughts, and feelings in an effort to learn from them. Thus the symptom can tell us where the “ouch” is. When you find yourself doing something that you later regret, see if you can determine how it makes sense in light of ambivalence.
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