Counselling and Psychotherapy for
Body, Mind and Spirit

Ina Stockhausen, MTC

Ina Stockhausen R.P.C. offers spiritual counselling and body psychotherapy or somatic counseling in Burnaby and North Vancouver.

The Voice

Many years ago, when I was training in Dance Movement Therapy and Ritual Theater, at some point during the exercises I would find myself overwhelmed with feelings. At the time, that felt scary and “not good enough” and a typical reaction was to tell myself that I had to “get a grip.”

How often do you tell someone in your life…yourself perhaps… to get a grip?  To get it together?

Other versions of this are “What’s the matter with you?”

Because really and truly, what is the matter with you? Why are you unhappy or depressed or feeling anxious? Why are you unsatisfied with your life? You have no reason. You have a good life, a good partner, a job and a roof over your head. Think about all the people on this planet who are so much worse off than you are.

It doesn’t make sense!!

If this type of inner dialogue sounds familiar, then you also know that these kinds of thoughts and feelings are very unsettling. If like many, you manage uncomfortable or painful feelings thru emotional eating, you might find yourself standing in front of the fridge or cupboard looking for that special treat which will make you feel better.

But what if it did make sense? What if there was NO thing wrong with you?

What if you were able to stop, breathe and stop censuring yourself?

If you were to allow yourself to sit in authenticity, your feelings surfacing without judgment?

What would happen?

You could find a gateway to your true self. You would be able to still the longings that have somehow gotten on the “forbidden” list.

You would not have to go looking for food again and again until you decide to punish yourself with a diet.

Three things are needed for the process of “allowing it to make sense.”

You need to let go of shame and find your courage so you can cultivate self-compassion.

If you can embody who you already are rather than trying to be something you’re not, you’re on your way to uncovering compassion.

Be present with yourself and trust your knowing.
Accept the awareness of your feelings and allow them to be good enough, to be perfect just the way they are.

That is your first step towards letting go of shame and practicing self-compassion.

Initially, this place of authenticity can be scary and uncomfortable, because the old voices in your head telling you that your feelings don’t make sense and you should “get a grip” do not disappear quietly. However, a practice of mindfulness and loving kindness towards what defines you in this moment will allow you to linger more often and for longer periods of time in your place of truthfulness.

Remember, authenticity is not a quality, it is a collection of choices that you make every day and every moment. The more you can love yourself and who you are, the less you will need to turn to food to stuff down how you really feel.


This in turn will allow you to heal your relationship with food and your body and break free from the pursuit of weight loss thru yo-yo dieting.

I leave you with a quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

“What if the question is not why I am so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?”


Eating Disorders Therapist North Vancouver, Counselling Burnaby

Gimme, gimme, gimme my toy … teaching your child stress tolerance can be more labor intensive than saying yes and an important part of her/his development.

I recently sat in a coffee shop beside a mother with two young toddlers.
Mom was chatting with a friend and the toddlers were happy to be kept occupied with a cartoon they were watching on Mom’s iPhone.

Only moments before, Mom’s friend had wanted to see the iPhone. When Mom had handed her the phone, one child immediately grew restless. She said to her friend: “You better give it back, because Jimmy (fictitious name) gets impatient quickly.” And in fact, he almost immediately started wailing “Gimme, gimme, gimme…”

I’m relating this incident not to criticize the mother or her children. But it made me wonder if today’s children will have lower stress tolerance when they are adults than previous generations.

How will they learn to be present in the moment with themselves and their thoughts if they are constantly entertained, soothed and distracted?
How will they learn, if so many of us as adults are not able to model stress tolerance?

We live in a world of instant gratification. Fast food, fast service… for many wanting something means wanting it now. We live stressed lives, constantly on the clock.

I regularly hear my clients share how overwhelmed they feel. A full time job, children, a mortgage, regular sex with a partner, exercise, home cooked meals, soccer practices, ballet classes, continuing education…the list is endless.

In order to cope, many shut down or cut themselves off from their body. Depending on the situation, they give up, get angry or irritable or try to escape.

Escape can sometimes be as close as the next drive thru at Tim Hortons or a trip to the fridge. Emotional eating is often an attempt to escape from uncomfortable feelings and what Geneen Roth is calling “The Voice” in her latest book “Women, Food and God.”

“The Voice” running in your head telling you that you’re supposed to be a perfect parent, partner and employee. And it doesn’t stop here, often it also tells you that you should be slim, trim and fit (let’s not forget sexy).

Because if you’re not thin… then you’re already failing. You are already not good enough.

And so the vicious cycle starts. Unbearable feelings and demands that are overwhelming. Standards, which are impossible to reach.
We need a quick fix, because there is so much to do. Here’s a drink. Have a smoke. Go shopping. Eat this fabulous food… and you will be as happy as the people you see in the commercials. The beautiful people who are having fun and coping with life with a smile on their face.

Learning to develop healthy coping mechanisms to the stressors of life is a first step to heal emotional eating or other forms of addiction. People who have an emotional relationship with food and a low mood tolerance often resort to binge eating, vomiting, or excessive exercising to get relief from intense feelings.

It takes energy and patience to sit through children’s “growing stages” and temper tantrums while they learn to wait and self-soothe.

Don’t forget to breathe and tune in with what is happening for you in those moments. Acknowledge your feelings to yourself and acknowledge your child’s feelings. Yes, it is hard to wait and feel uncomfortable. But the more we learn to breathe and self-soothe, the less uncomfortable we are.

I invite you to check out Sarah Zeldman’s , free ‘Stress-Relief-Kit-for-Moms’.

If you are a stressed parent, giving yourself permission to relax, unwind and recharge in a healthy way, allows you to take better care of yourself and consequently your family.

Furthermore, you will be modeling and teaching your children how to develop a higher tolerance to stress without resorting to unhealthy or addictive behavior.