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Body image is something that most of us will struggle with at some point in our lives, but it doesn’t have to be. We can all work towards improving our relationship with food and our bodies, regardless of what causes our struggles.
Bethany MacGillivray joins Barb on Therapy Talks to discuss the Mind-Body Connection and how it can be an important part of making peace with our bodies. Barb and Bethany also explore Art Therapy as a tool for managing anxiety and practicing self-compassion.
Bethany MacGillivray is a Registered Clinical Counselor and Professional Art Therapist of Soul-body-centered, positive psychology and mindfulness approach, specializing in body image, disordered eating, self-compassion, and empowerment.
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Disclaimer: Therapy Talks does NOT provide medical services or professional counseling, and it is NOT a substitute for professional medical care.
[00:00:00] Barb Egan: Hi everybody. It's Barb Egan with therapy talks and on today's show, we have Bethany McGillivray. Who's a registered clinical counselor from port moody, British Columbia, and she is a professional art therapist who also specializes in disordered eating body image and using somatic techniques to connect the mind and body
[00:00:30] well, Bethany, thank you for joining us today. And can you tell us a little bit about where you're from? What you like to do, areas of therapy you work in and just a little bit about.
[00:00:42] Bethany McGillivray: Absolutely. As I said, I'm like really excited to be here. Very honored with this experience. My name is Miguel free and I am a registered counselor and art therapist in port moody, British Columbia, which is just outside of Vancouver, BC.
[00:00:58] So I'm in the lower mainland area. [00:01:00] And I have a private practice here. I practice online and in-person in this space and I actually also have a martial arts studio with my husband in the space next to us. So we have a beautiful Gracie jiu-jitsu gym here as well. So it's neat to be able to do both of those things in this space and being able to empower people in this moment together from practice.
[00:01:24] Yeah, for my practice, I specialize our work mostly with body image, embodiments disordered eating anxiety, and just really looking within the space of individuals who are looking to connect with themselves and just get into that deeper level of understanding, knowing when you're in that moment of just
[00:01:45] Barb Egan: yeah, wow. Such important topics. I'm so excited to have someone share on that today. So thank you. And to have a fellow British Colombian therapist on, we have so many American and I'm American, but I am in [00:02:00] BC now and I was in Vancouver for years. I'm in Colona. So not too far away from you now. So that's so exciting.
[00:02:06] That's really awesome. Power connection online. It's such a fantastic thing of just being able to do that. To do these things together and to learn and grow and just continue to build really cool. Definitely. And I bet we'll get into it, but I just want to highlight how awesome it is that some of the areas that you work in saying anxiety, body image, disordered, eating.
[00:02:30] And a jujitsu studio, martial arts studio that you're involved into. I'm excited to hear about that because my background as a hockey player, I'm really elite level athlete and coach professionally. But honestly, the hardest thing I ever did was martial arts. When I was like eight years old.
[00:02:48] My dad was a sports team doctor. I come from a huge athletic family. And he worked on a guy who had fought Chuck Norris, that was like his claim to fame. And he was like, okay, [00:03:00] he did his ankle surgery or something probably cause Chuck Norris smashed it. And so he had this gym, a martial arts gym.
[00:03:08] And so as a thank you, he was like, Hey, your, your daughter can come and take karate lessons. And it was so scary. It was like me. And like all these like big, older men, I was like eight years old and I can still smell the smell of it, like the menthol smell and the mats. And ah, it was like, but that's the first experience of mental toughness that I go back to.
[00:03:34] 'cause if I made it through all my lessons, I got to go to a spice girls concert. And that to this day is one of my favorite concerts ever. And I was so proud of myself. That's fantastic, connected, right? Of going through that, the mental toughness and that goal-oriented getting that safe, the discipline.
[00:03:52] Yeah. But even now as an adult, there's been many times when I'm like, I would like to go back cause I've heard so many good things [00:04:00] about it. Or I work with clients who really find jujitsu really powerful for them. Even if it's like self-defense or very empowering. And I just see, I think I'd have such a greater appreciation for that now. And so I'm really excited to hear about that as well.
[00:04:16] Bethany McGillivray: oh yeah. It's such a beautiful connection again, because so much of it is to do with the body and movement. And I was too Jitsu was about being close sometimes and being in that space where you're in those uncomfortable positions and how to get out of them safely or how to get into that space and to move your body in ways and using leverage and momentum and as well as.
[00:04:40] Being for people that were smaller and considered more weak, in those spaces. And so it's this martial art that developed to really be that self-defense place. And I love how empowering it is to, and awareness like body space and awareness and then yeah. Being in those moments and connection, and it's [00:05:00] been the.
[00:05:01] Fantastic journey is including that. And to really learn more about myself and to be able to share that with others has been such a beautiful place. And we've been building in port moody and this community here for the last, almost a year, coming into a pandemic of opening up a martial arts school of close contact.
[00:05:20] It's a very. A lot of people were wondering what we were doing, but, we had our vision and my husband and I have been really loved building it here and being such a beautiful part of that community. Oh, that's amazing. Wow. Wow. And so some of the areas of therapy that you like to work in, you said.
[00:05:40] Barb Egan: Sorted eating. What does that mean for our listeners? What they might've heard of an eating disorder, like anorexia bulemia those sorts of things, but can you explain what is disordered?
[00:05:53] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. There's, there's quite a spectrum when it comes into that space. And I always find it a really [00:06:00] interesting distinction when you can have an eating disorder and have more of that diagnosis than that from a lot pathological side of it.
[00:06:06] But with disordered eating, there's such a spectrum of patterns that a lot of people end up touching upon and not even realizing it with these different habits that we can get into these thought processes. Restriction, these rules that we get around food that has been brought into us so many levels that can really just come out in different ways.
[00:06:28] And so it's looking at that spectrum of, how you can connect, noticing where that is. So it's just a really broad range of just having to just a really complicated sometimes relationship with food. And it's just such an interesting thing because it's. And necessity for life we have to eat.
[00:06:45] So it's such a conflicting space to be in where we sometimes have these struggles with, trying to look a certain way, be a certain way, control the things that it's one of these base core instincts at the same time. So it really can read a lot of [00:07:00] very interesting conversations and challenges that we can have.
[00:07:05] Barb Egan: Wow. Yeah, you're right. It's something that we all need. We all need food. It's not like we can just avoid it. Hey, this is triggering me. I'm just not getting. Eat for the rest of my life, or look at it or smell it or be around it. What are some examples or some, common areas that disordered eating may show up with the people that you walk with and support.
[00:07:26] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. So I find that it's a very interesting conversation that I work with individuals. And even if it isn't the thing that we touch upon it is, one of those things that you go through, like, how are you sleeping? What is your body movement like? And how is your you're eating? Basic conversations.
[00:07:42] And so a lot of people will notice that you end up getting so focused on your time. So we know, for example, if you're very busy, that's the first thing a lot of times to go is our eating patentable push it. It's oh, I don't have time to grab food, or I don't have time to do this, or I don't.
[00:07:57] And you just start. Really [00:08:00] shift the way that we look at food and what we're using is fueling for our bodies. And so there's this kind of idea between those two spaces. And often when we get into being very anxious or when we're looking for areas that seem out of control in our lives, that is one place that we'll come back to is okay I'm going to start to change this.
[00:08:20] I'm going to restrict my meals. I'm going to have less calories. I'm going to count. And we just start to find this way that. Oftentimes we'll move into food is being some way of trying to find a sense of control in our lives when we don't have control in some other areas. That is such a great point.
[00:08:38] Barb Egan: Yeah. Yeah. I often see that when I work with people and I think I've absolutely experienced that in my life as well is when I'm feeling out of control. Here's a way I can make this pseudo sense of controller, put some sense of control in my life, whether it's through exercise again, as. Elite level athlete and going through all [00:09:00] the weight or BMI or all the testing.
[00:09:02] There's a lot of that really prevalent of the restricting or the over-exercising the obsessiveness almost about it. And that is just draining. And often I can see that coming out in my life when I'm feeling out of control. Oh, here's something I can control and that's that fine line. And I think a lot of work of making exercise really healthy and it release which it is now for me, but in that journey of that's a big, one of that restriction of what I'm eating and especially in our culture, it's here's the new.
[00:09:35] I think that's good for you, go vegan or keto or, like it's, there's a lot of messages out there on that can be overwhelming just in and of itself so that you want to be healthy, especially on the west coast where we are in British Columbia. Like people want to be healthy.
[00:09:49] They're outside. They want to move. They want to exercise. They want to be active. It's a, it's just that lifestyle. And so even within that, I see it with people who strive for just a [00:10:00] healthy, active lifestyle of what constitutes that what's that good relationship. So when someone comes in to see you How do you identify?
[00:10:10] Maybe they don't even know, Hey, I'm coming in with disordered eating today. How do you start to ask those good questions like you did of, what's your sleep like? What's your eating? Like, how do you move your body? How do you move into that? To what are some signs that may show you? Hey, there's some disordered eating or a tense relationship with food going on here.
[00:10:31] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. That's a really great segue into is like health, the word, everyone defines that differently, and that's something that I noticed as a way that when I'm speaking with somebody that they'll use that language being like, I just want to be healthy or I'm doing this to be healthy. What does healthy mean to you?
[00:10:48] Because there is such a different way of looking at it. And sometimes when you actually sit down and ask that question, They're like, wait what does that mean to me? And it's eating this or do moving my body a certain way. And then it is a really [00:11:00] great question and a place to start at as to what that definition for themselves is and how you can start to see from that moment of how they define it, what things they're looking for to come in.
[00:11:11] The space of what healthy is and then what that term can be, how they're achieving it and how sometimes those patterns can come in, where it's is that what health means? Is it about what you look like? Is it about how you feel, is about what you're seeing and other people. Is it what you've heard, it's supposed to be, all the, should start coming out into this place where it's yeah healthy is looking a certain way.
[00:11:35] Being able to do this, being able to have all these precursors that we can start to get into this place that people will start to spout off when you're like, but what does that mean to you? Or how do you achieve that? And sometimes we don't even realize. That there's a big disconnect between those things.
[00:11:50] And so that's a place where we can start to build that conversation around, what does that look like to you? And just some of the languaging is so important about how that connection [00:12:00] can really happen. And we will then in turn, look into this compassionate place. Self-compassion is such a huge part of that connection.
[00:12:08] And when you say self-compassion because that is such a powerful tool and strategy, and sometimes it can, someone may have heard of that. I love Dr. Neff's work in self-compassion. What do you do? How do you incorporate self-compassion? When working with someone well, it's in those moments of having those conversations when language does come out with the should, or I have to do these things in this harsh kind of tone, where we start to speak to ourselves.
[00:12:37] When you just take that pause and start to notice, You can ask them, like what would you say to a friend or is that how you would speak to somebody else or to a child? And when you start to notice the way that we speak to each other, sometimes being compassionate to ourselves is hard.
[00:12:50] Know, it's I can give that compassion to you. No problem. Like I would never speak to you that way, right? With me, it's different in that we have this idea that this internal dialogue of this [00:13:00] harshness that we can have. And so it's sometimes looking at it from how to talk to somebody. And being able to start to shift through that lens and recognize how, we have to look at our language and have that little bit of softness or is it okay to just be a little bit back to off?
[00:13:16] Or is it okay to just have a little bit of softness in that language? And it's a step-by-step process. It's not like flipping that switch on, which can be so scary. And so sometimes, looking at ourselves can be a bit challenging. So it's by looking at another person and slowly starting to bring it back towards ourselves.
[00:13:34] Barb Egan: So what would that look like? What's an example of that to just even go a little softer.
[00:13:40] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah, absolutely. So it's sitting in some of the language of, I tried, the best that I can today or my body just needs to have a rest. It's I feel like I'm pushing because I'm so tired.
[00:13:51] Like I'm doing all these things. I have all this information, all these different things I'm doing today, all this to-do list. And then just all of these things coming together, [00:14:00] Can we just take us a step back and just realize I can't do it all with anybody else, be able to do it all.
[00:14:06] It's okay. If I wait till tomorrow and just starting to soften some of the language of, okay. Noticing, sitting with it, oftentimes even placing your hands on your body can be a helpful place and breathing and what am I noticing right now when that comes up? So when I get into that space of all those, to-dos all those sheds, all those places.
[00:14:30] Sometimes that compassion is just a gentle touch and just a reminder and a breath like this, taking whatever the breath looks like to you today, there's no guidance of it being a square control. That's like just a breath. It'd be shallow. And just taking a pause. And then moving into. Okay. How are some ways to get into that next space?
[00:14:52] So it's just simple, small steps where it's just noticing, practicing that, noticing [00:15:00] that awareness. And I'm noticing I'm having this feeling where I'm noticing this sensation.
[00:15:06] Barb Egan: Yeah, that, that brings such a mind body connection, just noticing, and especially in our culture where it says go, or those should be in our head of the to-do list.
[00:15:18] And the time crunch, like you said, that can be a trigger to, for restricting or any of these types of more intrusive type thoughts. Wow, just to pause and notice and to put that grounding pressure on your body, have a hand in a deep breath. That's so powerful.
[00:15:35] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. And that's something that, we can try to think of all those different ways of connecting in that internal resource that we have within ourselves.
[00:15:44] And that pause is so important and we can do that. We can go to the bathroom and do that, or we're in the car or. That's right. We just take that breath and just gently placing the hands on ourselves and just noticing what does that feel like on the outside, that [00:16:00] tactile sensation, bringing into those moments, bringing into that.
[00:16:04] Bringing into the body. And that's how we slowly come into the body of that space and that comfort because when we start to notice what's going on, we get so connected up here in our heads and we get so disconnected from what's going on below the neck in so many ways, which is really that space. That's so much information is in there.
[00:16:25] And so sometimes just placing our hands in that. Can we do that to children? We like rubbed the back, when there can we suit ourselves that way, right?
[00:16:34] Barb Egan: Yeah. Oh, I love that. So then what is the correlation? Cause as you're describing a lot of this, the sheds, I see anxiety style thinking they're too.
[00:16:46] More those negative style thinking, disordered eating or restriction, Adding self-compassion and grounding into that practice of just noticing calming down, I'm doing the best I can. My [00:17:00] body really needed a rest today and I'm choosing to listen to that. My body, I will choose to rest that power of choice.
[00:17:09] How has that all interconnected to body image? Because that is probably a big one.
[00:17:14] Bethany McGillivray: Okay. Yeah, absolutely. And it is getting into that space where, our body images that external. Perception of how we're looking. It's how we are seen by others. So it's already coming from an outside lens. And so shifting to that knowledge and recognizing again, how am I feeling from the inside?
[00:17:35] And so by starting with know the hands on the body, it's like the outside, but connecting to that inside. And so noticing how we're feeling, how we were speaking earlier and the deny about words and feeling words. And so that is such a great place to start with. Like what the word am I feeling right now?
[00:17:54] Be like, sometimes we just don't have that language. And so looking at what are the sensations [00:18:00] that I'm feeling, and I'm noticing that there's a tangling in my abdomen, I'm noticing my breath. It feels tight around my heart. Or that there's like a lump in my throat, or I feel this heaviness in my shoulders.
[00:18:12] And what are those sensations? And getting into that space of, okay. That's what my body is feeling. So what is what will help with that sensation? It's maybe it's just moving, like maybe I just need to move my body a little bit okay. Let's get that mental. Sensation and starting to notice, what am I feeling on that inside space?
[00:18:33] And so with that mind body connection, we start to cultivate more of the knowledge about what's going on in the inside, which can shift into that embodied. And that sends an embodiment and then shifting in that noting of okay, with that body image and that way on the outside. Is that what I think of myself?
[00:18:51] Or is that what I've been told or is that what somebody else is telling me or is that this perception that I actually, in the truest of me, what do I need? Or [00:19:00] what do I want, or how can I move forward from this place from feeling like I can stand tall?
[00:19:06] Barb Egan: I love that. Just noticing it in your body and respond.
[00:19:11] Move it just a slight movement can do that. What if it's difficult to decipher? Is that my voice is that somebody else's, is that the cultural pressure or what I think it should be? How do you help people decipher?
[00:19:27] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. And that's one of those things that can take or take some practice.
[00:19:30] Cause that's always been so loud right in there. So ingrained it's so ingrained. Yeah. There's some beautiful ways to be able to do that in a lot of it is just starting to notice in that space of that when the, when we start to notice these same themes or the same language coming up. Okay. You're saying the word should a lot.
[00:19:50] So when we start to use should in that language, you think you should do that? Where's the shit. A lot of times when we have that language, it's not necessarily what we believe in our core self [00:20:00] it's. Sometimes another. No, like a little bit of a little bell will be like, wait should is interesting.
[00:20:07] It's an interesting word. Where is this should coming from? And then if there's possible in that space of that voice, it's like that voice. Can you pull it out? Can you externalize it? This is when art therapy can be so beautiful of, can you draw it? Can you put it on case? And have conversations in that space, being able to have a different way of dialoguing with it, because we can have these different parts of us that experience and show different things, but it's it's still in there.
[00:20:37] It's still a part of that space, but is this what you really want or is this what you feel is actually in that moment that's right for you? Or is this something that's been placed upon? This is teasing some of those things slightly apart. It's not necessarily polling, but sometimes it just, those we get so knit that it's just pulling a little bit of keys and get that.[00:21:00]
[00:21:00] Barb Egan: I like that image. Yeah. Cause pooling I love that perspective. I love ifs or internal family systems. It's a approach to therapy basically that we have these different parts of ourselves. And when you said we could pull those parts out, that sounds harsh. That sounds like a lot, but just teasing. That sounds so gentle.
[00:21:19] Let's make some space here to look at it and see, where did this first serve up? This protector part of me that comes out or, the defender part of me or whatever. And then. Notify. Let's notice it let's acknowledge it because every time that you've spoken so far, what's come out to me as it has not been, judging your thoughts whatsoever your body, or I can't believe I'm feeling this or shouldn't be feeling it's just noticing it's nonjudgmental awareness to it, which is so crucial in self-compassion, but it's beautiful.
[00:21:54] Like just how you thematically put that in every way that you talk about. [00:22:00] Anything that we've talked about even so far halfway into the podcast it's been, so just nonjudgmental awareness to it, of where you're feeling it in your body, how you're responding, even those thoughts that might be more should it's just awareness.
[00:22:16] And I love that premise of art therapy to get out of your own head. Again, it's i, that teasing or pulling apart to look at it in a different way. And what does that look like? What does art therapy that you utilize? What does that look like?
[00:22:30] Bethany McGillivray: No, absolutely. There's so many beautiful ways of coming into that space.
[00:22:34] And I love, the continuing of it from the different parts of ourselves and the protector and all these different roles that we play. They've all served a purpose and they've gotten us to where we are today. There is they've helped to get us to this moment. And so there is that space of honoring them and recognizing that there is some place that they might need.
[00:22:55] And with art therapy, there's so many different ways to be able to connect with [00:23:00] that. Cause sometimes it's finding the words, like I don't know what that voice is, okay let's just, using the colors in front of you. What color is it? It doesn't have to be as extreme of painting a landscape, it's what color does that voice or that feeling sound like, or that sensation, if you were telling. Make a mark on the page for it. What would that look like? If you were to, give it a name, what would it be? What are some of the things that it needs to incorporate into it and using some of the materials that are in front of you, like adding that into the space, drawing it out, what movement does it have?
[00:23:34] If you like add in your body into it as you're drawing what does that feel like? Does that connect with it differently? And so it's using different sensations and a different form of language to connect in with you without words, language, without words, language, through art language, through the body and giving this different way of connecting and an understanding and just open.
[00:23:57] And there's so many, ways to delve into [00:24:00] that and coming into this idea as well of that self compassion can come this new inner caregiver in your nurturer or your inner cheerleader, there's different ways that we might connect with it. And I always think how important languages that we can identify with this part of us.
[00:24:15] And so it's not just necessarily about pulling the teasing, other things part, it's also about building this other part of ourselves and, what are some of the ways to be able to do it? Is there a way to be able to put it on paper that you can then in turn to get home and put it on your wall and look at this inner caregiver, this inner person to help, to build and support and nourish yourself and put it up.
[00:24:39] Being able to look at it, visualize it, and just continuing to really cultivate that side of yourself.
[00:24:46] Barb Egan: Wow. So what would that look like? Let's say someone comes to you and how do you think. They would be a good fit for art therapy. If that would be a good fit, because I can imagine not everybody is, but how could you gently [00:25:00] get there to recognize, oh, maybe we could try this.
[00:25:03] And what would that. What would those practical examples, or strategies look like of what you would draw? What sometimes? The common things are that they describe what colors they are. They often read. And I know everybody's different, but just as an example for us to conceptualize.
[00:25:21] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah, absolutely. And as I sit in that space before, like sometimes it's as simple as yeah. Picking out there's the markers that are in front of you, which shows a familiar tool that we've had, when we were children or crayons, like using some of the familiar things, if it's a really. New to you where cause art can be very challenging because we often move into that grade seven area where it's suddenly it's taken away from being a core subject and it's a choice.
[00:25:47] And so we stopped to learn to like just express ourselves in that way. So it's finding those familiar things that were a little bit less intimidating. And what does that piece look like? I feel like in the hand. So [00:26:00] a lot of stuff isn't necessarily about what goes onto the page or what it looks like.
[00:26:03] Sometimes it's just about the experience of reconnecting with those materials in front of you. And so yeah, if it were to make a mark on the page, that's a simple way of starting and it could be a line or what would a gesture be that would describe that and then continuing to grow upon it. One of my favorite things I love to do is to draw your.
[00:26:24] And it's just sitting for a few moments with, something in your hands and you're grabbing his breath and just breathing and with your eyes closed for a minute, just guiding through the inhale and exhale. What does that look like? That in that moment, feeling it in your body. Wow. And then looking at it after, what do you see here in the sense of can you embellish it?
[00:26:49] What colors do you want to add to it? And just making it less about what the outcome is, but about the experience of what you're feeling, what does that like? [00:27:00] Yeah. It can be a very interesting way of connecting to space and to some feelings that you know, that we often are not permitted to to live out in everyday life like anger or sadness, that they're in those moments of being able to just have.
[00:27:20] Container of being able to just use those and think way like anger could be all sorts of things and just giving it a place that feels okay to try things out.
[00:27:32] Barb Egan: Wow. What are some for anger and sadness? Cause obviously those are big core emotions or emotions that we all experience. What are some ways people typically described them?
[00:27:42] If it's, red and prickly for anger or black and heavy for sadness, what do you often do? Color is, it is very subjective.
[00:27:51] Bethany McGillivray: It is a very interesting and personal one where we would think that sometimes no black or red would be in these spaces. Cause that's something that we hear [00:28:00] a lot or we talk a lot about, which does come up for sure.
[00:28:03] But people have these different sensations where it's that's the beauty of it, where it's like you have today. And your for me is blue because it's sad as well. I'm actually sad that I'm angry, is there sometimes. Mixed emotions or no, that's just an example of it without placing any ideas upon people's perceptions of, or interpretations of their colors or their experiences, or, really being able to press really hard with a marker and like getting it all out and using those movements or, Circle or a blog as much as it's, you're wanting to be able to share the commonalities with it.
[00:28:37] It's there, it's so fast in that space and, being able to go into those emotions and those movements being able to just have that moment. Being okay to express some of those emotions. Another beautiful one is even just like crumpling up that paper. What does that sound like after you've done it?
[00:28:55] What does that feel like? Like opening and closing it, maybe ripping it slowly, [00:29:00] ripping it past, just allowing these release in a way that is, feels like it's a way that you're able to do. Express yourself because we often think anger can be so destructive and hurtful to somebody else, but it still has invalid feelings exists.
[00:29:18] How is a way of allowing it to come out without it being consuming or without it being shamed or without shutting it down, that feels like you're able to allow its space to exist so that it can get a little bit softer.
[00:29:34] Barb Egan: How do you. Get trained to work in art therapy because this not every therapist does this.
[00:29:41] This is really beautiful and unique. How do you go about doing that? Absolutely. Yeah. So I am like I had a double designation of my master's in counseling psychology and art therapy. So it is art therapy is a full designation.
[00:29:55] Bethany McGillivray: So I have the dual, a dual degree in that. But it is a separate, [00:30:00] distinct.
[00:30:01] Different their certification. And then there's different places around north America and around the world that you can get the certifications. There's a number of locations in BC, for example, that do have that, but it is a very specific training where you learn how to be in the space with somebody.
[00:30:20] While they're sharing their feelings and while they're drawing them out or painting them out or using different ways of being able to express yourself, non-verbally being in those moments of, what materials can really help to elicit certain feelings. What ones are really about helping to feel more controlled, whether some ways of.
[00:30:42] Being able to expand a little bit more. You use a bit more visualization of things, is it about, okay. Imagine something, if you're coming into that space or do you need something more specific? Like here is a circle draw, how you're feeling inside the circle, using all whatever materials are [00:31:00] in.
[00:31:00] Maybe they'll just draw a little star and it's that's it, whatever it is in that moment, it's like really just being able to roll with those places, with what the person in front of you needs and is offering in that moment, being very present and in turn being, do you end up doing art with them as well?
[00:31:17] So it's not just that you're watching them and writing it down. It can feel scary too. It's doodling beside you as well. And sometimes it is just doodling. There are some beautiful ways of connecting and flowing and it's not about being an artist. There are some ways of using art in therapy as the ways that we've discussed or art as therapy, which could be very different, which is, when you go to a clay, a pottery class and you're using this, potentially as a way to help you or taking a painting class as a release of emotions or as a release of self care.
[00:31:50] Being in those spaces as well. So there's such a spectrum of ways of connecting in a different format.
[00:31:57] Barb Egan: So when people seek you out, [00:32:00] do they typically want art to be involved? Or do they know, how do you introduce that? What does that look like?
[00:32:09] Bethany McGillivray: Absolutely. I find that because I have that space of, having counseling and art therapy that you get people that are interested in art therapy, but they also want to talk because they want to be able to get these things.
[00:32:22] For relay cognitively their words and being able to express that. And then with a somatic side, with looking into the body, which is another big piece, which we've talked about with, I would actually using those words and a lot of way of that sematic piece which is another certification I have those three it's really.
[00:32:39] Using all of those in those spaces. So sometimes it's, very simply using, we'll come into a session and they'll, we'll maybe do a little bit of grounding and meditation doing a little bit of art and a little bit of talking about it. And, they're being able to interweave for what the individual person wants.
[00:32:56] Some people want to do just art. And so it's just coming into that space. [00:33:00] What you can offer for the person or what that individual wants, what they need that day, what they want more of. And with that connection coming into that space can be so beautiful and interweaving it all in such a holistic way.
[00:33:15] Barb Egan: Wow. That's beautiful. I'd love to circle back to body in edge because I think that's such a big one. I see so much of that and I think our culture speaks very loudly in of that. Could you give an example of what. Someone would come into you with struggling with body image, what that looks like, and then what you do, what a therapy process with you would look like to help someone working through body image issues.
[00:33:46] Bethany McGillivray: Absolutely. If there's some really great ways, if you're looking for that structure within yourself, if you need a structured program or like you want, it's like homework, it really depends on the individual. But it is something that we often start out. [00:34:00] That awareness, that knowing that connection.
[00:34:03] And then from there, moving into, if you're looking for that homework, if you're looking for something to continue to do, because it is about continuing to find that connection. I'm also a part of this group out of the states and it's the big hearted embodiment provider. And so there's a beautiful way of going through these resources together and we can work on, what weather is, what was your body story?
[00:34:25] And when was the. Time as a child that you can think of that you remember recognizing I have a body or that somebody commented on your body and they coming into that space. Thinking from that language and just telling the story of your body from start to end writing it out and just journaling about that and sharing it together and being able to talk about those spaces and noticing when things changed.
[00:34:49] Because as children, we often have this pre free place, but there's this moment we can often distinctly notice where you, I remember that time that somebody said. Something, [00:35:00] or that I noticed this, or I noticed somebody looking or I heard somebody say something about somebody else and we can start to pinpoint some of those stories and some of those areas where we notice those changes.
[00:35:11] And so it's coming into that knowledge and recognizing where they are, and then starting to. Build that intuitive self care, intuitive practice, what do I need? What does my body need? And looking at that intuitive self care self practice and coming into this next space. And so it's looking at that side from nowhere.
[00:35:33] It began. The story and getting it fully out and just really understanding who you are from the body perspective and being able to then shift and then, okay, where do we, where does this come from? From here? How do I reconnect with what my needs are, where there's some words like satisfied? How do I know when I'm satisfied?
[00:35:53] How do I know what I'm saying? No, how do I practicing into that intuitive space and then continuing to [00:36:00] build on it from there. And that self-esteem can start to come into that play as well with that self-compassion and really getting into that moment of how to build into ourselves and coming into that next space.
[00:36:14] Barb Egan: I love that. Wow. I'm satisfied. It's like relearning and giving yourself permission to say those types of powerful words and hearing the cues of your body.
[00:36:27] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah, we've come get so disconnected from it where it's I'm full it's. What does that feel like? And satisfied as a word that we don't often even use in our language and our day to day being like that was satisfying.
[00:36:38] How do you know, like when was the last time you felt satisfied with something and it doesn't have to be with food? It could be with an activity or with an experience or with a movie. And I also like to shift as well with exercise is important, but it's like maybe just moving the body, it doesn't have to be into like all these in this moments of [00:37:00] moving the body.
[00:37:01] I'm just going to go for a walk to move. My body goes for walks and get exercise that language shift and the understanding of how you're doing it for the insights part of you, then reflect on the outside part.
[00:37:14] Barb Egan: What would that look like? Because often with body image, I hear, I walk past the mirror and I just, I can't even look at myself or I don't like the way this part of me looks or all of me.
[00:37:27] How do you walk with someone through that? What are some things that you use there?
[00:37:32] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. It's so it's such a tough experience, right? When you're going in and looking at yourself from that space and not being able to say, look kindly upon yourself. And it is just being in that moment of, if it's too much to look in the mirror in that space, it's like taking your time and it's not about having to do anything.
[00:37:49] Everyone has their own timeline for doing things. And in tune, when you start to. What's going on inside and that connection and starting to build [00:38:00] on those internal resources, it starts to build on the outside. And so by going to that simple, basic step and taking those really coming to that beginning place of.
[00:38:11] Knowing connecting and moving forward, it starts to build that you're able to start to look forward to those things. And maybe you're coming into that space of, I'm only going to look in the mirror at this time to be able to start to build into that space and to look at myself in the. What is it like to just look myself in the eyes and not necessarily looking at my full body?
[00:38:33] Can I get to that space? And it's just, this is obviously after some time, that coming into that could be a really big step of somebody that's going into that moment, but that's where you start to build and progress and coming into more about a connection that way. And a lot of times we can have this body positive movement has been so beautiful, but.
[00:38:53] Body positive is also a very outward and really getting into that image, these two, and sometimes it's just body. Neutralist like I [00:39:00] have a body like my body, I have this body is a part of me. It gets me from a to B it's served me by waking up in the morning. It's a nourishes me by processing the food that's there.
[00:39:13] And so it starting to appreciate it from a different level from the inside, and then slowly starting to build, having a bit more of that experience from the outside.
[00:39:24] Barb Egan: Yeah. Wow. So it's a journey.
[00:39:27] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. Very much what I'm hearing you say. Exactly. Yeah. It's tough because when you get into that, like that next space, and it's just finding that confidence in that moment of what it is to be you and everyone's different everyone's journey is different and it shifts and ebbs and flows.
[00:39:45] Especially as we age, we go through life changes, different roles. We play, Being single to being, chill, wild, single, married, maybe a mother father, coming into these different roles that we can play. It's so different [00:40:00] how our body image might shift and adjust. And so it's still coming back from that place of gently, just slowly walking back.
[00:40:06] So you're walking alongside you.
[00:40:10] Barb Egan: Yes. Oh, it's so true. Cause I re I, as an athlete too, retiring my body looked differently and then being a mom being pregnant four times, like your body changes a lot and it was a lot of intentional, like I'm not perfect at it by any means, but I love those practices.
[00:40:30] I'm actually going to take some of those with me because. It's like that appreciation of, wow, my body's created for this. I remember being very nervous for labor and delivery and just trying to hold on to mantras like that of my body's created for this. I'm going to listen to my body. I'm going to appreciate how my body can Crow life.
[00:40:52] That's amazing. Or, Sustain life. And it's like the shift in a time where your body is not necessarily your own, or you feel out [00:41:00] of control in some senses of bringing appreciation into it. And that was really big for me. And again, I'm not perfect at it by any means. It's a constant thing that I want to try to grow in and learn in.
[00:41:13] But I think for most of us, like not just women to it, a lot of people think, oh, body image is a women's issue. But if it's a human issue, if we're really honest. And so I just think it's so encouraging to hear these. There's a lot of hope. That's kinda what I'm getting out of today. There's a lot of hope.
[00:41:31] There's different types of self-compassion and grounding and putting a hand on your body and taking just a deep breath and breathe. Bringing awareness. There's some kind self-talk, there's some different types of therapy like ifs or sematic, which is that very physical mind, body connection type approach.
[00:41:50] There's art therapy, there's talk therapy, there's movement therapy. There's a lot of. For what your body and what you need. [00:42:00] And that's really encouraging because this is a human issue that most of us deal with to some extent, and to just to have appreciation and a healthy relationship with our body So I'd love to end on that.
[00:42:12] What would be some tips, that you could leave us with to have a healthy body image or just a healthy relationship with our bodies.
[00:42:24] Bethany McGillivray: And I love that the story of your journey they're going through. Your labor and motherhood in that space and those mantras that you came up with yeah, it's not easy.
[00:42:33] And this as it is, it's a journey. The perfection is not necessarily in that space or that goal it's. But being in that moment of this, my body is meant to do. This is a natural change. These are in these spaces. Someone else told me that I did not come up with it, nor did I believe that first it's a lot of repetition.
[00:42:56] It's building those new paths or thoughts can go so [00:43:00] quickly to those rote ones that we have that playing on the back end. So it's noticing what is that? Nope. What am I, what is the background noise? What is the background? Music of my thoughts? My body about body image. What do I always hear? And it's just noticing what that is.
[00:43:16] It's okay. That's just my noticing. And without thinking of I just need to change it or I'm going to get rid of it. You're coming with that harsh space of trying to move into that moment. Yeah, noticing. And so it's just, what is my, what is that background noise? And it's what does health mean to me?
[00:43:32] Okay. What are some ways that I can bring compassionate into that moment? As I'm a mom of four, that I probably don't have the same amount of time to just focus on my body and my, my, my thoughts. And in that space together in those moments, I had a lot of Koreans, a lot of markers.
[00:43:53] Yeah it's something that was beautiful spaces. Yeah. It's being like, what am I feeling like today? What color do I feel like [00:44:00] today? And that could be having a few, if you're, if you have a journaling practice in place already, can you add that to it? What color do I feel like? What does that color mean to me?
[00:44:10] And being maybe writing in that color and seeing what that feels like, is there some ways of adding these things in of that connections in the body of connecting in a different way? If I were to envision myself is there a metaphor for what I'm feeling today?
[00:44:26] I feel like a spring flower blooming, or I feel like I'm wilting, like coming into that space what is, what does the way noticing what do I need more. Need more water I'm wilting. I need more water today. It's okay. Cause if we start to notice and become aware of those things, we'll actually be able to fuel and nourish ourselves with the things our body needs, as opposed to, if we're not in that connection, then things can spiral down and we're like, I'm just really happy or I'm angry or all these different thoughts can come in.
[00:44:55] And these different ways that we're trying to figure it out. Maybe I'm just really tired. I have [00:45:00] four kids and we've had the tournament's all weekend or, all these different things going on that have course I'm going to be tired and that's okay. Other people will be tired too, if they had all these things going on and coming into that space of, okay.
[00:45:15] And today, Got me out of bed. My body made food for myself. We made food for our family. We were able to get to this space. Maybe it could have been different, but I was still able to do it. And my, I love my body for being able to do what it was meant to do. And if love is not the word that is coming into that moment for you, it's I appreciate it.
[00:45:34] I appreciate what you've done. I know that we're going through a different. And if there's any things that are in there that you noticed, one thing to be able to shift into is starts that if you follow social media, it's like start to follow people that inspire looking at yourself differently.
[00:45:50] When you're looking at accounts, does it make me feel like, oh, I should do. Or I don't like, or start to notice that voice starts to come louder and unfollow them. You can always follow them back, if [00:46:00] that's in that space and having those moments of. What is he going to fill me up and make me feel more fulfilled and connect to me on the inside.
[00:46:08] When I take that breath and this at anything, if you have that chance, connect to yourself, take a breath. Yeah. To your breath.
[00:46:17] Barb Egan: I love that phrase. Connect to your breath. Speaking of social media, Bethany, and where we can find you where can our listeners find you?
[00:46:27] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah, absolutely. So my practice is called soul flow therapy, and so that is my Instagram name.
[00:46:34] And it's also my website. So www soul through therapy.com. And so U L F L O w.
[00:46:42] Barb Egan: Awesome. Oh, I love that. And even when we are doing that, as you're describing, take a breath and on the exhale and how you work with it, you utilizing art and you draw that breath, like drawing your breath and know what color with it.
[00:46:57] Would it be like, just keep it in my mind when I was [00:47:00] doing that and with my hand and my breath tracing it, I just came like with light. And I was like, oh, that's very calm and light to an area. It just was beautiful. So I really liked that practice. So there's a strategy you guys want to try join your breath.
[00:47:15] I loved that hand on your heart or just on your body of bringing awareness, connecting to your breath. Do you have any resources that you like to recommend, like on any of these topics, self-compassion body image, disordered, eating. Learning more about art therapy or are in therapy.
[00:47:35] Bethany McGillivray: No, absolutely.
[00:47:37] There's some really beautiful resources that are out there. I Kristin Neff is another one that, we talked about number of times, I know you've spoken about, or in other podcasts, there's even a really great self-compassion quiz. That's on there that you can really. And check out and to see where you're at in those spaces.
[00:47:53] There is big hearted embodiment with Elizabeth Scott. That is a training that I've done in. It's such a beautiful [00:48:00] connection. It's also facilitated with the be body positive. Shifting that language from that place of empowerment, from that place of growth, that place the connection.
[00:48:10] A book that I'm currently reading that I'm really loving is I even wrote it down. The book was the wisdom of the body and the artist. The author is Hillary McBride and she loves Hillary McBride. Have you read that book?
[00:48:23] Barb Egan: I haven't finished it almost, but I love her podcasts. I love her work.
[00:48:29] Yeah, she's amazing.
[00:48:30] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah. I'm really connecting with that book right now. It's, there's a lot of beautiful insights and just little things in there that I really have loved. And and if you're, for some information on debunking, some like diet myths are coming into that space.
[00:48:44] There's a really interesting podcast called the maintenance phase. Which I quite enjoy. Find that there's a lot of really great insights and information in there. So I recommend that.
[00:48:56] Barb Egan: Oh, that's great. I utilize the body image, work [00:49:00] book quite a bit with clients. I'm not sure if you're familiar with that.
[00:49:04] Bethany McGillivray: Yeah, I don't, I haven't, I'm never going to ride with them.
[00:49:07] Barb Egan: Yeah. I'm always about resources. Cause I just think as we get, we're so honored. We get to spend, 50 to 60 minutes with someone, but then the majority of them. They're out there living 99% without us. And so to empower them and give great resources and different types of resources, speak to different people or just to our listeners.
[00:49:28] So I just appreciate you coming on and sharing your wisdom and expertise in these areas. Sharing. Art, you can just tell how calm and just want to presence you bring in with people. And I just really want to thank you for your time and coming on today.
[00:49:43] Bethany McGillivray: Oh, thank you so much for having me. This is such an honor, and I really loved this experience and, having this conversation with you, it's just a beautiful and natural way to go.
[00:49:54] I could, we could talk forever. Keep going. Oh thank you, Bethany. Thank you [00:50:00] so much.