The Project: Kuwait

The Psychology of Eating Disorders with Fatma Al-Qadfan Drama Therapist

March 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 35
The Project: Kuwait
The Psychology of Eating Disorders with Fatma Al-Qadfan Drama Therapist
The Project: Kuwait
The Psychology of Eating Disorders with Fatma Al-Qadfan Drama Therapist
Mar 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 35
Mahdi Aloun, Liam Glynn
Summary: Mahdi and Liam are joined on this episode of the Project Kuwait podcast by Fatma Al-Qadfan, a drama therapist who is also knowledgeable about eating disorders. She talks about intuitive eating, the best types of accounts to follow on social media, and being healthy at any size. You likely have not thought about these topics this way before, and you will learn a lot from Fatma’s expertise.
Show Notes

Time Stamps:

1:57 – Fatma Al-Qadfan is a drama therapist, which integrates psychology with the theater arts as a modality of counseling. She primarily works with adolescents and adults.

3:57 – Fatma and Mahdi attended the American University of Kuwait together, where she was more interested in sociology and theater than psychology, but her interest in psychology developed a few years after graduation. She saw a documentary called “12 Angry Lebanese” that opened her eyes to the possibilities of drama and psychology, and her life trajectory was forever changed.

6:00 – She distinguishes between practices that are therapeutic (dealing with the symptoms) and those that are therapy (dealing with the root cause). 

8:16 – There is a spectrum of behaviors and beliefs when it comes to eating disorders. On one end is “intuitive eating” which is healthy, towards the middle is “disordered eating” which is characterized by guilt-motivated decisions, and on the other end is “diagnosed eating disorders” such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

10:30 – Fatma emphasizes that eating disorders are very serious because they can cause the organs to shut down and even cause death. Mahdi shares about one of his friends whose eating disorder caused her to be hospitalized.

13:10 – It is difficult to determine or judge if someone has an eating disorder because it is a set of behaviors and thoughts more than anything externally visible. It is important to always be aware of your own cues and not be influenced by the praise or disapproval of others.

16:15 – Liam presents a relevant scenario about the pressures of eating unhealthy foods at a family gathering, which spurs on a lengthy conversation bordering on a debate with Fatma about the best way to handle situations like this. 

20:58 – Liam, Mahdi, and Fatma agree that when you decide not to eat the food at a family gathering, it is problematic to the relationships involved.

23:59 – Fatma continues the conversation by explaining that being unwilling to compromise or appease the other party, this is a type of disordered eating. This could be considered orthorexia.

24:43 – Mahdi brings up the topic of nutrition, and Fatma talks about the importance of coaches in the pursuit of intuitive eating. Additionally, it is a healthy practice to check in with yourself along the way to see what you really want.

32:36 – Fatma strives to debunk the “myth” of addiction to sugar and talks about the pleasure center of the brain.

36:55 – Fatma provides 3 helpful questions for listeners to consider: (1) Was there a time when you told yourself no (food item)? (2) What does (food item) mean to you? (3) Is your fear of (food item) stemming from an idea? These questions touch on the physical, mental, and emotional restrictions people place on themselves.

40:01 – Fatma typically works one-on-one with clients or in group settings to work through their personal histories and family dynamics. These workshops and sessions vary, but can include elements of roleplay or writing plays, letters, or songs.

47:01 – Fatma shares her perspective on social media and how she has developed a healthier relationship with herself by curating the people she follows to be more diverse and positive. One social justice movement she specifically mentioned was Health at Every Size. 

52:20 – Fatma echoes the common saying that comparison is the thief of joy on social media. Liam asks about people who need motivation – could it be helpful to them to follow aspirational accounts? Fatma agrees but says that it depends on the person.

57:06 – Liam brings up another hot button topic: in the context of a job interview, could the hiring manager assume that a lean and toned person is more disciplined

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