Understanding Eating Disorders | Eating Disorder Specialist Ashley McHan

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For most of us, food is a delight to enjoy every day. Whether alone or with family, friends, our spouse, children, or strangers. However, what might be nothing but a pleasant experience for someone can harbor great demons for others.

For some, what they can eat, how much they can eat, why they eat, and so many other thoughts and beliefs around food, are a daily occupation that runs through their head constantly.

As outsiders who do not struggle with eating and food, it can be confusing to understand exactly what eating disorders are about. 

As our guest for this interview here on the IPS Podcast, Ashley McHan, a licensed eating disorder and trauma specialist says;

“Eating disorders are not about food.”

But what then are eating disorders about? 

It is complicated. 

Which is exactly why we invited a specialist on the podcast to talk about them.

For those reading who struggle or think they might struggle with an eating disorder; in this interview you will find a whole lot of compassion, understanding, and practical tips and advice on what to do.

Also, for anyone reading who is seeking to help someone, this interview with Ashley will answer many of your questions and give you practical takeaways to be there for someone else.

Understanding eating disorders and knowing what to do can be challenging both for those struggling and those trying to help someone. 

But to quote Ashley: 

“One of the other things that people have in common regardless of any variation of disordered eating to diagnosable eating disorders, is that lack of belief that your life can change. That you can do it.”

However, as you will learn in this interview, change truly is possible. Yes it will take time, yes it will take effort, and yes there will be ups and downs, but the path of healing is one that is available to all of us.

I sincerely hope through this interview and the additional resources provided down below, we at The IPS Project can ever so slightly aid you on this path of healing.

With that please enjoy this insightful interview with licensed therapist Ashley McHan.

Books:

  • – Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro (Whether we’ve experienced small setbacks or major traumas, we are all influenced by memories and experiences we may not remember or don’t fully understand. Getting Past Your Past offers practical procedures that demystify the human condition and empower readers looking to achieve real change.)
  • – The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk (In The Body Keeps the Score, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.)
  • –  The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (What would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to discover inner peace and serenity? The Untethered Soul offers simple yet profound answers to these questions.)


Podcasts:

  •  Food Psych (A weekly show dedicated to helping you make peace with food and break free from diet culture.)
  • – Recovery Warrior (Recovery Warrior’s mission is deeply rooted in connecting treatment, technology and innovative design to eating disorder recovery.)
  • – EP 023 – Scott Pinyard on Alcohol Use Disorder, the Effects of Alcohol on the Brain and Body, and How to Provide Support (Scott Pinyard: Alcohol use disorder, effects of alcohol on the brain & body, how to help someone struggling with alcohol addiction, and more.)
  • –  EP 021 – How to Rewire Your Brain to Be Happy | Dr. Rick Hanson, Ph.D. | The Science of Happiness (In this episode on The IPS Podcast, Dr. Rick Hanson, leading expert on positive neuroplasticity, talks about how you can rewire your brain to be happy.)


Videos:

  • – I’ve Eaten Only Mac & Cheese for the Past 17 Years, Here’s Why (Austin suffers from Selective Eating Disorder, also known as Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, an anxiety disorder that’s characterized by the persistent refusal to eat specific foods or refusal to eat any type of food due to a negative response from certain sensory characteristics of that food.)
  • – An Eating Disorder Specialist Explains How Trauma Creates Food Disorders (As an eating disorder and trauma therapist, Ashley McHan sees patients with an array of issues with food. VICE speaks to her about our unhealthy relationship to food, how it contributes to disordered eating and the underlying causes, similarities and differences of various eating disorders.)


Websites:

The transcription is, for the most part, AI-transcribed and is currently 85% accurate. We are still weeding out some minor errors.

The IPS Academy
Before we go on to the interview, have you already taken a look at The IPS Academy? The IPS Academy provides online courses from some of the best instructors out there on mental health, personal development, lifestyle, nutrition, mindfulness improving your life quality, etc. Each course we offer has been made in collaboration with an instruct who has also been a guest here on The IPS Podcast. Have a look to see if there’s a course to your liking. Read the full course descriptions and check out the thousands of positive reviews from students who have taken the course by going to TheIPSProject.com/academy. Or check the description of this episode to find the link. With that, let’s dig into the interview.

Ashley McHan
So if you look at the patterns of eating disorders as coping gone wrong, right, if you look at the patterns of eating disorders as symptoms of a problem, then you start to look at it a little differently. You step back and you take this perspective, like, why might it make sense that a person’s doing this? Because that’s I think what I saw in myself and my friends and, you know, Chris took me years later to understand myself, but looking at my friends, I could look at them with compassion and go, oh, yeah, that does make sense. This person was treated horribly. They did have trauma, but when we look at ourselves, we’re like, my suffering was never bad enough. I don’t make sense. I am broken, I am wrong, right? And so it’s been amazing to be able to be there for other people and to help them take a new lens on themselves, to be able to see themselves the way they would see another person.

Jellis Vaes
This is episode 31 with Ashley McHan. Welcome everyone, to another episode here on The IPS Podcast. Thank you for tuning in and for joining me once again. Or if you’re a new listener, well, a warm welcome. I’m glad you’re checking out the podcast. As you may or may not know, our aim at The IPS Project is to be an educational platform on life that provides information about topics we learned little to nothing about growing up, like relationships, the mind, the body and brain, and mental health. There are so many important topics we just do not know enough about, just like the one we are going to talk and learn more about here in this interview, namely eating disorders. Now, for this interview, we invited Ashley McHan. A USA based trauma and eating disorder specialist. While searching for a fitting guest. I found Ashley by watching the Vice documentary she appeared in called ‘I’ve Only Eaten Mac and Cheese for the past 17 years. Here is why.’ Which I, by the way, can highly recommend anyone to check out, and you can find it in the show notes of this episode. Either way, she struck me as the perfect guest to invite here on The IPS Podcast, as she’s not only a licensed psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, but also a trauma therapist who often works through the lens of trauma when helping someone with an eating disorder.

Since eating disorders and trauma often go hand in hand, Ashley just did a terrific job in his interview, providing clear answers and insights into how and why eating disorders develop, the variety of eating disorders, and how to be there for yourself if you’re struggling with one or for someone else. She also shared her personal story, the correlation between trauma and eating disorders, and just so much more for anyone who thinks or knows they’re struggling with an eating disorder, as well as for those looking to help someone. This interview will answer many of the questions you might have about this topic and provide practical tips and pieces of advice for both those struggling and those trying to help someone. Now, as always, you can find any resources that were mentioned in the interview, like book recommendations and of course, ways to connect with Ashley in the show notes of this episode located in the description, or by going directly to ipsproject.blog and search for Ashley. Lastly, I just want to say, and yes, I’ve said this before in other episodes, however, each time I do sincerely mean it. I deeply appreciate it that you’re here and are taking the time to be there for yourself and others by learning more about this topic. With that, please enjoy this interview with trauma and eating disorder specialist Ashley McHan.

Jellis Vaes
Ashley, a warm welcome here to The IPS Podcast. It’s so good to finally talk to you.

Ashley McHan
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited.

Jellis Vaes
So I’ve been wanting to talk about eating disorders for a long time now, so I’m really excited to finally have the chance to talk with someone, an expert on this topic. And when I was preparing for this interview, I was having some trouble to exactly know where to start because it’s such a big topic. So I thought the best way to sort of start was to gradually build the understanding of eating disorders up and then move to more complex questions.

Ashley McHan
Yeah, absolutely.

Jellis Vaes
So I first thought to kind of start talking about the three most common eating disorders anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, and to just get a bit of a better understanding about them. And now we move to some other questions. Right.

Ashley McHan
It’s interesting because even as you open in this way, one of the things that immediately came to mind is that people often struggle with the idea that it’s not bad enough, what they’re struggling with might not be enough to qualify as an eating disorder. So I’d say, like, the fourth category is the patterns in our life that might not fall into all the criteria for diagnoses and are still enough and matter, and you don’t have to be sick and you don’t have to require treatment for everything that we talk about today to still apply to you. When we’re looking at eating disorders in general, one of the things that they have in common is this desire for the body to change. So whether it’s anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, a struggle with body image is one of the primary components. So when we’re looking at the differences between them and anorexia, someone is going to be restricting their intake. They might be using behaviors that you’ll see similarly in bulimia, where we might think of bulimia as purging or throwing up food, but there are other forms of purging, so we might see people using laxatives or over exercising as well.

So you’re going to see crossover between a lot of eating disorder patterns. So similarly, someone with bulimia might be binging and purging. The person with the binge eating disorder might not have those compensatory behaviors, the purging, so they are binging and not compensating. Someone who is struggling with binging, whether it is in relation to bulimia or on its own, might have questions around what makes a binge a binge. That’s something that I find a lot of people have a lot of question marks around. And so talking about this today, I hope helps someone out there understand what their experience is like. And again, if you are overeating and you’re feeling out of control and struggling, that’s enough for it to matter. If it matters to you, it matters. Something that might be helpful for people to understand about binging is that it can become a dissociative process. And so dissociation falls on a spectrum. Dissociation is that thing that happens when we’re sitting at work or in school and we’re daydreaming. We’re not really present in the moment. Our mind is somewhere else. And it happens a lot when we drive from point A to point B and we get somewhere and we go, how did I get here?

I don’t even remember driving here. But it was such a familiar drive. We did it on autopilot, and our mind truly could have been somewhere else. So those are both forms of dissociation. The dissociation that happens during a binge will look like someone almost it can feel almost like blacking out, like you don’t even remember doing it. You might feel like you’re watching yourself do it, but that you don’t have the ability to stop. And so that dissociation is something that shows up not just with binge behaviors, as I described with those other examples, but it’s something that a lot of people in general struggle with. So whether or not eating disorder is something that you’re concerned about, it can be interesting to just have that awareness of what the dissociation is. So yeah, tell me, what do you think would help people understand better these three eating disorders? What questions did you have?

Jellis Vaes
Yeah, so if we would just sort of start with anorexia, could you give sort of a description like what it is and what is it not so.

Ashley McHan
Rather than go the DSM route where you would see a list of criteria, I would say let’s look at a day in the life of someone with anorexia.

Jellis Vaes
Yeah.

Ashley McHan
Your mind would be preoccupied with what you’re going to eat or not eat, how many calories you’re going to take in or not take in. It might look like how many times you’re going to weigh yourself or not weigh yourself within a day. From the moment that you wake up. As you move through your day, the distraction and preoccupation dominate your mind. This is the person who is likely to be underweight. They’re not taking in enough calories to sustain their weight and so they have typically continual weight loss. When it gets severe, you might start to see this person develop linugo. So it’s almost like furry, like more hair growth on your body. You might have hair loss, cold all the time. So as this person moves through their day and their life, the focus on food is dominant and there are a lot of reasons that someone might fall into those patterns. So if you’re young and something in your life is out of control, finding focus and something that you can control cutting your food into tiny pieces, paying so much attention to the food, might have helped you shut out the world around you or feel like you could contain something, something in your life when other things were out of control.

And I use that example because I think that people with anorexia get a bad rap for trying to control and it’s as if it’s a negative quality. But that desire to feel like you have control is kind of a basic human need. And most people this doesn’t mean this develops out of childhood. This could develop later in life, it could happen in when we’re adolescents. So now if you look at the day in the life of someone with bulimia, not very different. You’re going to wake up and you’re going to be thinking potentially about maybe like what you feel shame for eating the day before or the shame that you feel for purging or the negative thoughts that you have about yourself for this cycle of behaviors. Because people who struggle with bulimia, they don’t want to be struggling with bulimia. Right. That’s the other thing that I think people don’t understand, that you’ll see a lot of people struggling with anorexia feel like they don’t want to let go of it. It’s because it feels like their life relies on it and we’ll get more into that later. Someone who’s struggling with bulimia, I see a lot more inner conflict they might want to restrict only and then they get into this self hatred pattern because of the eating that happens.

But what’s happening is that this person is highly likely to be restricting their intake and that that’s increasing the likelihood of overeating or binging. Because when we put our body in a restrictive state and we put our mind in a restrictive state, we say, you can’t have, you can’t have, you can’t have. What do we think about when we’re saying don’t think about food? Food. When we’re saying don’t think about eating? What do you think about eating? Right. And so they’re in this spin cycle of telling themselves no and then feeling like there is something wrong with them for feeling out of control. And they stay in that spin cycle. They wake up the next morning and instead of having a fresh start, they’re looking back on the day before and it’s propelling them right back into the cycle. And for someone who is struggling with bulimia, that cycle might happen multiple times within a day, or once a day, but several times a week at least.

Jellis Vaes
And if we would talk to about binge eating, like, could you give a short description about that?

Ashley McHan
There is a lot of preoccupation with thoughts about food, similar struggle with shame or negative self beliefs related to their relationship with food. So really feeling like they should be in control. In this group of people, we tend to see a history of dieting, and this is what we know about dieting, they fail, diets fail. And people who diet within a year don’t just gain the weight back. Research is showing that they’re gaining the weight plus 25%. Now, what happens to someone when they fail a diet isn’t that they go, that diet doesn’t work for people. They go, I failed, I’m a failure. And when we start to develop beliefs like these, we’re going to be more likely to have really low self esteem, low self confidence, low belief in ourself. There’s also a lot of belief out there. I think that all of this, the change in when people are looking at trying to lose weight, when they find themselves feeling unhealthy, and that they believe that it comes from motivation. And how are you going to motivate when your relationship with yourself is suffering so much? Right? And so they get caught in a different kind of spin cycle.

For people with binge eating disorder, likely food in some way, shape or form is a form of coping, self soothing, where love has been bound in their life, which might be a really positive thing if you look back on childhood. Is that what their grandmother gave them to show them love? It might be the way in which that person has coped when they have felt sad, lonely, out of control. Right? And so it’s a bit of a different spin cycle, but it’s the same story. Maybe waking up in the morning and feeling motivated to do it differently. But as the day wears on, the energy of our prefrontal cortex also wears down. So we wake up with these intentions to do it differently. Perhaps some days, right? But as the day wears on and you’ve probably seen this in your life, and I’m sure the listeners have seen this in their own. Our best at intentions are so hard to execute by the end of the day. And one of the patterns that I see for people who struggle with binge eating in any way, shape or form, is that it’s more likely to happen at the end of the day.

And that’s where we aren’t able to rely on our prefrontal cortex to get us through those tough decisions, to get us through the new change or new pattern or behavior. And instead we end up relying on those root patterns. It’s like our mind and body this is not like this. Our mind and body are literally firing for us to do what we’ve always done when we feel a certain way, what fires together, wires together. So if I have had a pattern of repeating this behavior at the same time every day, and this might go for the anorexic weighing or the overeating or binging that occurs with bulimia or binge eating disorder, my mind is going to fire at 06:00 P.m for me to do that thing. I’ve always done it 06:00 P.m.. And so we’re trying to work against that. And it’s a very difficult thing to overcome on your own. And most people believe that they should be able to, and yet that rarely works.

Jellis Vaes
I think that’s a good start where we got some good understanding about those three most common eating disorders. But I’m wondering… Because there’s so many eating disorders, right? But is there another eating disorder out there that you feel should get more attention that isn’t getting enough attention?

Ashley McHan
Very different end of the spectrum. We have RFID, so avoidant restrictive food intake disorder.

Jellis Vaes
So in the Vice documentary that you were in, that was about that eating disorder, right?

Ashley McHan
Yeah. And I have to say that even going through my own training early on, I did not learn about this. This is newer. Diagnoses have changed over time. So this is something that it’s unlike what we were looking at with the three that we were just discussing, because it does not have that same desire to change the body due to the body image disturbance. Someone with RFID, we’re just going to abbreviate it now because it’s a mouthful. Someone who’s struggling with RFID is going to struggle for a very different reason. And even within the diagnoses, there’s such variation. Now, someone who is avoiding or restricting their intake is not doing so for the same reasons as the person who is anorexic. These people are more likely to have had a food related trauma or very heightened sensitivity to textures, tastes. The sensory experience for them makes it fearful to eat a lot of foods. There tends to be a fear of choking that prevents people from eating. The reason that I think that it’s important for people to know that this exists is that a lot of people have been out there living their lives thinking that there is something wrong with them and that they are picky eaters, which as a child can fly.

But as an adult, you feel like there is something truly wrong with you because it starts to limit you from being able to go on dates, go out to dinner with your friends, to have these, in quotes, adult experiences. Because what you might eat might be limited to less than five foods. So with an arfa diagnosis, it is that narrow. Now, these people tend to then get judged, right?

Jellis Vaes
Sure.

Ashley McHan
You eat so narrowly, just try it, just eat it. That’s what they hear. And as a child it might have been very forceful by their caretakers. So it’s trauma, trauma, trauma. So overwhelming, such heightened anxiety around food, that doesn’t make sense to the people on the outside because they don’t understand that internal experience and people don’t have an awareness of this diagnosis. So I think it’s just good to put it out there that this is a real thing and there is help and there are ways of changing and you can get past that overwhelm to get to a place where you can be more inclusive, which is true for all of the eating disorders. And I think that one of the other things that people have in common, regardless of, you know, any variation of disordered eating to diagnosable eating disorder, is that lack of belief that your life can change, that you can do it, that you also could be happy if you did. In that example I was giving of the person with anorexia who doesn’t seem that they want to change it’s because they don’t believe that life could be good on the other side without it. It’s not that they don’t want happiness. It’s the belief that might still be so deeply embedded that without it they can’t be happy.

Jellis Vaes
Yeah.

Ashley McHan
For a lot of us, one of the things I think we can relate to, regardless of having an eating disorder, is that we tend to put these things out there that if I weighed less, I’d be happier. If I made more money, I’d be happier if I had a bigger house or if I had a boat, if I lived somewhere. So we throw these circumstances on ourselves, these expectations that if I get there, then I’ll be happy. And I wonder if we all just took a moment to think about this. Was there anything that we thought when we got there that we would be happy? I mean, if we look back to when we were kids and we think about what we do and have now, our kids self would be like wow, for most of us, if we’re lucky, if we have that level of privilege. But we might be sitting here thinking, in ten years I’ll be happy. And so that’s kind of what it’s like for someone with an eating disorder. It’s this thought that if I can just change my body. If I can just change my weight, I will be not just happy, I will feel like I’m enough, that I have worth, I have value, that I am acceptable, that I belong, that I am just going to feel like the way I imagine other people feel in their lives. And yeah, we’re all kind of walking around suffering in our own way, right?

Jellis Vaes
Life is definitely not easy for no one. So the tricky thing about many eating disorders, like bulimia, binge eating, but also anorexia, is that you don’t always know that someone is struggling with one. You also have the opposite, actually. That someone might just have a good metabolism and sport lots. People might wonder, like, do you eat enough or is something going wrong in your life or are you struggling with needing disorder?

Ashley McHan
And that other end of the spectrum that people who are in larger bodies, we have these cultural beliefs that they can’t be healthy and they can’t they could be healthier than that underweight person. Right. Isn’t it so interesting? So, yes, there’s much that we might assume and there’s a lot that we will miss because we can’t see it.

Jellis Vaes
Yeah. So I’m just wondering if you could… When are we truly talking about an eating disorder and when are we not talking about an eating disorder? Like what clearly defines that someone has an unhealthy relationship with food?

Ashley McHan
We could, again go into the criteria, but I think that this might help more. If you are worrying about your relationship with food, that’s your answer. If you’re thinking about it, that’s enough. Right? This is something that I think in your episode that you just had from the man from This Naked Mind.

Jellis Vaes
Scott Pinyard. Yes.

Ashley McHan
Okay, so he similarly defined, how do you know if you have a problem with alcohol? If you wonder if you have a problem with alcohol and you’re thinking about how much to drink or not drink, it’s the same. Right. And I say this again, not because the diagnostic criteria are not important. They’re so valuable to so many people because they validate their experience. But if you’re worrying about it, if you’re thinking about it, if you’re considering this, get support, you are right where you need to be to begin to change that and free your mind of it.

Jellis Vaes
So when I look for guests to interview on a certain topic, I always look for people who have expertise, of course, in the topic, but I’m also very interested always in looking for someone who has also personal experience with it. And to me, that’s sort of the ultimate combination of someone having the expertise and having the personal experience of truly understanding what it’s like to go through it. To me, that’s like the best way to really be there for someone and know what it’s like. And if I got my research correct when I was preparing for this interview, I understood that you as well used to struggle with an eating disorder.

Ashley McHan
I’ve never had a diagnosable eating disorder. My struggle was definitely something that came of never feeling good in my body, never feeling good enough overeating at times I tried purging and went through periods of restriction, but again, never to the extent that I would have had a diagnosis. The thing that I think drew me to this was that there were people around me, all of these people who were so close to me, who felt the same way, and yet they did develop eating disorders. And I was looking at our lives going, how is it that that affected them in this way and me so differently when the way that we feel about ourselves is so similar? Or I’d look at someone and go, but they have it all younger me, they have it all in valedictorian and a boyfriend and everything that you could think that everybody wanted as a teenager, right, or in college, and yet they were struggling, and it just made me want to get it. I really wanted to understand it beyond that. And what I came to see that we all have in common is that these underlying, self limiting beliefs were there for all of us, but sent us in different directions, sent us into different unhealthy coping strategies because we didn’t know how to cope with how we were feeling about ourselves in our lives.

And so this has taken my work in the direction of trauma. I had early childhood trauma, and we all have these traumas, large and small, as we move through our lives, and how those change us can determine the direction that we go in. So for a lot of people, that means going toward eating more food. For some people, it may mean eating less food, for others, drinking alcohol. For someone else, overworking, avoiding detaching, shutting down, leaving school, overachieving in school. It can look a million different ways. And so I went from being an intern and then an employee at an eating disorder treatment center where I was watching this common thread. All of these people have trauma. But back then we weren’t talking about the correlation between trauma and eating disorders. Doesn’t this explain why they’re doing this? We’re just saying, like, don’t exercise, eat more, eat less. But what about all these underlying things that are leading these people to feel worthless in their lives? And so I went and I got trained in trauma healing methods. So first in hypnotherapy and then in eye movement desensitization reprocessing, which we call EMDR, because I saw that those things really were having an impact on whether or not someone could get better if they kept believing, much like you spoke about in your positive psychology podcast.

If they continue to think a certain way and feel a certain way about themselves, it was very hard for them to believe in the possibility of difference for them. If I don’t think I’m good enough, And I believe that the only way to feel good enough is to change my body, I’m going to do that, right? I need to get out from underneath that belief in order to be open to the possibility of something different for myself. And that’s what the trauma healing does for people. It looks at, Why are you doing this thing that you’re doing? Because the need eating disorder, it’s the symptom.

Jellis Vaes
But do you feel like every trauma is related to the development of an eating disorder, or every eating disorder is related to a trauma?

Ashley McHan
I mean, in my experience, there’s always been something that’s been able to be identified. What will happen, though, is people will go, well, I don’t have any trauma, but trauma is relative. So while I might look at trauma as being someone going to war or someone being abused, the worst thing that has happened to me and the worst thing that has happened to you is the worst thing that has happened in our life. And it could have a profound impact on us. So that might look like a parent’s divorce, bullying in middle school, being put on a diet at a young age. These things have profound effects on us and it’s enough to change the way that we feel in relation to the world.

Jellis Vaes
The way we behave.

Ashley McHan
Yeah. So if you look at the patterns of eating disorders as coping gone wrong, right, if you look at the patterns of eating disorders as symptoms of a problem, then you start to look at it a little differently. You step back and you take this perspective, like, why might it make sense that a person’s doing this? Because that’s I think what I saw in myself and my friends and, you know, of course, took me years later to understand myself. But looking at my friends, I could look at them with compassion and go, oh, yeah, that does make sense. This person was treated horribly, they did have trauma, but when we look at ourselves, we’re like, my suffering was never bad enough. I don’t make sense. I am broken, I am wrong, right? And so it’s been amazing to be able to be there for other people and to help them take a new lens on themselves, to be able to see themselves the way they would see another person. One of the most interesting things in that healing process is that when we look back on ourselves, even as children, we look at ourselves almost as we look at ourselves now, like, we should have known everything that we know now.

Someone will literally look at themselves at six and think that they should have known everything that happened after. But when we were six, we didn’t know anything and we shouldn’t have, and we weren’t responsible for any of it. We were just kids. And so part of this work is actually much like shadow. Work young theory, like going back and looking at all of these different experiences to understand ourselves when we were young, because we have to do that to understand all that shadow stuff. The shadow stuff being the things that we don’t like about ourselves. And usually if you look at something you don’t like about yourself, you can tie it back to where it began. And how old were you then? And how much do you judge that teenager? That’s a good place to start to understand what I’m talking about. If you think of yourself as a teenager making a choice, you have judged yourself for, we’re very harsh on our young selves. But then if you look at another kid who’s that age, you’re like, oh, you should know nothing. You did know nothing. You were not the adult you believed yourself to be. You had no coping skills.

Jellis Vaes
It’s like giving advice. You should try to give advice to yourself as you would give advice to a friend. Right? Otherwise we’re so harsh on ourselves. It’s so crazy.

Ashley McHan
Yeah. And I actually was thinking about that as I was listening to your Positive Psychology podcast because that is so much of the work. And the book you recommended, Untethered Soul, is my favorite book in the world because it helps so many people understand what it’s like to be in relation to their own thoughts. I believe that it was Michael Singer who gave an example of the bad roommate.

Jellis Vaes
It was him. Yes. I think in the book, The Untethered Soul. Yeah. Great book.

Ashley McHan
So when you’re thinking about this example, so you just imagine that if you had a bad roommate, a roommate who’s just constantly spewing negative crap all the time, that’s all they had to say. You’d go in your room and you’d shut the door, recognizing that you don’t have to listen to it. In our own minds, we lack that awareness. And that’s not because we aren’t intelligent beings. It’s that nobody’s told us to recognize we don’t have to engage in our thoughts. What I found is that it’s like torture for these people. They feel like they are being berated constantly by their own thoughts. Those obsessive and compulsive thoughts about food and eating in their body and their size and the measuring. What do you what not to eat? I ate too much, I’m not enough. It’s constant until you start to understand why it’s there. And you’re like, oh, okay, there it is again. I understand. I’m thinking about weighing myself because I think that it’s the only way to stay safe. Right. I think that if I gain weight, I’ll be fat. What does that mean, fat? Oh, that word. That is like the word, right?

But we think of it as a feeling, as this state of being. It represents a lot, and it might represent something different to each of us. So for some, the idea of being fat means they’re not enough. For some, it means they’re a failure. For some, it means that they’re disgusting or lazy. So what’s under that? Okay, these fearful beliefs, fears for the future, fears that came from the past. There’s a lot of work that we do and changing the way that we see ourselves, changing the way that we’re thinking about ourselves, changing the way we’re engaging with our thoughts so that we can change the behaviors.

The IPS Academy
Before we continue with the interview, I just like to take a moment to mention if you feel that you’ve gained some insights and lessons from this interview and you’re curious to see what else we offer at The IPS Project, I recommend that you check out The IPS Academy, where we offer online courses taught by guests here on The IPS Podcast. Learn more about essential life topics such as mental health, relationships, the mind and the body and brain through fun and interactive courses. Simply go to theipsproject.com/academy or check the description of this episode to find the link. Each course has a few lessons to try for free so you can get a taste of what the course is like. We have countless reviews from other students so you can see what others think. And there is a 30-day-money-back guarantee. If you end up not liking the course again, check them out at theipsproject.com/academy or by clicking on the link in the description of this episode. Having said that, let’s return back to the interview.

Jellis Vaes
I would like to move to a few practical questions on the people listening who might recognize that they are struggling with an eating disorder. And then I also want to switch sides and talk to the people listening who want to help someone. So let’s first start with the people listening who might recognize that they’re struggling with an eating disorder. So I can imagine it to be just extremely overwhelming when you realize that you might have an eating disorder or that you might struggle with one. From your personal experience and your professional experience, what can you recommend as first good steps to those people?

Ashley McHan
Yeah, a few things. So one, just talk to someone and know that in talking to someone, that could be all you do, just having someone there to hold space as long as you are safe. Now, if you’re unsafe, we want to make sure that you’re safe first, meaning for some people it might look like hospitalization, but if that scares you, start by just talking to someone. The thing that I would want people to know also is that in talking to someone and in going to treatment, even if that was necessary, you are working in collaboration with people that are there to help you identify the path of least resistance for you, that there will be a lot of fear that rises around letting go of these behaviors. What would happen if I stopped doing this? Even people who purge, who don’t want to purge fear, not purging, because they’ll gain weight. And that fear of fat and what it’s associated with, right? So there’s a lot of fear and hesitation in actually allowing anyone in. So this is good for those people on the other side to hear too, that it’s not that they don’t want to change, but it’s that inner conflict.

There are different parts of these people at play. Their highest and wisest self wants something different. The most fearful part of them will override that nine times out of ten. And so knowing that when you go into this process, you’re going to identify what is hardest for you, scariest for you, as well as what feels most important to you, what feels most accessible to you as far as change. And it’s the stepwise process that will unfold slowly over time. So it’s not an all or nothing process. You’re going to start to build skills that will help you do the hard things. Because most of us did not learn any coping skills in our lives. If you had great parents, maybe you got lucky. If you had one awesome teacher, maybe you learned it there. But for most of us, we don’t have these skills. So you’re going into this to learn new ways of being, so that it’s less scary to change the way of being, so that when you go to do that really hard thing, you’ve got something that’s helping you feel equipped to do it. And then there is a huge block around the fear of weight gain, which can be a part of the process because bodies get so out of sorts, our metabolism might go into a hyperactive state or a hypoactive state.

And to know that if you stay the path, it balances out that it is never the goal of anyone’s team that they’re working with in treatment and in healing to make you gain weight, to be overweight, to be unhealthy. And it’s truly a fear that blocks people from getting help. That fear of fat is so overwhelming and that for the people in the binge eating category, that fear of doing it without dieting is kind of like that too. It’s like I have to do it in an extreme way and I have to get there. And that lack of hope and faith and trust in eating in a normalized way because we’re so far from knowing what that might even look like. So getting that education around nutrition as well is life changing. Most of us didn’t get that either, right? So to begin, reach out. Reach out to a therapist. And then look at working with a dietitian who’s going to help you, guide you down that road in a way that feels contained. So you don’t have to do all the control yourself. Someone’s there helping you, guiding you. Get in with your doctor, get some labs done, see where you’re at to know if you are safe. All this information all these people, they work for you. They’re there to help get you where you want to go.

Jellis Vaes
Exactly.

Ashley McHan
If you are someone who is relating to the conversation around our beliefs of ourself, around trauma, see a therapist. Find someone who does trauma work. Start that journey. You will find so much freedom at the end. If you can find a change in the way that you feel about yourself in this world, it will help you get to that place of possibility. Because underneath all of these challenges is a desire to feel happy. That’s literally why most people are doing it. They want to feel happy, they want to feel good. And that’s what we want for you too. So I hope that people reach out to get there.

Jellis Vaes
Yeah. And people who are, like, afraid to go to a therapist to talk about this because they feel ashamed or something, you should know that those people have likely seen this before and will totally understand you. Right?

Ashley McHan
Yeah. Therapy is definitely not a place of judgment. Our job is to be there to listen to it, to hear you, to support you, to thank you. And yes, most of us heard and seen it all and not blinked an eye. It’s a safe space, holding space, and I hope that people do find it. Now we have access to methods of therapy that goes online, through text, through video. There’s so many options out there which I’m really grateful for, because I think that that is helping people kind of break down that fear. And I hope to see the stigma around therapy continue to shift and change.

Jellis Vaes
This is a very practical question, but there’s so many kind of therapies out there. And you already mentioned trauma, like a trauma therapist. But is there any other specific kind of therapies that you would recommend to people struggling with an eating disorder?

Ashley McHan
Find someone who is an eating disorder specialist. Sure, there are certifications. There’s also people with just multitudes of years of experience. But finding someone who really does know eating disorders is important, much like seeing a doctor. They have different specializations because there is so much to know. Right? That’s why we see a psychiatrist. They specialize in the medication. So find a specialist. Start there. You might not relate to the need for trauma healing, so begin with a therapist who knows eating disorders. There are plenty of other modalities that I would recommend for building coping skills. People really benefit from dialectical behavior therapy when they feel like they don’t have anything like to stand on. But I would say do that with your eating disorder specialist or in conjunction. There’s lots of awesome groups out there. Again, online, virtual, self paced. Yeah, I would say that those would be like the best places to begin. Just find a therapist. That’s it. Don’t overcomplicate it. Begin.

Jellis Vaes
I know that a very difficult thing for people struggling with an eating disorder is that they relapse often. Like, why does that happen so often? And what can you do about that?

Ashley McHan
I think fear is the reason or something new happens in life and destabilizes and so they slide back into the old coping. I also think, as I said earlier, that if there is a part of us that is left without that healing experience, the likelihood of relapse is high. Because if you look at it, I could do the behavioral change, right? I might do great doing some of the behavioral change with a lot of support or going into treatment. The behavioral change is looking like eating according to a meal plan and getting out of restriction overeating binging. I might have a period of time where I’ve gone without purging or over exercising or using laxatives. Right? So we might behaviorally make a change, but if underneath it we still feel the same way, if underneath it we still carry those self limiting beliefs I’m not good enough, I am a failure, they’re likely to get triggered again and again and again. And here’s why. Not because it’s true, but because simply that it exists in your mind as a neural pathway. When you have an experience that is difficult or painful or brings up a feeling like an embarrassment or shame, boom.

More evidence for our mind, which is just holding this box in the back of our mind that’s like, feel free to store things here this strong neural pathway because it’s been repeated so long through your life. I am not good enough in the recesses of our mind, often subconsciously. Right. So how do you know if you’re carrying these beliefs if they’re subconscious? Well, if you’re self sabotaging, if you’re maladaptively coping, if you’re limiting yourself, if you’re not taking opportunities, if you don’t believe you deserve so, yeah, they’ll get tipped off again and that will definitely send someone into or not definitely, but possibly send someone into relapse. But it’s highly likely that that person, if they still aren’t feeling the way they want to feel in their life and for most of us, that’s not perfectly happy all the time. We’re just looking for a neutral baseline. We just want to feel like we can cope. We want to feel like we have a place in this world. We want to feel good enough. Right? So I do think that that is a big reason for relapse. Among others.

Jellis Vaes
Do you feel like retreats and online programs or like an online course is also very helpful or effective?

Ashley McHan
Yeah, absolutely. Retreats are a very interesting experience and there are a lot of different variations of retreats. One of the things that I offer now are EMDR only retreats and they’re one on one. And so we spend four days doing deep, intensive work. But the retreat in more of the traditional sense of being with a group of people that has this very, for lack of better word, magical effect for people where it’s this deep dive into connection, often with strangers. But the effect of being with people you don’t know also can sometimes free you up to truly be yourself and be honest. Knowing there’s a beginning and an end can give people this type of freedom and courage and bravery that they might lack otherwise and withhold and self protect. Being in a new and a different place, getting out of those. Familiar and triggering environments. Because our environments also trigger these patterns and behaviors can help us feel some freedom, some ease, the ability to do things a little differently. So I really believe in the power of retreats. Now, is a retreat going to get someone beginning to end of an eating disorder?

Ashley McHan
No. Is it going to likely help them develop new insights and understanding and connection to help them feel like they’re not alone? Yes. Courses are fantastic because we all have so much that we can learn, and someone might find something in a course that clicks for them and it helps them come out of one of the behaviors that’s plagued them for so long, which is similar to the work that we do one on one in courses. Like in the courses that I’m offering. It’s what I’m doing with people. One on one.

Jellis Vaes
Right.

Ashley McHan
Building block skills that here’s a practice. Go observe this. This week when you observe this, try this skill. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Now you’ve built a skill. Now you have a new level of awareness. And now that trigger. So maybe it’s an environmental trigger. Like, you go in the kitchen, think about how many rope behaviors we all have when we walk into the kitchen. Have you ever found yourself opening your refrigerator and you’re like, why am I even here? We had so many rope behaviors. These are environmental triggers, right? Our brain says, when we’re in the kitchen, open the fridge, open the cabinet. Why do we even walk into the kitchen? Well, because that’s what I’ve done in a rope pattern. As soon as I have a break, every break, I just walk in the kitchen. Oh, interesting. Now we have this awareness of this pattern. And when we have the awareness of it, we can feel that impulse and go, oh, I don’t need to walk in the kitchen right now. Or I do and it’s lunch and I know what I’m going to have because maybe another skill that I’m building is planning or preparing meals.

So there’s all these skills that can help us make movement. And I’d say a course might be more appropriate if you don’t relate to a diagnosis of an eating disorder, but you’re struggling with certain patterns of behavior, that might be a great place to start. A course might also be a great practice in conjunction with therapy to keep yourself moving, to be doing that work in the spaces between your week to week appointments. So, yeah, there’s a lot of value, I think, in both of those. Yeah.

Jellis Vaes
I mean, the path to healing is never just like one thing, right? Like it’s many little things that help in the end.

Ashley McHan
Yeah, definitely. We didn’t answer the question about caregivers loved ones exactly, who are concerned.

Jellis Vaes
That’s what I want to move actually to. The people now listening, who might well, who have someone in their life who might be struggling with an eating disorder, or they think that someone is struggling with one. What is the best way to start that conversation? Let’s say that you have your child and you think they’re struggling with an eating disorder. How do you approach them? How do you talk to them? How can you be there for that?

Ashley McHan
The approach with a child is much different than with an adult. So I’d say first with an adult, a friend, a loved one saying, I see this, how can I support you? There’s a lot of fear, like we were talking about earlier, about letting people in. Many people with eating disorders have had very difficult experiences with loved ones either. Making comments about their bodies, what they eat, trying to force change, trying to make the change happen for them, and asking the person how you can support them is the best way to find out how. What one person is going to be comfortable with is going to be very different than the next. What one person is going to allow is going to be very different than the next. Letting them know that you’re there and that you care and that you will do what will help them and what they need is really important. And I know that for anyone who’s out there who’s struggling with someone with a severe eating disorder, the need and safety can change. What that looks like, it can feel like that’s not enough. In reality, with an adult, it is only them who can change.

But letting them know that you’ll go to the appointment with them, that you’ll hold their hand, that you’re not judging, that you will support, is so valuable because it’s really hard to have safe people when anyone who sees it can start to feel like a threat. Right? Like everyone’s threatening this way of being that I believe that I need to hold on to, to be okay. I hope that after listening to this, people have a slightly different understanding of what the experience is like, that it’s not just about food, it’s not just about behavioral change, but that it’s about healing on a much broader scale. And I hope that that helps people to see it through a different lens, because just making someone eat, which is what often happens, doesn’t actually help them change, and it can inhibit that person from accessing support. So another tip I would say is avoid commenting on body. Avoid commenting on the food in a way that isn’t helpful, because that can really be separating rather than connecting when it comes to a child, I would say immediately to a doctor, get labs done, make sure that they’re safe and stable and look into the modsley method, which is child based eating disorder treatment.

There’s a lot more involvement of adults, as there should be when we’re talking about children and also just looking at them still through this lens. Is this because of a food related fear much like ARFID? Or is this about how they feel about themselves already at a young age? Because we are seeing that shift, younger and younger and younger kids are struggling with their body image.

Jellis Vaes
You mentioned that you shouldn’t make comments about their bodies like that’s a clear red flag, right to do. Are there any other clear red flags that you definitely shouldn’t do?

Ashley McHan
Anything forceful around… You have to eat like that struggle that we want to get in if someone is refusing to eat and anything that’s shaming, which I think is hard for a lot of people to have awareness of, but it can be very how to describe this? That how do you describe the shaming? What is it that gets internalized? It isn’t necessarily our fault when we’re making comments and someone else is personalizing them. So I’m having a hard time describing this. Yeah, I would say really just not making comments about body and trying not to focus on food as the solution, but to instead help the person connect to the awareness that this is beyond food and that you’re there to support them in getting the help that they need.

Jellis Vaes
Most people, of course, when they see someone struggling, want to be there for them. But then you also have people who don’t really are just confused about what’s going on because they just don’t understand what an eating disorder is or something.

Ashley McHan
Oh, this is good because what you’re talking about is that kind of what I was trying to speak to earlier. That was difficult to frame. But family members can get really frustrated, angry, agitated. They want something good for the person who is struggling. They want better, they want to be able to help. Eating disorders can tear people apart though, because when they’re not seeing you make the change, not seeing you take care of yourself, seeing you do harm, it can very much wear. And that is a big concern that this is a behavior, this is not the person right. These actions, these patterns, this is still not who this person is. And so trying to stay mindful of that in those moments of anger and agitation, it’s I hate that you’re struggling with this not directed at the person about who they are. And that’s a really important thing to understand that I don’t think that a lot of people have an awareness of. But it is much like working with children, throwing tantrums in a store, ignore the behavior, not the child. That these are people who are suffering regardless of what it looks like on the outside, because it can look reticent.

It can look like refusal. It can look like they don’t care, that they don’t want to, that they’re rejecting you. And they might be. But that should also indicate to us the extent of the depth of their entrenchment and the eating disorder, that it feels often like you’re losing the person that you loved.

Jellis Vaes
Are there any books or podcast episodes or any other resources out there that you could recommend to anyone listening struggling with an eating disorder and anyone listening wanting to help someone?

Ashley McHan
Yes, but I would have to send them to you because I can’t think of the name of the podcast correctly and probably a lot of books, but as soon as you said it, I have like 50 million books on my book.

Jellis Vaes
Don’t worry, you can just send me some. And for everyone listening, just check the show notes because everything will be linked up there. So yeah, later just send them to me. But if something pops up, you just tell me.

Ashley McHan
Okay, good.

Jellis Vaes
All right, I just have two more questions. So when I was doing some research about eating disorders and about you, I also saw that you have three very beautiful children. And this just made me think of the following question. Social media is well, with each generation more and more a part of that generation, their lives, or at least it seems so. And I’m definitely not saying that social media is the only source why people have an eating disorder or something or that might make it harder, but it definitely can be a contributor. And I’m just wondering, as a parent, how do you teach your children to not compare themselves to the Instagram models or anything else on social media?

Ashley McHan
It’s interesting question for those people out there who are also thinking along the lines of eating disorders, are they affected? Social media turns the volume up on any self doubt we have, right? So if we have that lingering belief in the back of our mind that we’re not good enough, and then we see someone with, like, a better something than us when it comes to body comparisons, too. What you’ll find? Is most people have something in particular on a part of their body that they hyper focus on. And so then they’ll compare to that particular part of another person. So if it’s an arm or a nose, right? And so it’s like they’re just turning the volume up without meaning to. Every time they look at social media, they’re seeing examples of what they consider perfect. They’re going, I’m not that, I’m not that, I’m not that. And that feeling of not enoughness goes up with it. So how do we teach our kids not to compare? I only have one child who’s of an age that they would think about social media. He’s a teenager and he doesn’t have it because here’s the thing I can talk to him about not comparing.

The effects of social media are so profound that it is nearly impossible, nearly impossible for that to not somehow get into his mental state. And so for now in the discussion about comparison, I think that that is still so valuable though it’s not that we can’t help our kids, right? We can help our kids. We want to help them be mentally and emotionally strong. And so we talk to our kids about their relationship with themselves, how they’re feeling. We talk about your kids strengths. You can talk about what they think are their weaknesses. You can be there as a support to listen and to help them understand. Be aware of where they’re potentially judging themselves because that’s exactly where they’re comparing, right? Help your child to see that they are enough and remind them of that. We can’t take for granted that sometimes just hearing these things as a child is enough up until for some kids age nine, others age twelve, what they are hearing of who they are in this world goes in their mind like a concrete black white belief. So if they are told by anyone you’re not good enough, that truly could just be it written.

Kids also infer. So the beliefs that they have about themselves don’t always come directly from the messages they received verbally. But if unfortunately in circumstances research has shown of divorce, kids will feel like it was because of them. Now again, we can work with our kids and we can help them heal that belief. That is not written for someone who has been in a divorce, but to know that that it is that black and white for kids. So talking to our kids is so important, helping them understand their value and enoughness and that there actually isn’t perfect. There actually isn’t perfect unless we redefine perfect to be whatever feels good for you without anxiety. Is this enough for you? Do you feel good? Perfect. You’re doing your homework and you made a mistake and you cross it off. Keep moving. That’s perfect. So I think that again, helping our kids build an awareness of themselves that is healthy and balanced and how to cope. So the other piece around comparison and social media is talking about like oh, is it hard to see that? What’s it feel like when you’re, when you look at that, when you see that kid getting that award or when you see someone driving that fancy car?

What is that like? What’s that make you feel like helping them draw those connections? Like I actually do feel kind of crappy. Okay, so what do we want to do with that? Because again, going back to that podcast of yours where it’s like being aware of the fact that you have these thoughts is actually a superpower. It’s not a bad thing very much, right? So being able to recognize that we do. Have difficult thoughts that we do compare because we’re going to do it. The way our brains are built, unfortunately, is to identify problems constantly. Our Amygdala is like a heat seeking device because it wanted us long, long ago to stay safe and alive, but now we find images on Instagram that are the problem. The problem is I’m not that I don’t have that. Okay, well, that’s good to be aware of that. That feels like a problem that that feels awful today, that you feel sad or frustrated or agitated or less than. So what do you want to do with that? Right. Where do you want to direct your focus? What’s something that you can take your face away from your phone and go outside and do instead and recognize?

Oh, yeah, I actually can feel good in this moment if I’m here and I’m present. As research shows, we feel best when we’re doing whatever we’re doing, honestly, even if we don’t enjoy it that much, we’re happier than when we go on social media.

Jellis Vaes
Yeah, it’s a good answer to a very difficult question. The last question that I have for you, Ashley is there any question that I didn’t ask, that you hoped I would ask? Or is there anything more that you just would like to share about eating disorders or I mean, if nothing comes up and you feel like we covered it to a degree at least, I.

Ashley McHan
Feel like we’ve covered a lot. I feel like that’s good. I think that the only other thing that I want people to know is that change is possible, and it’s not. It doesn’t need to be correlated with suffering in that freedom from this. If you ask yourself deep down, like, do I do I want to feel free? What do I really want to feel? That thing that you want to feel is possible without these patterns. And find someone who will help you grow that belief in the possibility and help you change the way that you feel in your life, in your body, in your relationship with yourself, because simply cracking open the belief in that possibility is one of the most important steps.

Jellis Vaes
Ashley, thank you so much for this interview and for just giving your time.

Ashley McHan
Thank you so much for having me. This is wonderful.

Jellis Vaes
I do have one final end question that I ask all my guests, and I would love to ask you that question as well. But before I ask that question, what is the best place for listeners to connect with you? And is there anything that you’re excited about that you would like them to check out?

Ashley McHan
Yeah, you can find me at www.ashleymchan.com. And McHan is M-C-H-A-N. There you’ll find free resources for Coping journaling, some yoga and otherwise. I am launching rounds. Of course, Change Your Relationship with Food, which is aimed at people who are struggling with overeating and binging. And that course will open in rounds, so if you miss one opening contact at any time to get in with the next group. I’m also offering EMDR retreats for people who feel like they really are ready to do that part of the work and take that journey. And there will be more seasonal retreats that are not focused on trauma therapy, but that are for groups coming in the next year, so keep your eye out.

Jellis Vaes
Cool.

Ashley McHan
Sign up for the newsletter to find out when those will be coming around.

Jellis Vaes
Awesome. So all those things will be linked up in the show notes for everyone listening. The final end question, Ashley, and take your time with it. You can make it as short or as long as you want. From everything that you’ve seen, experienced, lived and learned in your life, what is the one thing you know to be true?

Ashley McHan
That we are all good enough. That we were born whole and complete and enough, and that in this life, I hope we all get back to that understanding.

Jellis Vaes
Thank you once again, Ashley, for this interview.

Ashley McHan
Thank you so much for having me, Jellis. It was great.

Jellis Vaes
And there we are, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this episode with eating disorder and trauma specialist Ashley McKenna. I hope you found this interview to be enlightening and well, that you gained some key insights from it about eating disorders to either better beater for yourself or someone else. As always, to find all the resources mentioned in the interview, like the Vice documentary Ashley was in, any book recommendations and additional info on the topic of eating disorders, as well as ways to connect with Ashley, check out the show notes located in the description of this episode. Or you can of course, always go directly to ipsproject.blog and search for Ashley to find them. With that, I thank you for being here and for learning more about this most important topic. If you enjoyed listening to The IPS Podcast, don’t forget to follow it on whichever platform you’re listening to it right now, and I hope I can welcome you again on another episode and another journey here on The IPS Podcast. This is your host, Jellis Vaes, signing off.

The IPS Academy
Before you take off, if you already feel like you’ve gained many lessons and insights from this episode and you want to continue your journey of personal growth, be sure to take a look at The IPS Academy, where we offer in depth, quality and fun online courses from experts that have appeared here on the podcast. Learn from a two time world record holder how to master goal setting and confidence. Learn from a certified stress educator how to manage your stress and live a more balanced life. Learn from a therapist how to heal past wounds. And learn from a neuroscientist to master your mindset. These are but some of the course topics you can find at The IPS Academy. Each course we offer is made with fun animations and stunning illustrations. There are also a few lessons to try for free so you can get a taste of what the course is like. We have countless reviews from other students so you can see what others think. And last but not least, there is a 30 day money back guarantee if you end up not liking the course. If any of this sounds interesting to you, you can check out our courses by going to TheIPSProject.com/academy or by clicking on the link in the description of this episode.

If you feel that you’ve gained some insights and lessons from this interview, and you are curious to see what else we offer at The IPS Project, check out The IPS Academy, where we offer online courses taught by guests here on The IPS Podcast.

Learn more about essential life topics, such as mental health, relationships, the mind, and the body and the brain, through fun and interactive courses. Simply go to TheIPSProject.com/academy.

What is also interesting to note is that all the courses are quite affordable, as we at The IPS Project do not want money to stand in the way of bettering one’s life. Each course has a few lessons to try for free, so you get a taste of what the course is like.

We have countless reviews from other students so you can see what others think, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you end up not liking the course. Again, check them out at TheIPSProject.com/academy.

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