Bringing SOUL Into Mind-Body Treatment for Eating Disorders


Trixie Hennessey

date published

May 26, 2021, noon



Dear fellow therapists, 

It goes without saying that recent circumstances have brought many things to a standstill, and yet those of us in the helping field find ourselves busier than ever!

Since the beginning of the pandemic, simply put, I have done a YOU-turn (although I am pretty sure it is not illegal). At first the upheaval had me looking for more answers and control in the seemingly unending uncertainty, particularly in response to the overwhelming distress felt by my clients. I tried to hold on tight to what would create a sense of safety and structure for all those looking for me to lead the way. 

Just like most of you, I have undergone countless training, read stacks of books and scoured articles looking for more depth of knowledge and clarity about the eating disorder recovery process itself. I kept seeking answers of how I could be of service to those who trusted me to guide them to greater mental health. 

I realize I had been relying on my clients to adopt structures, skills and strategies that looked good on paper (and were even supported by research) but often did not truly get internalized in an embodied way,which created internal dissonance. Ultimately this would lead to poor follow-through, and at times, an increased sense of hopelessness and shame for myclients. Now don’t get me wrong,it is very important for clients to rely on structures that will get them out of the acute eating disorder phase - there is far too much at stake here! The issues tend to come after stabilization - when the client seems to “know better” and just can’t seem to “do better” and use their acquired skills. 

All I knew for sure, was that something was missing in this phase of treatment, and I could feel it was something big… 

And it kept getting bigger. 

As it always does, contrast did eventually lead me to clarity.

I started to let go of needing the answers and began to lean into the questions: 

What was being asked of me to rise up to? 

How could I bring my best self to my work and my life? 

What did I need to let go of? 

How could I best care for myself and my clients at this moment?

How will I set boundaries with the growing demands on me?

What I learned has changed my life both personally and professionally, as well as how I see the world. 

Now, my practice is focused on guiding a client to their own alignment so that their external journey is at a point of agreement with their instinctual, highest self or intuition. 

The missing piece to my mind-body-emotion framework was soul

And so, I have spent the last year learning an Intuitive Focused Therapy framework, and I now am equipped to empower my clients to find their deepest wisdom through igniting their own intuition. This work has changed my relationship with myself, my clients and my family. It has also radically changed my conversations, focusing on what will unite us rather than divide us, bringing enthusiasm back into my therapy work, and supporting the initiatives I feel most inspired by.

The world will continue to change. The nature of life is change and all things pass-- that’s always been true and always will be. The ultimate safety that we can count on amidst all the flux is INNER SAFETY. I now know wholeheartedly that this comes from our sense of trust in our inner wisdom. 

There is so much more to igniting intuition than simply practicing intuitive eating (however amazing that is!) It is helping your clients building a sense of self that strongly knows whatthey need.

Know that whatever you embrace transforms.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Author’s bio:

Trixie Hennessey MSW.,RSW. is a Registered Therapist and SoulStrong Intuitive Coach Instructor and mentor. Trixie is well respected in the field of eating disorders and known for her work with grief. She has received post Masters training in Neurosequential Therapy, Narrative Therapy and is an advanced Emotion Focused Family Therapist.. Trixie is also a certified End-of-Life Doula. 

Her passion is helping her clients turn their soul’s mission into a movement that leads them directly to the best versions of themselves. Trixie knows personally and professionally how powerful the intuitive process can be in gaining clarity, and supporting the healing process.  Trixie now runs an Intuitive Eating & Food Freedom course three times per year based on the Intuitive Focused Therapy framework. This program offers a new way forward, away from self-criticism, body hate and disordered eating. 

Trixie Hennessey MSW. RSW.

Instagram: @soulstronglife

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