According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), an estimated 21% of Canadians will face problems with addiction during their lifetimes. On top of that, one million Canadians meet the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders.
Counsellor Shannon Freud helps clients face these problems.
“When it comes to eating disorders, addictions, or any kind of habit,” she says, “there are several different stages of change.”
Those stages are:
- Pre-contemplation. The individual is engaged in destructive behaviour, but doesn’t recognize it—even if others do.
- Contemplation. They begin to understand they may have a problem.
- Preparation. They reach out for help, learn coping skills, and get ready to change their behaviour.
- Action. They actually change their behaviour—quitting the habit.
- Maintenance. After quitting, the individual follows healthy practices to ensure they don’t relapse.
When someone is trapped in a habit, Freud says, “They can’t see a life that’s different, without [it] in their life.” But with help from a therapist, they can begin the healing journey.