I received training on the Decoding Process during the winter/spring 2012 session. I use the decoding process with all of my clients and find it extremely helpful. It allows my clients to clearly see the connection they have with food, exercise, and their bodies. There is a great sense of relief when clients finally have insight into the question, “Why am I doing this?”. When I hear clients say things like,” … I realized that what I truly needed at that time was…” or when I see them pull a Chi Chart out of their purse then I know that the Decoding Process is making a difference. The forms are easy to follow and the information that the webcast and Barbara Birsinger provide are invaluable. Thank you, Barbara Birsinger, for this wonderful tool. I look forward to this [Summer ‘12] session and appreciate the opportunity to have continued access to the Decoding materials.
Thanks for letting us stay on and listen to these modules second time around. I have incorporated these tools into my practice and am now using them regularly. Barbara’s behavioral decoding class was fantastic. I have nothing but good things to say about how useful it has been. I absolutely love having this resource in my practice. I have recommended this workshop to several people. Loved it. Quite honestly, your tools have been a life-saver. They are my “go-to” when I am in the midst of working with someone and realize I am stuck, or even when I need a starting point. They are now probably my number one most reliable tool in my toolbox, and I am very grateful. Many people have this information but what you have provided is the method for organizing and presenting and using the knowledge. It helps me organize my thoughts around which direction to go with a client.
Hi Barbara, I am sad to have had to miss yesterday’s call (regular client appt at that time) but I have an experience using the process now for the first time, that I would like to share with you and the group. FYI, this is what I was doing yesterday during the call – thought I would try out what I am learning in real time so we embarked on the initial decoding food cravings! What I found most interesting is this: I have been working with this client on her emotional eating issues for over 1 year – I know her well and we have been talking in depth about what purpose the food is serving that isn’t about hunger. I thought we had gotten to the root of things pretty well. And yet, using this process yesterday there were things that came out that had NEVER come up before that are VERY significant! Thought you would like to hear about that!
I am not sure if you remember the interrogating that I put you through prior to purchasing your program. I was uneasy spending several hundred dollars on another program that I felt would not teach me anything that I did not know after 20 years of counseling. Your program was different. Helping clients deconstruct their own food cravings, resistance to exercise, or JABS, among many other topics was fascinating for both of us [clinician and client]. Each time I see my client’s body language and face as they provide me with their answers, I can see them unraveling years of confusion about their relationship with food or their body. I am not saying that I was able to “cure” anyone yet using this tool, but it has been one of the best tools I have found yet. It is interactive and systematic which is very different than motivational interviewing or simple dialoging. Please keep innovative tools coming. I also have enjoyed your accessibility. You are prompt in answering questions and making your purchaser feel like we are good friends. Thanks again. Warm Regards
I have been using the process with several clients and they love it.
Just viewed it [Decoding Video], super user-friendly – great stuff, thanks Barbara!
Thank you Barbara. I have really enjoyed this [Behavior Decoding Method™} Training
I look forward to continuing to revisit the materials often as it was amazing, and a large amount of information to take in at one time and implement. I am just starting to build a disordered eating practice within my community and I look forward to putting these tools to use and becoming more comfortable with my knowledge gained. Thank you!
I just want to say that the money I spent on your [Behavior Decoding Method] training programs is the best money I ever spent in pragmatic support of my clients who suffer from food and weight related issues. I am really appreciating you, Barbara, particularly today for all these useful [decoding] charts. What a ton of work you have done for us….and your work is brilliant.” (This and my time with Dr Anita Johnston, The Body Positive, Carolyn Costin, Elissa Freedman Shapiro, Doris Smeltzer, Marilyn Wann, Ragen Chastain, Judith Matz, Linda Bacon and Francie White…..along with Traci Haynes, Deb McCafferty and Lise Welsh and the women in my ongoing groups have influenced me the most in this area.
FAQs: The Behavior Decoding Method Training for Professionals
1. When and how is a Decoding Process introduced to clients?
- Introducing a Decoding Process is covered in the Training in depth, and when and how it is introduced also depends on your assessment of your client.
- Initially, let clients know that there are many techniques that may be used in your work together, and one of them is called the Behavior Decoding Method, which helps the client to find the positive intention and purpose for their current behaviors. There are different Decoding Processes for the different behaviors that may be addressed in future sessions. There are handout materials that can be given ahead of time so that the client can become more familiar with the language and focus on the Decoding Processes.
- In one of your sessions, there may be the behavior that the client is working on, and it might seem a perfect time to introduce Decoding. There should be at least 40 minutes to continue with the session or plan for the next session to begin.
- There is a Quick Decoding Process that clients can use to prepare during the week before the Decoding session. The Quick Decoding is also used after a Decoding Session for the client to practice Decoding in real time–at the time of engaging, or thinking of engaging, in their behaviors.
2. How do I know which clients are appropriate for the different Decoding Processes? Is there a particular time in their treatment?
- Barbara covers this in the training for each process, but generally, this is related to the client’s diagnosis or behavior history, symptoms, and level of ability to access and discuss feelings, needs, and level of responsibility in their treatment. Most people can do these processes. It is up to your professional assessment of your client, your level of rapport, and your training in the Behavior Decoding Method.
3. Is this Training something that clinicians just starting out in a new practice can use easily?
- Yes, once trained, all of the Decoding Processes are done similarly, with different questions and content.
- This Training provides a “take-away” approach. You can practice using the Behavior Decoding Method right away.
- Professional Peer Support is also provided in the Training.
- A Private Membership Site for participants in the training holds all of the downloadable materials and post-live webinar recordings for missed live sessions and reviewing at your convenience.
4. How does the Decoding Process help clients who don’t want to look at their behaviors?
- It provides a new way of seeing things—because it is self-guided, it helps them find their own language, their own solutions, and therefore, they are less resistant to, and often don’t require outside suggestions on ways to transform their behaviors. Because it uses the current behaviors, it is not asking more of the client than where they are, or can access, in present time.
5. How does this process help really stuck clients?
- By being in rapport with their current behaviors, (not just wanting them to stop a behavior or to take on a new behavior) but truly having compassion for the underlying meaning and purpose in the current behaviors, and that there may be something even more precious to the client than we are aware of; this gives the client permission, acceptance and full appreciation of themselves just as they are, and creates the space for self-empowerment, self-discovery, and higher motivation for self-care. Our clients are then more ready to take the “leap of faith” and trust that they can get what they need and want, and begin to practice healthy self-care. We then can work with them on developing a clear picture and felt sense of what it would be like to have all of that and more, working with the beliefs and identity structure to make possible the movement from their current stuck state, to a desired state that feels possible.
6. How long can you use these processes with clients?
- Throughout their course of treatment, because so much rich information is revealed, not all of it can be addressed immediately. Also, information from the Decoding Process may be very useful for other team members to address (the client’s psychotherapist, nutrition therapist, or other health professionals) and working together as a team with these processes enriches the client’s experience. Many professionals use this process for weeks, months and beyond. The Processes can be repeated over time as well, showing progress, as well as new information.
7. Can the Behavior Decoding Method be used with groups?
- Yes! Barbara will cover this as a specific training topic in the Webinar. There are separate handouts to use with groups.
- First It is important to implement the process with individuals to learn the nuances of working with Decoding, then branch out to using it with groups.
- Basically, the process is the same, but how it is delivered to a group is very different, and group dynamics must be considered.
- Clinicians find it serves as a powerful discussion topic for many weeks.
- The Behavior Decoding Method can be used with Closed Groups (set number of sessions with a start and finish, no new participants added), or with Open Groups (on-going group with revolving participation: clients leave and new ones enter)
- The Decoding Processes can be a great addition to Parent or Support Carer Groups, for those who have loved ones with eating and weight issues, either in a treatment program or in out-patient care. Loved ones who are in relationship with the client, have found the Decoding Process revealing for themselves as well, since many people experience one or more of these behaviors too. Having a personal experience with Decoding Behaviors gives loved ones a new perspective on what the client may be going through, and why it isn’t as simple as just stopping a behavior.
8. Can the Decoding Process be used for kids and young teens?
- Yes, and it depends on the clinician’s level of rapport, the severity of the child or teen’s eating and/or weight issue and their ability to access feelings and discuss emotional meaning. Case by case.
9. How does the Decoding apply to people who are obsessed with losing weight, whether eating disorder or chronic dieter?
- It helps them to find what is the underlying meaning in their quest for weight loss (it is never truly about the weight). Once they discover this, it gives them a whole new perspective, and helps them to get unstuck from the diet-weight-loss-obsession cycle, so that they can move toward healthy behaviors and beyond the numbers on the scale or clothing size, for lasting healthy lifestyle changes.
- The Decoding Processes are used in the context of the well-researched Health At Every Size approach, and each process is related to one of the HAES-® Tenets.
10. How do professional participants in the Training interact with each other?
- Participation happens on the Live Question and Answer/Coaching Webinars, and on the Professionals Private Membership Site for confidential case studies/consultations and sharing experiences, as well as an individual contact when requested.
11. Does this approach help clients connect with their body, and how does it help them to trust themselves?
- Yes, by giving them a process to access feelings through their actual behaviors, to uncover the emotions, both triggering and emotions being sought through the behavior, as well as their deep, soulful needs, which reside in the body. Once accessed, it takes time for trust to develop, and for clients to realize that they can survive their fears, as well as other feelings and desires.
12. Are the Decoding Processes conducted differently for clients who experience disordered eating and weight-related behaviors, but have different diagnoses or are in different stages in their recovery?
- Not really, with the exception of severe food restriction and underweight or severe bulimia, as these clients may not have the mental and emotional capacity at this extreme, and their focus may need to be in a higher level of care so that they can restore physically, and remain medically stable in order to fully process the information.
13. What about using the Behavior Decoding Method with clients who are considering or who have undergone Bariatric Surgery (Weight Loss Surgery)?
- The Behavior Decoding Method is especially useful before WLS—the client discovers why efforts to lose weight have not been sustainable in the past, and what behaviors can support their best health currently. In doing so, many people find that they can postpone the surgery to experience an alternative, non-invasive and health-sustaining approach that has been shown through scientific studies to raise metabolic fitness, body esteem, appreciation, self-acceptance, and personal empowerment, something that weight loss, through whatever means, cannot solely achieve.
- The Behavior Decoding Method is also useful after WLS—to help prevent relapse and weight re-gain, which occurs in nearly half of people undergoing these procedures. Since WLS does not address the causes of health problems (which is not due to body weight alone, and contrary to popular thought, may not be due to body weight at all); nor does WLS address the causes of weight gain; a person’s genetic, social or cultural history; the failures of weight loss, nor the underlying drivers for disordered eating and weight-related behaviors–these issues can be addresses post-WLS to promote long-term health, regardless of weight lost or regained.