Eradicating food compulsions – more encounters with “The White Plate”!

February 18, 2011 Post Comment Uncategorised

In April 2010 I blogged about the recurrence of the white plate as the featured receptacle when mapping across ‘Liked’ foods/drinks and ‘Disliked’ foods/drinks. (See blog archive).

On all occasions since, when clients have actually wanted to eradicate some particular excess or craving, then the foul and obnoxious has always been represented by them as being on a white plate.

This latest encounter was with, initially, cans of Cola vs Black Pudding.

I first got her to map (or locate) where the spatial representations were of her sensual perception of both a can of cola (the liked) and then some black pudding (the disliked).
There wasn’t a huge directional difference between the liked/disliked locations – however the distance away from the client was substantial and, as it turned out, very usable. I had to be quite creative (and manipulative) with this because the drink was inside a metal container! However, as the white plate adorned with black pudding was “brought” from its distant location right up to where her can was represented, for the purposes of her imagined experience, I broke some of the black pudding into small enough pieces to drop into the can once that had been opened. We duly tested and she visibly recoiled from any indulgence in partaking of the can of Cola.

Now she had a situation where she would be unsure about every future can she would open – so the reality sequence would be < open can - pause - check if drink contains particles of black pudding - but how to do this? - smell to check or pour into a glass? - or (great alternative) just don't bother >.
In all these interrupts of her former habitual ‘addiction’ is the conscious opportunity to take a ‘better drink’ option.
So – what if she DID pour the can into a glass? “Its not the same in a glass, not as fizzy,” she said. It would appear that for her the ‘quality of fizziness’ was key and so cola in a glass or, even worse, flat, is quite unattractive.

After this routine she said, “Well – so what about all the sweets and stuff that is not good for me as well…can we do something about them?” She was clearly up for taking advantage of this ‘opportunity for change’.

With time not being on our side as far as her appointment was concerned, I took a bit of a punt on her mapped position of sweets being in the same location as her cans of cola. We brought the white plate, black pudding, can and all, and put it back in the requisite location for her – and I invited her to enlarge the plate into a kind of platter. One that was big enough to take those things already there PLUS any sweets, cakes etc that she had an unhealthy compulsion to consume. I reminded her about all the unsavoury delights of the black pudding, as it sat there, in her vivid imagination, rubbing shoulders with cakes and sweets.
After a bit of contemplation she said, “Can you please move this platter away?” With this done we concluded her appointment shortly after running through some future pacing and encountering her erstwhile compulsive favourites.

Time will tell whether the hurried second part of the process has any effect, though I have to say that her state and particular physiological reactions bear out my gut feeling that it has. I await to receive her feedback in due course!

And this left me thinking, yet again, about the white plate! White crockery is very popular, so why does this popularity extend to using it quite in this representative (or metaphorical) way. I’ve asked everyone – including myself – what is it about the white plate? Some say it just sets the disliked thing off really well; some say the pure of the white is the best contrast for the disliked thing; some, like me, just don’t know.