Listening to Your Body with Charis Stiles, LCSW
Charis Stiles, LCSW

Today, Charis Stiles and I discuss how connecting to your body can be a portal to heal not just food and body image issues, but to heal all of your life. She uses somatic practices and re-parenting techniques to help her clients move through emotional and physical pain and leads us through a 3-minute affectionate breathing exercise about two-thirds of the way through this episode. You might want to be sitting down in a quiet place to get the full benefit from this loving practice!

Charis Stiles, LCSW is a fat-positive therapist in the Bay Area, specializing her practice in Healthy at Every Size® (HAES), insecurity and self-worth issues, living with chronic illness, and gender identity. She graduated UC Berkeley with a Master’s in Social Work, and has taught workshops and classes for San Jose State University, Bay Area Legal Aid Association, and SFSU Summer Institute on Sexuality, among others. In addition to her therapeutic practice, she is an energy worker (Reiki II Practitioner) and certified in expressive arts therapy. She lives in Oakland with her temperamental cat, Lenore, where she works towards collective (fat) liberation while growing strawberries on her balcony.    

Show Highlights

  • The challenges of living with chronic illness and pain
  • Many people who deal with chronic illness are advised to restrict foods and how she helps them balance this tension
  • How hard it is to tune into your body when you experience a lot of physical pain
  • Using compassionate touch with yourself to self-soothe
  • The power of naming the pain or discomfort in your body
  • Knowing that emotional and physical sensations can be temporary
  • Learning how to accept the diversity of our bodies 
  • How it was for her working with a very thin therapist who had a real blind spot about fat oppression
  • Her recognition that she might be the only person in someone’s life who is communicating a HAES® message
  • The way her chronic illness helped her reconnect to her body
  • How to use intuitive movement with emotions and pain
  • Looking at the role of restriction in all areas of life
  • Moving away from perfectionism 
  • How she works with folks scared of getting or staying fat
  • Externalizing fears around fatness
  • What does your fear of fatness mean?(That no one will love me, that I will always be alone, that I won’t be worthy and respectful of good treatment?)
  • Dieting can be a way of controlling difficult emotions
  • How do you structure your life without that diet or exercise regime to structure yourself?
  • What are the bigger longings that you have?
  • Learning to take pleasure in life in all its forms

Links & Resources:

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Charis Stiles Psychotherapy