About Lena CromartieLena's ancestral roots are in Scotland. From there, her ancestors travelled and lived all over the world, and Lena similarly spent her early life in multicultural environments and in a number of countries. Aotearoa New Zealand is now her permanent home.
Lena has experienced and has recovered from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. Following this she trained in counselling, life coaching, and psychotherapy, as well as numerous other approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling, an accredited Diploma in Life Coaching, a specialist Diploma in Practitioner Skills for Eating Disorders, and is a registered accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, as well as a full member of and registered with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors. She is the author of Bingeing, Dieting and You: 30 things every woman needs to know. From 2010 to 2020 she ran a busy private practice dedicated to individuals experiencing Eating Disorders and other eating and body image issues; and after a break which included further training she has recently re-opened her practice for one-on-one sessions.
Through her personal lived experience and her professional experience, Lena is aware both of the challenges faced by those with eating and body image issues, and of pathways to recovery. She loves sharing her knowledge and supporting others on their personal or professional journeys. She is committed to the ongoing development of her skills and knowledge and, through professional journals and international conferences, to keeping up to date with the latest research and its application.
Photograph by Jo Mohi
A personal letter to you from Lena
If you’re having difficulties with food or are unhappy with your body, and would like to change this situation, some sessions at Freedom with Food may be what you’re looking for.
For most people, the way forward is via a 10 week programme of weekly sessions. This programme has been extensively tested in the UK and Australia, and has been found to help many people make changes to difficulties with food and body concerns, even when these difficulties and concerns are extreme. I offer a adapted version of this programme in the setting of a small, supportive group of others who are experiencing similar difficulties, or alternatively one-on-one.
In either setting, the focus of the programme is on finding out what has been keeping the current situation in place, and on actively making changes to how you eat, how you think, how you manage difficult feelings, and how you experience your body. This approach is tailored to you: the sections of the programme used will be in response to your needs. Whether in a group or one-on-one, this approach involves committing to fully taking part in the sessions (4 initially, then a further 6 if the approach is enabling you to make changes) and taking the recommended daily action between sessions. The resulting changes usually continue to develop and consolidate after the end of the 10 weeks.
For a few people this approach isn’t the right one, and in this situation I can offer an alternative. Similarly to the 10 session programme, the starting point is to ensure that your eating can provide a foundation for the kind of relationship with food and your body you want to create. After this, a form of contemporary one-on-one psychotherapy is offered. In weekly sessions, you are supported in finding out and healing any underlying issues which have been keeping in place your current (or recurrent) difficulties with food and your body. This approach is also tailored to you and your unique combination of strengths and challenges. It involves weekly one-on-one sessions over a period of time, as well as regular practice in between sessions. The resulting deep healing can not only transform your relationship with food and your body, but also past memories and other areas of your current life.
If this might be the right time for you to give it a go, the starting point would be for you to complete a short questionnaire and for us to meet one-on-one for half an hour.
We can talk through any questions you have about what I offer, and I can let you know about the options for you, at Freedom with Food and elsewhere.
If you decide to go ahead and book some group or one-on-one sessions, the next step will be to complete a number of questionnaires about the current situation with food and your body. (If one-on-one psychotherapy is the approach we agree on, there will also be a questionnaire about your personal history to complete.) The aim is to help you see every aspect of the issues clearly as a preparation for the sessions, and to help me know how best to support you in making changes.
Please note that although some people find they lose weight when their eating stabilises, neither of these routes to change is designed to be a weight loss programme. If knowing this affects your readiness to sign up, I invite you to arrange a meeting with me anyway so that we can talk this through together.
If there is any other information that would help you decide your next step, just let me know.
MNZAC, Registered with NZAC
Registered Member MBACP (Accred)
Dip Practitioner Skills for Eating Disorders
PG Dip Counselling
Dip Life Coaching