The Recovery ABC’s

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Clementine Miami Pinecrest Clinical Director Bertha Tavarez, PsyD discusses the “Recovery ABC’s in this week’s blog post. Dr. Tavarez explains how she and her team use the framework to help guide adolescents on their recovery journey.

As a clinical director of Clementine, my team and I guide adolescents in sculpting a recovered identity that will sustain them through the later stages of treatment and beyond. As you can imagine, helping carve out this identity presents with additional challenges because adolescents in general are just beginning to individuate from their families and develop a standalone “I am.” What follows this “I am” statement can set an individual on a path toward wellness or self-destruction.

The Recovery ABC’s is the undercurrent of living a recovered life. At Clementine, adolescents learn to self-define these terms, notice when they are in alignment or in conflict with them, and learn to communicate these terms to their loved ones. They are the foundation that will stabilize nutritional and clinical treatment gains.

A-Accountability

When an adolescent faces a challenge with accountability, they usually find out through feedback that is difficult to internalize. Over time, it becomes such an intolerable value, that many clients cannot access it through feelings of shame, guilt, and victimization. What we teach clients is that accountability is not a bad word. Accountability does not mean blame. Accountability in its purest forms means taking part ownership over a situation so that it can serve as a stepping stone to self-efficacy in resolution.

B- Boundaries

Teaching an adolescent about the importance of boundaries goes in alignment with their drive toward individuation. Adolescents enter into a phase of noticing emotional proximity in relation to others and are guided in vocalizing their experiences with physical and emotional closeness within the family system and social settings. For example, normalizing the need for “space” and verbalizing, “no” in an effective manner are self-protective actions that can help clients hold relationships with integrity and safety.

C- Consistency

When adolescents experiment with new value-systems, there is a period of time in which they will verbalize recovery-oriented statements, but not be able to carry them through to action. It is important that actions are held to the standard of values-congruency. Consistency is seen as an element of building trust with the self and others. When an adolescent is struggling with consistency, it is our job as providers to bring this to their awareness, challenge conflicting behaviors, and reinforce their mastery over consistency in all the areas of their recovery. Adolescents are also taught to differentiate consistency from perfection so that their motivation is not hindered by unattainable recovery goals.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Our Clementine Family: Dana Sedlak

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Primary Therapist Dana Sedlak, LCSW gives an inside look at her daily work at Clementine’s newest location. Dana shares how her and her team work together to support the adolescents on the path to full recovery. Read on to learn more about Dana and the Briarcliff Manor team…

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Dana Sedlak and I am a LCSW with a master’s degree in clinical social work.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

I’m experienced in individual, group and family psychotherapy with those who have co-occurring disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse issues. I also have a background with using art as a therapeutic tool.

What does a typical day look like for you at Clementine?

Part of the day involves individual sessions with each adolescent that I’m working with where things like therapeutic assignments are explored. I could then be running a psycho-education group on topics from dialectical behavioral therapy to my creative arts therapy group. Behind the scenes, there are always case management tasks to complete such as creating treatment plans and calling insurance companies to request additional treatment days. Contact with family members and outpatient providers are also occurring. At the end of the day I get to sit down for a mindful dinner with the adolescents and possibly support them with an exposure to a challenge food. If I’m really lucky, the day may even involve singing a karaoke song or playing a round of Jenga with the girls!

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of Clementine.

Through the support of Clementine, full recovery is possible for each adolescent and her family by both fostering new relationships and repairing past ones. This happens first with one’s self and then with others.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

We wouldn’t be successful if we were not a team at Clementine. We all rely on each other to provide a warm and comforting atmosphere for the girls. While there are responsibilities outside of our own disciplines that we may not be specifically trained in, no job is too big or too small for any of us. We all shine within our specific roles and are also very eager to learn from one another to better suit the needs within the program.

What is your favorite thing about Clementine?

I’m humbled by the resiliency that each and every adolescent girl brings through the front door. I’ve never witnessed such bravery anywhere else and it’s a privilege when they are willing to share that with me.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

  1. I took piano and sewing lessons when I was a child but can’t play or sew for the life of me now!
  2. If you asked me where my happy place was, I would always say at a concert.
  3. I collect copious amounts of nail polish and change my nails weekly depending on my mood.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


10 Things I’d Say to 15 Year Old Me

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Caralyn is the writer and speaker behind the blog, BeautyBeyondBones. She’s a twenty-something actress and writer in New York City. Having battled a severe case of anorexia herself, she now uses her story of total restoration to positively impact others, and offer hope and encouragement for those with eating disorders, and other forms of adversity. She is currently in the final revisions of an upcoming book, and has plans for another, shortly after! When she’s not writing and acting, she enjoys exploring the city with friends, singing, and living in the abundant freedom of a life, free from ED! Read on to hear some advice Caralyn would offer to her younger self…

You know what I love doing?

Looking back at old pictures from middle school/early high school.

I mean, the fashions, the hair styles, the flip phones, the boys I had crushes on. It is just a blast from the past.

And let’s be real, it wasn’t thaaat long ago. But given every twist and turn my life has taken thus far, it feels like a lot of life has been lived since then.

I developed anorexia when I was 16. And looking back and reflecting on those delicate and formative years, I can see traces of the disease creep in at various points in my adolescence.

I think we all have things on our hearts that -in hindsight- we wish we could say to our former selves. Nuggets of sage wisdom that could have been helpful.

So here’s 10 things I would say, given everything I know now. Things that recovered me would say to a budding young me, on the brink of succumbing to what would be a long battle with ED.

Dear Fifteen-Year-Old Me,

Freshman year can be a pretty scary time. New high school. Older boys. Drivers licenses. Changing bodies. Navigating it can be tough. So here’s a little help…

1. Relationships are important. Invest in the people who know who you really are, and love every quirk and imperfection. At a sleepover, if you can’t wear your retainer or walk around in sweats with them…reevaluate.

2. Mischa Barton from The OC is pretty awesome, but you don’t need a boy to rescue you. And while we’re at it: stop idolizing her body type. You’re not 5’10.” You never will be. And  being waif-thin is not something to gamble your life for.

3. Everyone’s bodies change at different paces. No, your body may not look like your voluptuous friend, but that doesn’t make you any less beautiful, or any less worthy of being loved. Just be patient. Bikinis aren’t everything. And being able to fill out a Victoria’s Secret bikini isn’t the “be all, end all.” Nor is having your ribs show.

4. Boys will say a lot of things. Good and bad. But never let that determine how you feel about yourself. Or how you dress. Or wear your hair. Or who you’re friends with.
5. Knowing the dance to High School Musical is great, but that’s not real life. High school is not idealistic, and boys won’t serenade you like Zac Efron. Don’t expect them to.

6. Don’t dismiss people because they belong to a certain “group.” People are people. And they can surprise you. But you have to give them a chance. And the “cool” table, is full of just people.

7. Getting good grades is important, but not at the expense of your mental health. Get a B. You will be okay.

8. Don’t do the beauty pageant. Just don’t do it. There’s more to you than your outer beauty. Being judged by how you look in a bikini is frankly stupid. You are so much more than that. Oh yeah – and stop going to the tanning bed. Like, immediately. Your skin will thank you later.

9. You are enough. Just as you are. You don’t have to be the lead in every school play. You don’t have to play varsity sports. You don’t have to sit at the “cool” table. You don’t have to get straight A’s. You don’t have to wear a size 0. You are enough. Just by being you. You don’t have to earn your worth.

10. Let people love you. The real you. You don’t have to put on the air of not caring what other people think. You have feelings and emotions, and that’s important. Honor them. Feel them. Share them. Your heart is a beautiful temple. Protect it, but don’t be afraid to show it.

High school is kinda like a big game of poker. Everybody has insecurities. Everybody’s in the same boat, a little bit over their head, just trying to figure it out. And everybody’s trying to put on their best poker face that they’ve got it all together. Spoiler alert: they don’t.
The sooner you realize that you are beautiful just as you are, and that your worth doesn’t come from any of these superficial things, the more abundantly you will live.

Respect and accept your body. Listen to your parents. Stop striving for perfection.

You are enough. Right now.

Love,

Your older and wiser self 😉

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

 

Easy Self-Care Practices You Can Do on the Daily Huff Post Canada

Cave Person (Part II) Project Heal

Rebuilding Your Identity in Eating Disorder Recovery Eating Disorder Hope

Don’t Bring Talk of Diets and Losing Weight Into the Family Home More Love

How Looking at the Facts Reduces Anxiety and Anger Psychology Today

Fostering Body Positivity in Children NEDA

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

 


Learning to Respect Hunger

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Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, RYT, is the founder of Chime Yoga Therapy and specializes in eating disorders and body image. In addition to her private yoga therapy practice, Jennifer leads yoga therapy groups at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia, is cofounder of the Body Kindness Project, and a partner with both the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and the Transformation Yoga Project. She is the creator of the home video series Yoga to Strengthen Body Image and Support Eating Disorder RecoveryHer writing on the topics of yoga, body image, motherhood, and eating disorder recovery can be found on her blog as well as several influential online publications. Jennifer has been featured in the Huffington Post, Women You Should Know, Medill Reports Chicago, Philly.com, and the DailyDot. Connect with Jennifer: www.ChimeYogaTherapy.com.

“I’ve studied my hunger from every angle. I know its moods, preferences, and quirks. No matter how willfully I rejected or abandoned it, hunger always came back, begging, asking for more. Hunger ate at me, gnawed at my insides, hollowed out my eyes, drained my brain, emptied me out. No amount of shrinking could stifle this maddening hunger of mine.” 

I wrote this passage in a journal years back. Since that dark time, I’ve worked very hard to renegotiate my relationship with hunger by letting go of the conditions I placed upon it. This process has been one of give and take, push and pull. And, if I am completely honest with myself (and you), it’s still a process from time to time. Yet, I’ve had some significant insights along the way that have helped me to be kinder to my hunger, and by extension, my body, mind, and spirit.

Perhaps the most profound insight I had is that hunger is unconditional. The dictionary defines unconditional as “not limited by conditions; absolute.” For example, the common phrase “unconditional love” means affection with no limits or conditions; complete love.

I was trapped in beliefs about hunger that were the exact opposite of unconditional. I was convinced hunger was a punishment. To control my fear of hunger’s punishing demands and pangs, I created countless rules and constructed strict conditions to keep me “in line.” Looking back, the rules and restrictions were maddening, not my hunger.

Learning how to unconditionally trust my hunger is an active and ongoing process (and maybe always will be). I share with you a few of the profoundly significant lessons I’ve learned about respecting my hunger.

1. Hunger can’t tell time. No matter how firmly you believe you must only eat when the clock strikes certain hours, hunger is an organic sensation, not a scheduled meal time. Placing conditions on when the organic sensation of hunger arrives is ultimately impossible and unrealistic and only sets us up for agony and suffering.

2. Hunger has no rules.  For someone like me, who lived by extremely strict rules about food and hunger, it’s powerfully eye opening to trust that hunger has no rules. Hunger just wants to be satiated, attended to, and respected.

3. Hunger isn’t a crisis. More times than I care to admit, hunger has felt like a crisis, inducing panic, uncertainty, and extreme emotional swings. Watching others (especially my daughters) have fun with food has helped me to lighten up at meals and not take my hunger or the food I put in my mouth so seriously.

4. Hunger always returns.  It’s inevitable that fullness fades and hunger returns. Always. No matter how much power we fool ourselves into believing we have over our hunger, it always comes back because it is supposed to. We can numb, but eventually hunger will return unconditionally, and we must deal with feeding ourselves.

5. Hunger is NOT the enemy. This is probably the most profound lesson of all. For many, many years, hunger was my most threatening enemy. It inspired fear, confusion, and self-doubt. My girls have been excellent role models, demonstrating how hunger is simply just hunger, an organic sensation that simply needs to be satiated. When they feel hunger, they ask for food. There’s no debating or arguing with themselves about whether they are actually hungry or not. They don’t try to ignore or pacify their hunger. They don’t curse it, wrestle with it, or endlessly suffer to ignore it. My daughters have taught me that hunger is not out to get me or fatten me. It’s not lurking, waiting to pounce on me. It has no agenda. It’s unconditional. Neutral. Hunger is not the enemy. The eating disorder beliefs, rules, and conditions about hunger were the real enemy.

Coming to terms with our hunger and other aspects of recovery that are frightening and challenging is extremely hard work, as you know; but not impossible. One small insight can lead to a series of shifts that sets us up for new patterns, approaches, and mindsets.

I encourage you to vigilantly and diligently study your hunger or whatever “thing” keeps you feeling stuck. Look at it from every angle and understand the self-imposed rules or conditions that are pinning you down. I can only guess that your insights from this reflection will be profound, as once we come out from underneath the eating disorder rules, we have room to breathe and be, to be renewed in our recovery, and energized to keep pushing forward.

I sign off by wishing you unconditional peace as you continue your journey.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, opening on April 24th, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.