Sea Glass Grant Recipient: JOY’d

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At Monte Nido & Affiliates, we save lives while providing the opportunity for people to realize their healthy selves. One of the ways we want to help provide opportunities for individuals to realize their healthy selves is through our Sea Glass Grants opportunity. A Sea Glass Grant aims to support small projects that create, develop or communicate a project that supports eating disorder recovery and healthy self-image. The latest recipient of the Sea Glass Grant is JOY’d: Joy Over Your Destination, an organization that provides earrings and encouragement for women in eating disorder treatment. Read on to learn more from founder Amy Sullivan about this amazing organization in this week’s blog post…

How did Joy’d come about?

JOY’d started with a simple question, what is my purpose? When I entered treatment for my eating disorder I didn’t fully believe that recovery was possible.  I was blessed during this time to hear stories of women who were living proof that recovery was not only possible, but oh so worth it.  I vowed that if I made it through the storm I would give back and tell my story like these brave women had done for me.  A year into my recovery I created JOY’d: Joy Over Your Destination to encourage men and women in eating disorder treatment. JOY’d sends out earrings along with encouragement cards to warriors in treatment {earrings are substituted for silly putty if a center has male clients} to try and bring them JOY. On the back of each card is the simple phrase, “Wear these earrings as a reminder that recovery is possible” because that is what I want these brave men and women to believe: that recovery is possible. I fully believe that my purpose is to spread joy and encourage those seeking recovery.

How has Joy’d helped you in your recovery journey?

JOY’d has given me a purpose for the pain I went through.  I can now look back at the darkest times of my journey and know that they happened for a reason.  Every moment, tear, person and struggle brought me to where I am now and this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Even if I just help one person to believe that recovery is possible, everything that I went through would be worth it.

Who is JOY’d?   

JOY’d is me, Amy.  I’m a personal stylist, coffee drinker, dog mom and Auntie to the most adorable little girl. My perfect summer day involves sitting by the pool with a good book and I will use any excuse I can to travel! More importantly, I am in recovery from an eating disorder after struggling for six years.  JOY’d is my mom, Jill, who is not only my best friend, but also helps me to make and package the earrings.  JOY’d is for  all of the amazing people who helped me to get to this point in my recovery; friends, family and of course my rock star treatment team.

What feeling do you most associate with JOY’d?

As cliché as it sounds, JOY!  While the eating disorder stole so much from me, what I felt like it stole the most from me was joy. My favorite part of this process is when someone who received my earrings reaches out to me and tells me what they meant to them.  What started as trying to bring others joy, has actually brought more joy back to me than I could have ever dreamed.

Walk me through the JOY’d process, how do people hear about you and your project?

Since launching JOY’d I have been working on spreading the word and connecting with treatment centers! Once I get in contact with a treatment center, the only info I need from them is how many clients they have {how many male and how many female} and an address to send the package to! I always try to include a few extra pairs of earrings for some of the staff because they are truly saving lives every day.

How and where do you get your materials?

We find most of our materials at local craft stores and some on Etsy.  We have also been blessed with amazing leather donations from La-Z-Boy and Underwood Boot Company!

What is your favorite part of the day-to-day start up process?

My favorite part of the start up process has been working with my mom.  Our relationship was so strained when I was in the midst of my eating disorder, but it is better than ever now.  My mom is my biggest fan.  I love sitting around with her brainstorming new ideas for JOY’d and of course, making earrings!

How can people get involved?

People can get involved by following @JoyOverYourDestination on Instagram.  If you feel called to support JOY’d, I also sell earrings with encouragement cards on Etsy. For every pair sold a pair is donated to women in treatment and $5 is donated to Southern Smash, an incredible non-profit that raises awareness for eating disorders and promotes positive body image by hosting scale smashes across the country.

What advice would you give to someone in their recovery who has a dream?

Fight for your dreams!  People in recovery from an eating disorder are the strongest and most determined people I’ve come across.  Take that leap of faith. If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough!

What are your hopes and dreams for Joy’d?

Since July 2017, JOY’d has sent out over 300 pairs of earrings to treatment centers across the United States! My dream is to one day be able to travel to treatment centers to share my story, hand deliver earrings and let the clients craft their own encouragement cards! I hope that one day JOY’d will become a household name in the eating disorder recovery world.

 

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.


The Tipping Point in the Pursuit of Health: Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Orthorexia Nervosa and Exercise Addiction

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Join Oliver-Pyatt Centers, Clementine Adolescent Treatment Programs and T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating of Western North Carolina for “The Tipping Point in the Pursuit of Health: Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Orthorexia Nervosa and Exercise Addiction” with Director of Clinical Programming Jamie Morris, MS, LMHC, CEDS-S.

Exercise and nutrition are foundational to good health, but extreme behaviors can be warning signs indicating unhealthy behaviors. Proper assessment and treatment are key in preventing these behaviors from becoming life-interfering and, in some cases, health harming. Through this workshop, participants will come away with an understanding of orthorexia, its definition and the controversy surrounding the term. Similarly, exercise addiction will be defined and assessment measures will be reviewed. The presenter will address the cognitive and behavioral similarities between orthorexia and exercise addiction and participants can expect to receive practical clinical interventions. The presentation will also address how cultural and social reinforcements impose challenges in the treatment of these disorders.

Participants will be able to:
1. Define the term orthorexia and understand the history of this disorder
2. Define the difference between compulsive and excessive exercise and name assessment measures that can be used
3. Name two validated measures that can be administered to assess eating and exercise behavior

The presentation will be held on November 17th from 10:00am – 12:00pm at The Center for Disordered Eating Office in Asheville, North Carolina. Two CE Credits Provided: PhD, PsyD, LMFT, LPCC, LMHC, LMSW, LCSW, RD

To RSVP, please reach out to Regional Outreach Manager Jamie Singleteary: jsingleteary@montenidoaffiliates.com


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.

 

Adolescence and the Power of Mistakes Psychology Today

6 Ways to Build Trust with Your Body in Eating Disorder Recovery Angie Viets Blog

Halloween in Recovery: To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate? Recovery Warriors

How to Reach out to Someone in Eating Disorder Recovery  OnBeing

What Dads Need to Know About Parenting a Child who has an Eating Disorder More-Love

A Meditation Ritual to Relieve Stress & Anxiety Mind Body Green

 

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.


The Problem with Tough Love in Eating Disorder Recovery

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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. 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 discuss tough love in eating disorder recovery…

When I talk to people who lived through my anorexia with me, the overwhelming theme is that people didn’t know how they could help me.

They felt their hands were tied. They saw their friend/daughter/sister rapidly wasting away right before their eyes, and they felt helpless.

They didn’t know how to get through to me. They didn’t want to say the wrong thing and trigger a blow up or melt down. And yet they wanted to express their concern.

Meanwhile, I was pushing everyone away, withdrawing from the world, so that I could be alone with my eating disorder, not having to show my friends how sick my mind really was.

And people had their different approaches. Some worked. And some definitely didn’t.

But looking back, I’ve come to realize that above all else, there is one thing that is paramount when it comes to dealing with eating disorder sufferers. And that is tough love vs. tender love.

And I think my perspective will surprise you.

I think there is a grave misconception about eating disorders. That the girl (or boy) just needs some “sense” knocked into her. She’s choosing to starve herself for vanity reasons, or “for a guy” or whatever. She just needs to be set straight. Enter: tough love.

You take away privileges. Ground her. Threaten with consequences. Maybe you’ll even go as far as drawing up court papers to turn her over to become a ward of the state.

Not that I would know anything about that…

But here’s why none of those tactics ultimately work:

They are feeding into the self hatred that fuels her eating disorder. That lack of compassion – that toughness – is exactly what she thinks she deserves.

I wish I could express to you what the mindset is like for someone in the throes of anorexia. Because spoiler alert: it is a desolate place full of fear and obsession, and an underlying abhorrence of self.

There is nothing gentle, everything is harsh — inflicted willingly on the self.

I saw to it that my life was a living hell. After all, that’s where I believed I belonged.

So…tough love was exactly what I thought I deserved. Of course my loved ones were acting as though they were emotionally unavailable…because that’s exactly what I should be receiving.

If there is one thing your daughter or friend needs, it’s tenderness. Gentleness. Which, I know is hard to even fathom, as you look at your loved one, and not recognize the angry, hollow shell of who she once was. But now is when she needs that compassion more than ever.

And when it’s life or death, I know that words can get the best of you, and emotions run high, and sometimes we utter things in the heat of the moment that can be hurtful or too harsh. That’s to be expected.

But soft love is crucial. Tenderness, patience, gentleness is so foreign to her, and yet vital to her healing.

She needs to be reminded what that feels like.

I remember for probably about 2 years during my disease, I wouldn’t let anyone touch me. No hugs. No foot rubs. No gentle touch. I was too ashamed of my body.

There is a time and a place for tough love.

And yes, there are probably times when it seems like the only solution. An intervention, for one. But even that can be finessed with the gentleness she needs. Because it’s true, there are some decisions that she is incapable of making in her present state that you will need to make for her – like going to inpatient. But find the grace to be gentle and compassionate rather than slip into Stone Cold Steve Austin mode.

Her journey to recovery is going to involve learning how to love herself.

The greatest gift you can ever give her is showing an example of just how to do that.

 

 

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.


A Day in the Life: Recovery Coach

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Clementine Portland Lead Recovery Coach Alexa Fleming offers an inside look into how she spends her days. Alexa works closely with the Portland team to provide the highest quality care to the adolescents working toward full recovery. Read on to learn more about Alexa and Clementine Portland…

 

What is your your role at Clementine?

My name is Alexa Fleming. I am the lead recovery coach at Clementine Portland. I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Portland. Being a recovery coach for both Monte Nido and Clementine over the last 2 years have been the most rewarding job I have ever had, so here is a glimpse into a day in the life of recovery coaches.

How does your day start?

My shift starts at 7am, I am the first person on shift in the morning, so the house is usually quiet and just waking up for the day. While the nurse is waking up the adolescents I make some coffee, read the communication log, and start heating up breakfast. While the food is warming up I get ready for the adolescents that portion their meals to come in and get their plates ready. Two by two the adolescents who portion their meals come into the kitchen to prepare their plates, following the clear guidelines for their portion, posted on the kitchen whiteboard. During breakfast, we sit and talk about silly things that happened the night before, dreams that occurred overnight, or whatever else they want to talk about. Once everyone is finished eating, the adolescents that have kitchen privileges are responsible for collecting the dirty plates and putting them in the dishwashers. After breakfast the adolescents go to school for the next 2 hours, and I have time to get the clinical office prepped for the day ahead. Recovery coaches are either in the kitchen helping prepare meals and snacks, or in the milieu spending time with the clients.

What is the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is spending time with the adolescents during their free time. I really cherish this time because I get to see the adolescents outside of their eating disorders. They’re (for the most part) not engaging in eating disorder behaviors and are just hanging out, being teenagers. If they are choosing to engage in their eating disorder, I get to help them see the benefits of connection (or choosing their healthy selves) by playing games, watching silly YouTube videos, and just sitting and engaging in conversation. During times like these I really get to know the clients as people and it gives all of us a break from facing the eating disorder head on. During this time, it reminds me that full recovery is possible and gives me hope that someday these adolescents can live full, happy and recovered lives.

Tell us about any groups you run.

One of the best parts of my week is facilitating Movement Group. In this group we do everything from capture the flag, to water balloon fights in the summer, to low impact circuit trainings. The main purpose of this group is to get girls back into their bodies and begin rebuilding their relationship with movement and provide an example of healthy/balanced exercise. Many of our clients report over-exercise as a behavior in their eating disorder, so this group can be rather challenging at times. We always start off group by setting intentions for the activity and finish group by reflecting and doing an eating disorder vs. healthy-self dialogue as a group.

How do you work with your team to support your clients?

One of the best ways that we work as a team to support our clients is by having a weekly Recovery Coach meeting. In this meeting, I make sure to provide time for the RC’s to process any challenging situations that may have occurred throughout the week and offer feedback and support on how to handle these types of situations in the future. We also go over the adolescents’ contracts and talk about any challenges or privileges that they have for the week. By going over this information it allows all of us to get on the same page before the new contract week starts.

Can you remember a unique challenge that you helped a client overcome?

Throughout my time with Monte Nido and Clementine there have been many instances where I have helped adolescents overcome unique challenges. In fact, I would say that this is the reason why each program has recovery coaches. Our jobs are to handle these challenges, whatever they may be, in the moment, with the adolescent. Sometimes this can look like de-escalating a screaming adolescent in the parking lot during a meal outing, or sitting in the pouring rain with someone who thinks they want to throw in the towel and give up on their recovery. Being a recovery coach is being there, every day, whether it’s a good day or a bad day and facing whatever challenges come up, head on.

How do you wrap up your day?

My day wraps up by giving the report to the next RC that is on shift. We talk about what happened throughout the day and what needs to happen in the evening. Report is often given while portioning afternoon snack.

Do you have a passion or hobby of yours that you are able to draw from when working with your clients?

One of my biggest passions and hobbies is nature. Whenever I can I am outside camping, hiking, backpacking, and exploring the beautiful landscapes of Oregon. Being at the Clementine house surrounded by forest and little Christmas trees has really helped me bring my passion into my work at Clementine. A coping skill that I use in my life is stepping outside and breathing in the cool air after a good rain, feeling the sun on my face in the summer, or going on a walk and shifting my focus onto my senses; and being in this environment at Clementine allows me to teach and pass on this skill to all of our clients.

 

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.


Identifying Eating Disorder Red Flags in Your College Students

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Becky Henry, a coach for parents of kids with eating disorders, and Kathleen MacDonald of the Eating Disorders Coalition identify potential red flag warning signs that your college student might be developing an eating disorder. Becky and Kathleen bring over 30 years of combined personal and professional experience in the field of eating disorders, as: parent & coach and someone who suffered an eating disorder while in college, is now recovery & previous policy director.


Most college students, have been primed on how not to gain the “fresh man 15.” But likely haven’t been primed on just how dangerous trying to avoid gaining weight as a freshman can be. If you are reading this article you likely have some concerns about your college student’s health. We want to help you feel capable of helping your child, and give you motivation to take action if you notice any of the following “red flags”:

  • Isolating from friends and family, or events
  • Dieting and/or skipping meals
  • Cutting
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • More prominent or obsessive exercising
  • Becoming very secretive and irritable, especially about food or meals
  • When your child comes home for their 1st break (ie: fall, winter), you notice a change in weight that you haven’t noticed before (this could be a gain or loss)
  • Abrasion on knuckles (a result of self-induced vomiting)
  • Use of laxatives, diet pills/diuretics, self-induced vomiting, enemas
  • Trips to the bathroom during, or immediately following, meals
  • Increasing criticism of their body or the body’s of others
  • Increased talk about food, weight, calories, fat, etc.
  • Complaining of being cold (especially fingers and toes)
  • Increased consumption of diet soda or water
  • Increased perfectionism
  • Rules and rituals around food
  • Avoiding eating favorite foods
  • Discomfort in fitted clothes, wearing loose clothing

What happens if you see a few, or more, of these red flags? Your heart rate might have increased and your mind is racing with thoughts like, “Oh my gosh, does my child have an eating disorder?!”  We encourage you to take a deep breath. Many of the signs and symptoms we listed above can unfortunately be typical of a college student who is experimenting with behaviors that they witnessed on campus, and they might not indicate a full blown eating disorder. Still, these are very dangerous behaviors and signs, which need to be monitored closely, especially if your child is predisposed to developing an eating disorder.

How do you help?

You’re already doing the first right thing by reading recent articles from respected leaders in the eating disorders field. We encourage you to be careful of older, outdated, information on eating disorders, as there is a lot out there that is inaccurate and not based on current research. For example, in the past, the dieting that college students engage in to avoid the media-devised, “freshman 15” was seen as “a phase” and something all women did. Now we know that dieting can evolve quickly and be the precursor to developing an eating disorder.

Next, you want to talk with your loved one. Share your concerns and what you have noticed. Be direct and compassionate. Listen but do not let them brush off your concerns with classic phrases such as, “I’m fine!” or, “There’s nothing to worry about, just look at me!” Those phrases deserve further conversation, ask what they mean by that and tell them what you don’t think is “fine” about their behaviors, mood and symptoms.

Be mindful not to “kvetch” with your son or daughter about your weight-loss goals, body dissatisfaction and/or suggest dieting together. Too often these things are seen as a sign that, “See, if mom is doing it, then it must be OK. I must be fine.”

Then, you’ll want a plan in place for next steps if indeed you discover that your loved one is suffering from more than just a few unhealthy behaviors regarding their body, nourishment and the freshman 15. If you realize that the red flags you’ve noticed are signs of something more serious (trust your gut), then you need to get your student to an eating disorder professional ASAP. You can find great resources here and on our websites at www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org and www.eatingdisorderfamilysupport.com

During this process, remember that boundaries are a beautiful thing. Boundaries are not mean or uncaring, (though it may feel that way when you’re learning them). And sometimes boundaries include invoking “tough-love.” You may need to dig deep and find a strength you didn’t know you had, in order to set some tough love into place and help motivate your student to participate in seeking an evaluation and potentially stay home from school to attend treatment.

These are just a few tips for how to recognize an eating disorder and how to get help for your loved one if they are suffering.

The better informed you are, the better you can help your loved one.  

Remember that eating disorders are serious, but there is hope. People can and do recover and treatment works. There is a wide-range of treatment options available, including on college campuses, so please know you are not alone and there is help available.

Most of all we encourage you to remember that: If your loved one isn’t healthy enough to return to college, it’s OK –there is NO harm in taking time off for treatment.

Remember:

  • College will be there, waiting for you to pay tuition, when your loved one is healthy.
  • If your college student had cancer, a semester (or two, or five) off in order for them to receive chemotherapy wouldn’t likely cause you to think twice; in fact you’d likely view treatment as “urgent.”
  • A semester (or two, or five) off, in order for your loved one to get treatment for a dangerous and all-too-often deadly eating disorder, is just as urgent.
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.

Malnutrition & Medication: Using Medications in the Treatment of Eating Disorders

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We invite Medical Practitioners that treat adolescents with Eating Disorders to “Malnutrition & Medication: Using Medications in the Treatment of Eating Disorders” with Clementine Medical Director Dr. Lauren Ozbolt, MD, CEDS this fall.

While most medical practitioners are comfortable with many aspects of eating disorder treatment, uncertainty is often found in reference to medication use. There continues to be a great amount of stigma in relation to medication and its utility. This presentation will look at both the medical and psychiatric symptoms of eating disorders and the medications commonly used to treat them. In addition, the presentation reviews psychiatric literature on psychotropic medications and eating disorders and discusses medications used by psychiatrists treating eating disorders based on mechanism of action and pathophysiology.

In this presentation, medical practitioners/clinicians will learn to identify three medical complications of eating disorders, recognize common psychiatric symptoms in eating disorders and identify the rationale for use of psychotropic medications in eating disorders.

“Malnutrition & Medication: Using Medications in the Treatment of Eating Disorders” will be held at the following locations in October:

October 12th: Los Angeles, CA; 6:00 – 8:30pm; 2 CMEs provided  RSVP: MAndreasen@montenidoaffiliates.com
October 19th: Darien, CT; 6:00 – 8:30pm; 2 CMEs provided                                      
RSVP: SRoss@montenidoaffiliates.com
October 20th: White Plains, NY; 8:30 – 11:00 am; 2 CEs provided        
RSVP: SRoss@montenidoaffiliates.com

 

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.


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.

5 Ways Health Education Can Better Portray Living with an Eating Disorder NEDA

Supporting a Friend Fresh Out of Eating Disorder Recovery Eating Disorder Hope

Meditation as the Foundation for Overall Health and Well-Being Huffington Post

What You Need to Know About Stress and Self-Care Psychology Today

Taking Care of Yourself When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder More Love

To the Men and the Boys Who are Struggling with an Eating Disorder Huffington Post

 

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.


The Sun and Wind Dispute: Navigating Motivation and Readiness for Change in Adolescents with Eating Disorders

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Clementine Miami Pinecrest Clinical Director Bertha Tavarez, PsyD discusses treating an adolescent who is resistant and treatment ambivalent. Dr. Tavarez offers some strategies to help strengthen the therapeutic alliance and build the groundwork necessary for full recovery. 

“The sun and the wind were having a dispute as to who was more powerful. They saw a man walking along and they had a bet as to which of them would get him to remove his coat. The wind started first and blew up a huge gale, the coat flapped but the man only fastened the buttons and tightened up his belt. The sun tried next and shone brightly making the man sweat. He took off his coat.” – Anonymous

The metaphor of the sun and the wind is an accurate depiction of the challenges that many clinicians face while working with adolescent patients. Although we may have access to the gravity of our patient’s clinical needs, simply communicating our concerns and providing much needed skills can be met with resistance. Our patients remain “locked in” to their emotional experience while simultaneously feeling “locked out” of the insight and motivation needed to increase their receptivity to much needed skills development. The adolescent, preoccupied with exerting and maintaining control and autonomy, may hold tightly to their coat, rendering our intentions to provide care futile.

So how do we, like the sun, create shifts in awareness and influence change?

The power of reflection

It may be tempting to adopt the roll of cheerleader (“You can do this!”) or problem solver (“Why don’t you try this?”). When an adolescent patient presents with resistant talk (“I don’t want to be here”) or talk that inhibits change (“I got straight A’s with ED, what’s the problem?”). Often the simplest and most effective way of building rapport and loosening the grasp of resistance is to simply reflect the patient’s message in your own words. Often, patients are primed for persuasion and direction. Reflection statements can contribute to feelings of validation and interpersonal trust.

Resistance as an interpersonal process / Resistance as developmentally appropriate

It is important to keep in mind that resistance is both developmentally appropriate for adolescent patients and an interpersonal process that occurs within the therapeutic alliance. Although, we may expect a certain degree of resistance on a developmental level, we can provide corrective experiences around resistance that still promote autonomy. A clinician may benefit from awareness about the resistance that is brewing in a session, abstain from engaging in a power struggle, and promote an alliance with the patients’s desire for autonomy.

Highlight intrinsic control

An effective technique that facilitates a shift from resistance talk to change talk is the clinician’s emphasis on the patient’s access to her personal control. A clinician may reflect the pros and cons experienced by the patient:

Patient: “I got straight A’s with ED, what’s the problem? Gosh! That was so hard!”

Therapist: “It sounds like you did well in school this year, but ED made it more difficult.”

A clinician may also reflect a patient’s choice within the constraints of the treatment environment while having the knowledge of the consequences. For example, the patient may be informed of her choice to select what day an exposure is initiated or asked to reflect on her choice to not participate in a group while being aware of consequence of losing a daily privilege as a result.

Shifting focus  

If resistant talk persists, the clinician can shift the focus to another closely relevant therapeutic topic that may tie into the overall theme beneath the resistance. For example, if the patient states, “I don’t want to take medications and that’s final!” the clinician can say, “Ok, how about you tell me how you’re feeling about your overall health today?”

Working with patients experiencing resistance and treatment ambivalence can be challenging. However, there are great opportunities at this treatment phase that can strengthen the therapeutic alliance and build the ground work necessary for lasting change. Motivational interviewing and person-centered techniques are an integral component of the clinical work at Clementine adolescent treatment program.

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.


Staying Power: How to Tolerate What Feels Intolerable

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Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, RYT is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist specializing in eating disorders and body image. In recovery herself, Jennifer is extremely passionate about helping others reconnect with their bodies and be empowered in their lives. Jennifer works with clients in person and via Skype. She also teaches yoga at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia, is a partner with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, and leads trauma-sensitive yoga classes. In this week’s post, Jennifer discusses the idea of “staying power” in tolerating what feels intolerable.

While on my healing path from anorexia I’ve had to learn how to tolerate what often felt positively intolerable (my body, food, treatment, calorie increases, exercise restriction, gaining weight, drinking supplements, painful therapy sessions, and much more). I was taught to sit with uneasy feelings and physical discomfort and to wait for them to pass. The reality is that that space and time of “waiting” can be in itself intolerable and set off habitual negative thoughts and behaviors. Yes, learning to be present to discomfort is an important life skill, and that awareness is key, however, I believe that approach can sometimes feel passive and leave us feeling helpless in a difficult moment or situation.

Staying power is what I call super-charged presence. It’s actively and directly taking on intolerable feelings — those feelings that set off negative thoughts and coping behaviors. It’s about staring those painful thoughts down and not letting yourself off the hook with sabotaging and destructive behaviors — like hiding food, over exercising, being dishonest with support people, or checking out by starving, purging, and bingeing. The more we practice staying power and get comfortable with what feels intolerable, then the door to acceptance and the deeper work of healing can open. But first, we have to learn how to NOT escape the feeling.

The minute you have the awareness that you want to dodge, push away, or ignore a feeling or situation is the exact time to tap into your staying power. In yoga, we have a saying: the pose begins the moment you want to come out of it. The same with recovery: the real work begins when we choose to stay and push ourselves to withstand what feels awful. In my experience, practices like mantra, deep breathing, and yoga poses cultivate staying power by creating focused positivity. For others, prayer, art, music, cooking, and nature brings a peace and calm from which to harness clarity and strength.

To learn your power source, reflect on these questions:

  • When in your life do you feel empowered?
  • What activity are you doing?
  • What thoughts, feelings, and emotions do you sense when you feel empowered?
  • How do you hold your body in that moment?

The qualities and activities you identified are your power source. To “stay” with what feels intolerable, you need to plug into your personal power source. It will both protect you from self-sabotaging behaviors and empower you to call on your strengths and not be defeated by what you believe you can’t tolerate.

I get that it’s not easy to REMEMBER your strengths when you feel consumed by an intolerable feeling and you want it to go away ASAP. Most likely, you have habitual responses that will need rewiring. To help you remember your strengths, I encourage you to create an intention that aligns with your power source or carry a grounding stone to help pull yourself out of ED Head and into the moment. You might even ask yourself “WTF” (What’s the Feeling?) when the urge to check out comes on or try this simple yoga practice to interrupt habitual eating disorder rituals.

Here’s the thing: we need to get creative and test out little tricks to begin to make small shifts in our recovery. We can’t cultivate staying power if we don’t actively, directly, and deliberately pull ourselves out of ED Head and use our personal power to rise above the challenge of tolerating what feels intolerable.

 

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