What Do I Say to My Child Away in Eating Disorder Treatment?

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Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and uses those skills to guide families to let go of fear and panic, learn self-care skills and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this week’s blog post, Becky shares valuable tips of what to say to your child who is away in eating disorder treatment. 

Your child has been away at a treatment center for about a week – maybe just 3-4 days and you get THE CALL! Your child, weeping or crying hysterically on the other end. “MOM! Help get me out of this place! They’re so mean to me!”

First, I am so sorry that this illness takes away our real kids from us. And I’m so sorry that no one gave you help in how to respond.

What do you say?  Hopefully the treatment center gave you a heads up that this is very COMMON.

Your job, once you’ve prepared yourself to be calm, rational and objective is to hang in there. Knowing this is VERY normal as the team is challenging the eating disorder (ED) a lot right now makes it very scary for your child. ED’s voice is VERY loud right now.

Keep loving him/her where he/she is at. Trust the model. Remind him/her that he/she is safe and that this is part of the process.  Remind him/her to lean on the staff when he/she needs support, that is what they are there for. Tell him/her she is brave. Acknowledge how scary and hard this is for him/her. Tell him/her you will always love him/her and be there for him/her. And that he/she can do this – one step at a time.

It might be useful to have something like this by your phone (or in your phone):

“Honey, I’m so sorry, it sounds so very hard and scary. I’m so proud of you for working so hard. I know. I love you. It will get easier. uh huh. yeah. WOW. Bummer. That sounds really scary. I know you can do this. Please remember to take one moment at a time. I love you.” 

And then repeat it each time he/she calls.

Know that ED is fighting for his very existence and is not going to give up easily.  When ED feels threatened he ups the ante.  This is what your child is up against. He/she needs you to be strong and not back down.

Then it won’t shred you to bits. As much. Loving a child is painful sometimes. Keep loving your child where they are at. Even when you want your child healthy and back home with you. For now you can do this.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


Sea Glass Grant: Recovered Living

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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. We are excited to share our newest Sea Glass Grant recipient, Recovered Living, an organization providing coaching to those who aren’t able to obtain support in underserved locations, providing both in-person support and online. Read more about this amazing organization below! 

How did Recovered Living come about?

My own recovery experience inspired me to create a service for people who did not have access to face-to-face support.

After flying home to to New Zealand after 7 months with Monte Nido I realized the ‘Treatment Bubble’ had well and truly burst. The nearest eating disorder therapist was 6 hours drive away so I knew if I wanted to stay in recovery, I needed to get creative in finding a team.

I found a therapist and a dietician that worked online and figured out that lunchtime in New Zealand was dinnertime in California. I would Skype with my recovery friends at mealtimes and in this way created my own virtual IOP. No matter where I was in New Zealand, my entire team was at my fingertips via my laptop.  This is how I recovered.

In my recovery journey I saw many people relapse and even die as a direct result of lack of available treatment options. I became determined to bridge the gap for people who did not have access to face-to-face support and create something different that addressed the gap.

How has Recovered Living helped you in your recovery journey?

Recovered Living was a dream of mine years before it was a reality. When recovery was tough for me or the temptation to go back to my eating disorder was strong, I would remind myself that I couldn’t be a role model for others if I went back to my eating disorder. Helping others and being a leader in the recovery field was a very strong motivator for my recovery.

Who is Recovered Living? 

Recovered Living is 100% Kristie at the minute! I often refer to Recovered Living as ‘we’…because it truly has a life-force of its own. I have my Kristie life and there is another being in my life called Recovered Living that I am in relationship with.

It is getting close to the time that I need another coach to help meet demand – Recovered Living will soon be ‘us’!

What feeling do you most associate with Recovered Living?

Only one?  Hope. The most important thing in the world. Inspiration. Authenticity & Effervescence!

Walk me through the Recovered Living process, how do people currently hear about the services you provide?

Recovered Living provides two distinct services.

Transition Assistance is a 24/7 service where a Recovery Coach will move into a clients home to help them transition. This can be moving from Residential to PHP, from School to Home…or anything in between. When the Recovery Coach leaves, they can continue supporting clients via online sessions.  With such a detailed insight into Client’s lives, we have noticed people’s recovery wobbles are more like a dance move than a dive.

The other service Recovered Living provides is online Meal and Snack Support, Recovery Coaching and At-Home Cooking Sessions. This means we have clients all across America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe.

We recently started a free online ‘Support Space’ group for family and friends of Recovered Living clients. An eating disorder does not just affect one person in the family, it affects every person in the family. We believe families deserve support too!

People have found Recovered Living from all over – we get lots of people from Google searches, word of mouth referrals or from our social media platforms. Something we always offer clients is the opportunity to talk with us first, before making any commitments. We will connect via video call with any new client to hear their story and to talk about how we can help them move forward in recovery. If we seem like a good fit and you want to move ahead – we will design a support schedule that works for your individual needs. We are available nights AND weekends – we get that recovery operates outside office hours – so do we!

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

It is not one moment that is my favorite so much as the feeling of a driving and vibrant passion inside me. Sometimes I get so excited I don’t want to close my eyes at night!!

How can people get involved?

If you think Recovered Living is a service that could help someone you know, please spread the word!  We have a Facebook and Instagram account, as well as a monthly blog (you can sign up for our newsletter on the website).

Have spare time on your hands? We currently have volunteer opportunities available to help get an upcoming project off the ground. We always welcome support!!!

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

Do it!  Something that helped me in recovery was the mantra, ‘bigger jeans, bigger life’…now I say ‘bigger dreams, bigger life’!   

What are your hopes and dreams for Recovered Living?

I hope Recovered Living reaches every corner of the world that has access to the internet.

I dream of a time where treatment for people will be affordable, help is available and support is practical.  No matter where you live.

I hope Recovered Living helps to promote the benefits of telemedicine, giving rise to the critical mass that is creating a change in treatment options.

I dream of the client that will one day become a Coach. The client that follows their calling and becomes the person they wish they had in their recovery – themselves.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


When Emotion Mind Wreaks Havoc on our Behaviors

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Primary Therapist Dana Sedlak, LCSW discusses the progression of “emotion mind” to “wise mind” in eating disorder treatment. In this week’s blog post, Dana explains how our emotions are directly tied to our behaviors and some strategies used to support clients in recognizing and moving past maladpative behaviors.

One of the most difficult parts of treatment involves identifying and understanding one’s thoughts and feelings. This can be more challenging for those with eating disorders whose function has served as a numbing agent for several unwanted emotions. It has become natural and sometimes habitual to dismiss feelings in order to feel in control. Through DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), teenagers are introduced to the idea of Distress Tolerance: Unfortunately, pain is a part of life and therefore one must learn how to manage difficult emotions.

Many teenagers speak to having an increase of emotions once they begin completing their meal plan in treatment. We often wonder whether they are experiencing more emotions due to many of their eating disorder behaviors decreasing or because they are becoming more connected to themselves and others due to the therapeutic process. Despite the reasoning behind this, the increase in emotions is extremely uncomfortable for them. They often report feeling easily overwhelmed by these emotions with little confidence in coping with them. The danger in this scenario is that without intervention, emotion mind leads right back to use of destructive behaviors. They then become stuck in what often feels like an endless cycle.

The beginning of this cycle includes a precipitating event that is identified as the trigger. This could be anything from a death of a loved one to getting a poor grade on a test. One’s emotions then start to bubble up, including depression, desperation, anxiety, and worthlessness. Shortly after these emotions then turn into thoughts that become fueled by these emotions. “I can’t deal with this anymore” and “I’m so dumb, I might as well just stop trying” are prime examples of these emotion-driven thoughts based on the triggering event. As we know from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), the thoughts also quickly turn into behaviors. This is where one’s eating disorder and co-morbid illnesses take hold. Restricting, binging, purging, over-exercising, self-harming, and other similar behaviors serve as protective measures that protect one’s ego/self-esteem in order to avoid these thoughts and emotions.

Once the behaviors have initially subsided, consequences are likely to appear. This could occur in either the short or long-term, but often results in loss of freedom, relationship problems, health problems, or a worsening of symptoms. Emotion mind revs up and creates more feelings of depression, anxiety, being overwhelmed, and an increase in shame because of these consequences. These emotions now feel intolerable again and one resorts back to what she thinks works: Covering up these emotions through more behaviors.  Before she is even aware, she becomes stuck in this cycle of suffering all over again.

The goal through DBT is to intervene at the beginning stages of this destructive pattern. It is vital in recovery for one to be able to appropriately identify and feel one’s emotions. It makes sense for someone to feel sadness after a death or anxiety after doing poorly on a test. We never want to invalidate this part of the experience. What we would like to change comes in-between the negative thoughts and the behavior use. At this point in the cycle, one must learn to challenge her thoughts and then seek self-soothing coping behaviors to gain the same sense of protection and security that the eating disorder often creates. This can come in the form of one’s five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Go outside in nature, listen to your favorite song, smell a candle of a scent that brings you peace, take a warm bath or shower, or sip on your favorite drink.

Through continued intervention and practice, emotion mind will mold into wise mind where one no longer needs to use the eating disorder to manage and push away the emotions. Instead, one has gained the courage to face the emotions as they are. By breaking this cycle, one becomes vulnerable enough to know and believe that she is completely capable of working through any emotion that arises. It is then that one can begin to slowly and surely let go of the old destructive behaviors that no longer serve the same purpose.

 

References: “Out-of Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)-Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior”

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.

 


Supporting Eating Disorder Recovery Through the Holidays

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Registered Dietitian Megan Fahey, MS, RD, CDN discusses eating disorder recovery through the holidays in this week’s blog post. Megan outlines tips to offer you or your loved one support around the holiday table.

It is once again the most wonderful (and stressful) time of year! Along with shopping, decorating and gift giving, cooking and baking are included on the never-ending to-do list. From Thanksgiving dinner through New Year’s celebrations, food undeniably plays a central role at holiday gatherings. For an individual struggling with an eating disorder, or working to maintain recovery from one, the overwhelming focus on eating can take away from celebratory experiences with family and friends. The following are tips to offer you or your loved one support around the holiday table.

Plan Ahead.

Schedule holiday plans in advance in order to make any necessary adjustments to your meal plan. Gather details on the location and timing of each event, as well as the type of food served. Work with your dietitian prior to a holiday party to create a balanced plate from the dishes that will be available. Focus on incorporating a variety of textures, colors and flavors to enjoy. Keeping in line with a 3 meal + 3 snack meal plan model, try selecting appetizers or desserts for one or more of your “snacks” to normalize your style of eating for the holidays. If you or your loved one have food allergies or dietary restrictions, be sure to collaborate with the hostess and bring alternative dishes as needed. Although the meal plan is a tool to help you navigate decisions around food at the table, it is important to maintain flexibility around timing of eating and selection of food. Becoming attuned to your physical body will ultimately shift your focus away from an external meal plan. Eating disorder recovery is possible when you provide yourself permission to nourish yourself based on your body’s internal cues and desires.

Ask for Support.

This is a time of year to connect with those around us. Open up to a trusted family member or friend to communicate whatever support you may need to follow your established meal plan. Identify particular food behaviors you are working on and explain how your “ally” can best support you at the table. Maybe you need a second set of eyes assessing your portion sizes, or someone to pace with you during the meal. It may be stepping aside before and/or after the meal to briefly process your emotions and check in with your hunger / fullness levels. Eating disordered thoughts and urges are isolating, even when surrounded by a room full of people. Reach out and ask someone to help you process the emotion of the holiday to help resist eating disorder urges before, during and after the meal.

Be Mindful.

Mindfulness practices such as deep breathing will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and ease the muscles of the digestive tract. Your mindset while eating impacts not only the quantity of food you consume, but also how well your body is able to digest and absorb the nutrients present in the meal. Take a moment before the first bite to place both feet on the floor and take a few deep breaths to help calm your nervous system and ground yourself at the table. Although it sounds simple, mindful breathing will restore oxygen to the brain, helping you think clearly and make more effective decisions.

Create New Traditions.

It is not uncommon for holiday discussion to revolve around food, often times referencing the “good” or “bad” qualities of each component of the meal. This can be especially triggering to hear if you are working to establish a more nourishing relationship with food and your body. Although it is not possible control the attitudes of those around you, try introducing games or music at your family gathering to help shift the focus from food talk to interpersonal connection. Set a goal to interact with family members in a different way by engaging in conversation around shared interests or offering non-appearance related complements to at least 3 people. Remember that most people experience some level of anxiety at holiday gatherings and may also benefit from creating new traditions for the day.

Give to Yourself. 

During this season of giving, it is extremely important to tend to your own needs. There is such a beautiful energy in the spirit of the holidays, which can be overshadowed by your anxiety around food and eating. Create time in your schedule for self-care, incorporating relaxing activities to balance social holiday events. Implement a gratitude practice to connect with the abundance of your life. You have worked so hard on this journey of eating disorder recovery and are inherently worthy of experiencing all of the joy of the holiday season.

 

Clementine invites you to an open house celebration for our newest location, Clementine Malibu Lake, opening in December, on November 30th at 5pm! Learn more here

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 Garment Project: Sea Glass Recipient

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One of the ways Monte Nido & Affiliates wants 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. Read on to learn about the first Sea Glass Grant Recipient, The Garment Project. 

Monte Nido & Affiliates is delighted to announce that The Garment Project  – founded by Monte Nido alumni Erin Drischler  has been awarded the first Sea Glass Grant of $500 to support their mission to provide size free clothing to women in treatment and/or early recovery from their eating disorder.

We are happy to share more about The Garment Project through our conversation with Erin:

Tell me about the process of creating Garment.

Garment was created from about two years of conversations between [my partner] Jordan and myself. I have worked in retail for the past decade and have always been interested in fashion. Jordan is a documentarian at an advertising agency. Our careers have given us knowledge and experience that helped us to create something innovative and truly necessary. Once we had our concept worked out, we started to talk to friends in the non-profit space about taking next steps and making this idea a reality. Jordan and I have been learning as we go, but we make a great team.

How has Garment helped you in your recovery journey?

Garment is a constant reminder of the progress I’ve made in my own recovery. The initial idea came to 5 years before we could make it a reality. I worked through my issues of always wanting to be the caretaker for other people like my mom or my friends but never taking care of myself. As I began to devote more time to my self-care, I was able to become more confident in myself and my abilities. Now I am able to truly help people in a bigger, healthier way.

Who is Garment?

Garment is me, someone who is living a recovered life, and Jordan, who has spent the past few years learning how to be a great support person for recovery. Both of us have a passion for helping others and are devoted to solving a problem that hasn’t been addressed for others in the past.

What feeling do you most associate with Garment?

Pride. I’m proud of the organization. I’m proud of the work I accomplished in my recovery to get here. I’m proud of the relationship Jordan and I share and the bond we’ve created by working together on something that we love. The small setbacks we’ve faced leading up to our launch would have sent me on a downward spiral just a few years ago. It is empowering to take pride in something that once gave me so much shame.

Walk me through the Garment Experience.

Garment has relationships with treatment centers across the US. When a woman is reaching a point in her recovery process where our service would be most helpful, her treatment team will start to communicate some helpful info to Garment. With that style, personality, and measurement detail, Garment creates a unique shopping site for each individual. From there, our new friend can pick out items that she likes, we’ll box them up and ship them right to her.

How and where do you get your clothing and accessories?

Garment has been building relationships with retailers across the US to ensure that we have an inventory with enough variety to fit anyone’s style. There are so many retailers that are acting philanthropically with their items after a certain season has passed, when items have gone on sale, etc. Garment has been fortunate enough to be in contact with incredibly generous people at both national retailers as well as smaller boutique shops. We take boxes of new, never worn clothing in all shapes, colors, styles, and most importantly, sizes. Eating disorders do not target certain body types. We want the women we serve to see more options from Garment than they’d otherwise be able to find in most stores.

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

My favorite part of the day-to-day startup process is working side-by-side with Jordan. It is incredible to see what we are capable of doing when we work together. He constantly impresses and surprises me with his talent and attention to detail.

How can people get involved?

The Garment Project has already seen such an encouraging response and we know that it’s all because of people talking. The best thing anyone can do for The Garment Project is to talk about it. Talk about eating disorders. Talk about mental health, about resources for help, and about supporting anyone around you who is struggling. We encourage everyone to continue our conversation on social media and via email. Donations to The Garment Project can be processed on our website.

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

Recovery was uncomfortable work that took dedication, acceptance, and time. It was not easy, and yet it is so worth it. Recovery is possible for everyone. A few years ago, I could not say that sentence out loud, let alone believe it true for myself. I am now living a life free of the eating disordered thoughts and rules that once consumed me. Although each person has a different story and struggle, it is truly possible to live a fully recovered life, free from your eating disorder.

What are your hopes and dreams for Garment?

Our hope is that Garment can reach women and eventually men too on a global scale and spread confidence through fashion. We want to become a resource for the millions of women and men who are working hard to recover.

 

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.