My Clementine Journey: Melissa Peterson

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Clementine Portland Family Therapist Melissa Peterson, believes all individuals are highly influenced by the relationships and contexts in which they are embedded; therefore, she acknowledges the importance of connection and relationships in recovery. Get to know more about Melissa and the incredible work she is doing at Clementine Portland in this week’s My Clementine Journey…

What first attracted you to want to work at Clementine, and what of those things still inspire you today?

As someone personally recovered from an eating disorder, I’ve always valued Clementine/Monte Nido’s philosophy being that full recovery is possible. It wasn’t until my initial interview with the company years ago that I felt able to freely talk about my struggles with an eating disorder, as I was always told that full recovery was not possible. Ever since this experience, being with this company has never felt like “work” but has more so been my home.

Tell me about your role or roles you have had at Clementine over the years.

I’ve held many roles during my time working for Monte Nido & Affiliates, starting as a Recovery Coach at RainRock in 2012. While at RainRock, and completing my Graduate degree in Couples and Family Therapy, I began my role as Therapist Intern. After graduating from University of Oregon, I moved back home to Portland and obtained a job at the Eating Disorder Center of Portland. My initial role at EDCP was a Primary Therapist, however I was promoted to Lead Therapist during my time there. As soon as I found out we were opening Clementine in West Linn, I made the decision to transfer here as Family Therapist.

What does the best day look like working at Clementine?

My favorite thing is when all the staff and clients spend time together, even if these moments are short lived. For example, when clients make up songs about treatment or when they perform their choreographed dance from dance group, all staff is there to listen and watch. It’s in these moments that we truly feel like family.

How has working at Clementine shaped you as a person?

Reflecting on the past 6 or so years, I credit much of my personal growth to working with this company. I have made life-long meaningful relationships with coworkers that I now consider my chosen family, and have gained increased clinical confidence in working with eating disorders and family systems that I didn’t imagine possible.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit 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.

 

6 Ways to Combat Comparison in Recovery Angie Viets

8 Tips for High School Graduates Psychology Today

Struggling with Depression? Here’s How Journaling Can Help Mind Body Green

The Many Benefits of Meditation in the Classroom The Epoch Times

11 Mindfulness Activities You Can Do Today Psych Central

How to Stay Zen When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder More Love

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


4 Tips to Help Calm Down My Child Now

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Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) who coaches with families to let go of fear and panic, reduce distress, learn self-care skills to tolerate a loved one’s distress and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this post, Becky discusses ways to manage Emotions that show up when your loved one is at a residential treatment center (RTC) and when they come home.

When a child or other loved one is away at treatment you’ll have many emotions. It is easy to have judgment about our emotions. AND, that is not necessary or helpful to us or our loved one. So when we can prepare for emotions, name them and accept them, then we can have a plan to cope with them.

My article: What Parents and Health Care Professionals can Expect from Residential Eating Disorders Treatment, highlighted 15 points for parents to consider and prepare for while a child is in a RTC. I promised I’d go into more depth on each point. Please note that these pertain to anyone who cares about someone in recovery, I use ‘parents’ simply because they make up the majority of my coaching practice.

Here are just a few of the emotions parents/caregivers have expressed to me over the years:

  • Panicked
  • Fearful/Scared/Afraid
  •  Sad
  •  Angry/Pissed
  • Anxious
  • Hopeless
  • Out of Control
  • Worn Down

Some of these may sound very familiar to you and some, like ‘angry’ may surprise you. It can often surprise us when we feel angry towards our very ill child/loved one. AND, when our loved one is acting out and using us as a punching bag and they aren’t taking responsibility for their actions, anger can be a natural feeling. We don’t help ourselves or our loved one in recovery when we judge our emotions. So how do we stop doing that?

Here are my 4 Tips for being calmer when your child has an eating disorder:

  1. Notice & name your emotions
  2. Accept your emotions
  3. Use a calming tool
  4. Make a plan for going forward

First, knowing we’re going to have emotions that may surprise us can prepare us so we’re not blindsided by the emotion. Then naming the emotion can help us gain clarity on what we are feeling so we can accept the feeling and make a plan. After we feel the feeling, name it and allow ourselves the compassion to have the feeling, then we don’t need to be stuck in it. We can then consciously choose to keep feeling it or to then release it when we are ready.

Part of the plan may be simply knowing that emotions are going to show up that we hadn’t expected. And being gentle and kind to ourselves.

Then we can have some coping tools to reduce our distress in our back pocket. One of the keys is to choose one or two that we really find easy and can do anywhere and anytime. Some parents even leave a post it note visible to remind them to use the tools they find most useful.

For instance, some parents really find DBT skills helpful. DBT is a mindfulness and distress tolerance therapy designed by Marsha Linehan. It stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I love the DBT skill; ‘Opposite action to reaction.’ When a crisis comes up I can choose this skill to be extra calm so I can make rational decisions.

Some people like the 4-7-8 breathing tool that I teach my coaching clients. It is simply breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 7 and out for a count of 8. And repeating 2-3 times.

Now, it may seem odd to you that I’m not focusing on your loved one’s illness or treatment journey.

This is about you AND when you take care of YOU, it helps your loved one in recovery.

It can feel counter-intuitive. It is essential. What I see is that coaching clients who work with me for 6 months or more are able to implement tools for self-care and then we both see their loved one improve in their recovery. It surprised me too!

When caregivers are not burned out, we can be calmer. More compassionate. More caring. And more confident. When a person in recovery has caregivers who are calmer, more compassionate, more caring and confident; they do better. What would be different for you to not be exhausted, overwhelmed and unsure?

So when people ask me, “Becky, how can I support my loved one in recovery?” I tell them, “Get your oxygen mask on 1st. Make sure it’s firmly in place before assisting your loved one.” Where have you heard this before? This is NO DIFFERENT.

I know, it can feel selfish…and please go back and re-read this paragraph again: “ When caregivers are not burned out, we can be calmer. More compassionate. More caring. And more confident. When a person in recovery has caregivers who are calmer, more compassionate, more caring and confident; they do better.”

So what do you think? Are you ready to prepare for your emotions? To name them? Accept? Plan? What self care tools will you use?

Please share your comments.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Recovery ABC’s

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Clementine Miami South Miami Clinical Director Bertha Tavarez, PsyD shares about the “Reocvery 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.


Maintaining a Healthy Body Image with Dr. Zanita Zody

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zanitaClementine Portland Clinical Director Zanita Zody, PhD, LMFT guides her team with warmth and compassion as they provide comprehensive care to the adolescents who entrust their treatment in them. Recently, Dr. Zody sat down with Portland Today to share some of her expertise in maintaining a healthy body image. Watch Dr. Zody’s appearance on Portland Today 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.


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.

 

The ABCs of Building Coping Skills in Students Psychology Today

The Problem with “Cleaning Eating” in Eating Disorder Recovery Jennifer Rollins

The Promise of Self-Compassion For Stressed-Out Teens New York Times

10 Mental Health Tips to Share with Your High School Senior Psychology Today

What to do when your Child Relapses (again) During Eating Disorder Recovery More-Love

Yoga in Schools May Help Kids with Anxiety Forbes

 

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.


Part Three: If It Were Cancer…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch concludes her series in this week’s blog post. Cherie shares the pain felt by a family when a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. 

Read Part One of Cherie’s Series HERE and Part Two HERE.

If it were cancer… Would you accommodate it or do everything possible to eradicate it?

If it were cancer… Would you be passive or would you be aggressive?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to drive a car when they were so sick from undergoing chemo treatments?

If it were cancer… Would you validate their distress, yet still require them to undergo prescribed treatment? Or would you let the treatment stop?

If it were cancer… Would you be angry at your loved one? Would you lose your temper?

If it were cancer… Would anyone in the family be upset or angry? Would there be any hesitation to support the family or the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you remember that you have to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your loved one?

If it were cancer… Would you ever blame yourself? Would you ever think that you caused the cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you be proactive and diligent about following up with your team and providers? Or would it not even be on your priority list?

If it were cancer… Would you and your spouse or ex be working together to eradicate the cancer in your loved one? Or would you be feuding on how to navigate?

If it were cancer… Would you go against the treatment team’s recommendations? Or would you think it’s not that serious, we will wait to seek a higher level of care?

If it were cancer… Would you accept the first medical practitioner recommended? Or would you ask questions and seek out the best?

If it were cancer… Would you ask me or my loved one how did you get cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you validate the struggle? Or would you judge and interrogate?

If it were cancer… Would you be empathetic? Or would you say “just eat” or “quit purging”?

If it were cancer… And a clinician did not appear educated, would you stay? Or would you seek new expert care?

If it were cancer… Would you have done anything different? Would you have taken a different path?

If it were cancer… Would you accept any treatment to stay alive? Or would it be a battle just to get you in treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family is so scared?

If it were cancer… Would you tell your family?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants to support you? Why they want to be involved?

If it were cancer… Would you tell them it’s none of their business? Would you tell them to walk away? Would you tell them that you can do this on your own?

If it were cancer… Would you refuse treatment? Would you battle your family? Or would you listen?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants you to be diligent in your recovery? Wants you to have the support of a team?

If it were cancer… Would you think your family is trying to control you?  Would you think that your family is trying to smother you? Or would you think my family really loves me?

If it were cancer… Would you allow your family to hold your hand as you navigate treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to comfort you when you’re struggling?

If it were cancer…Would you allow family and friends to love you? To hug you? Or would you isolate?

If it were cancer… Would you trust them and want them to help carry your pain?

If it were cancer… Would you run to them or from them?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to their concerns and their fears?

If it were cancer… Would you understand that this is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to your family? Would you understand that their fears are justified?

If it were cancer… And your student needed to miss school would you hesitate to allow them? Or would you do everything to support them until the school can wait?

If it were cancer… Would you allow virtual school at home until they were recovered and fully in remission?

If it were cancer… Would you penalize them for missing school?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything to support the patient help them reintegrate into school? Or would you saddle them with unrealistic expectations and burdens?

If it were cancer… Would you send cards and bring meals? Would you offer to help?

If it were cancer… Would you offer to watch the kids so the carers could get a night away?

If it were cancer… Would you unite the neighbors, school families, and church members to support the family and the patient? Or would you look the other way? Would you do nothing?

If it were cancer… Would you continue to speak to those affected about your diets, workouts, latest health craze?

If it were cancer… Would you quit asking the patient to babysit because you were afraid your children might catch “it”?

If it were cancer… Would you reach out to the family if you had not heard from them for a week, a month, a year? Would you express concern and offer support?

If it were cancer…Would we be demanding more research? More funding? More grants and scholarships? Would we accept “no”?

If it were cancer…Would nations, organizations, and populations join hands to eradicate?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to give your employee time off? Or would you offer them to take all the time their family needs?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate or refuse to cover treatment? Would you tell the patient or the family that treatment is not “medically necessary” and deny insurance coverage?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the patient and the family that they need to fail at a lower level of care first before insurance will cover prescribed treatment?

If it were cancer…Would you ignore the prescribed treatment of the treatment team and allow the insurance company to determine what is best practice or best care for the patient? Would you follow the mandates by the insurance company medical director who has never met the patient? Would the public and media allow any such treatment of a cancer patient?

If it were cancer…Would a patient be discharged from care without completing treatment?

If it were cancer…Would continued coverage be reviewed every two weeks, week, or three days? Would chemo treatments stop if insurance denied?

If it were cancer…Would the patient or family be battling insurance while trying to save their loved ones life?

If it were cancer…Would treatment be denied by the insurance company?

If it were cancer…Would the entire team – family, friends, providers, and insurance demand early intervention and treatment? Would every one collaborate and communicate to ensure the action was swift and aggressive? And as prescribed?

If it were cancer… Would you let any newly diagnosed patient leave your office without appointments, materials, and support?

If it were cancer… Would you help the patient and the family find appropriate support and treatment? Would you do everything possible?

If it were cancer…and you weren’t familiar with that particular type of cancer, would you align yourself with a doctor who was? Would you tell the family I am going to help you find the best care possible?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the family that their loved one needs to do this alone?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the family that their support is not helping? Or would you teach them how to support the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the patient they were “not that sick”?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything possible to support the patient and the family?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to collaborate with other treatment providers? Or would you feel it’s a necessity?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to the family’s concerns when they approached you?

If it were cancer… Would you schedule appointments in two days, two weeks, or two months?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to include the parents? Would you care if they were over 18? Would you let them decompensate because there was no release? Would let them refuse to take the chemo? Undergo treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you think it is serious?

The bottom line is eating disorders are just as deadly as cancer. In fact, without treatment, up to 20% will die. They have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and they are the third most chronic illness in adolescents. Every 62 minutes someone dies as a direct result of an eating disorder… 23 lives lost every single day!

So as you’re navigating this journey yourself, with a loved one, with a patient, or with a friend, and you’re pondering what to do or what to say, how to support someone who is struggling, determining your next step, questioning what the right path is, please try to reframe it.

If it were cancer…

P.S. This post is not meant in any way to diminish the seriousness of cancer nor negate any families horrific journey with cancer.  It is intended to highlight the seriousness of eating disorders. Imagine if everyone treated eating disorders like cancer…

 

This article originally published on Cherie Monarch’s Blog.

 

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.


Part Two: If It Were Cancer…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares part two of her series in this week’s blog post. In her series, Cherie shares the pain felt by a family when a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. 

Read Part One of Cherie’s Series HERE

You, or your loved one, are a shell of their former self, and barely recognizable. As a parent, you’re doing everything you can to provide care, support, and try to understand what the hell is going on. You just know that a terrorist is holding your loved one captive. In fact, he’s holding your entire family captive.

When our loved one has an eating disorder,  it’s like the whole family has an eating disorder.

What is the answer? How can we help ourselves or our loved one navigate this journey with an eating disorder? How can we help others understand this journey?

When I was walking this journey with my loved one, it really helped me to reframe every step of the process in terms of cancer. If it were cancer…

The thing that is important to quickly understand is that food and stopping behaviors  is their chemo. Without chemo they will die. Without food, they will die.

Every decision, every action, every statement needs to be addressed in terms of cancer.

If it were cancer…

If it were cancer… Would it immediately evoke empathy, compassion, support, and action?

If it were cancer… Would you think you or your loved one chose it? Would you think they could just stop?

If it were cancer… Would you allow your loved one to refuse the medicine or the treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you think that it was a phase? Would you think that it would just go away?

If it were cancer… Would you think they had a choice? Would you tell them just to eat?

If it were cancer… Would you negotiate whether or not they need chemo? Life-sustaining medicine. Food.

If it were cancer… Would you run cancer around life? Or life around cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to quickly assemble a multidisciplinary team? Would you hesitate to find the best practitioners in the country? In the world?

If it were cancer… Would you be concerned about geography? Would you care if the treatment were in your state… or would you travel across the country without question?

If it were cancer… Would you even think about school? Would you be concerned about graduations, or college applications, and whether they graduate with their twin?

If it were cancer… Would you search out the best possible program? Or just go with one that’s closest?

If it were cancer… Would you allow a provider to wait a month, two or three until the next appointment? What you wait until next week to call for an appointment?

If it were cancer… Would you schedule treatment around holidays, vacations, school, or summer camps?

If it were cancer… Would you postpone treatment a few weeks? Would you think it won’t make a difference. Or would you start today?

If it were cancer… Would you continue competitive sports, dance, and exercise? Or would you rationalize that their body needs rest, needs to heal, and restore strength and energy to fight this demon?

If it were cancer… Would you accept partially healed? Or would you push for full recovery/remission?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to share with family, friends, or your entire community?

If it were cancer… Would it matter if they were 12, 18, or 30? Would the fact they were over 18 keep you from insisting they complete treatment or take their medication? Would the fact they were 18 even enter your mind? Would you even consider their adult status when mandating them to complete chemo and radiation?

If it were cancer… Would you let them leave the treatment program before the chemo was complete? If 10 chemo treatments were prescribed, would you let them stop after five?

If it were cancer… Would you postpone or delay treatment because they’re looking a little better? Would you think maybe this is a phase? Maybe they don’t need treatment? Would you even care about the way the looked?

If it were cancer… Would you let them forgo the chemo because it caused them distress and made them sick?

If it were cancer… Would they leave treatment and go right back to school and life? Or would they automatically be allowed time for recovery?

If it were cancer… Would you negotiate treatment at all? Or would you lovingly and definitively state treatment will save your life… It’s not an option.

If it were cancer… Would you let them go to college? Would you let them finish the semester and rationalize it’s only three more weeks? Chemo can wait.

If it were cancer… Would you postpone an intervention?

If it were cancer… and your loved one called right after they started treatment and said I hate it and I want to come home, would you let them? Would you pick them up and allow them to leave AMA?

If it were cancer… Would you care what friends, family, or neighbors said or would you just be focused on getting your loved one well?

 

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.


What Do Ballistic Missile Threats Have to do with Gratitude and Self-Care?

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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 post, Becky discusses the healing benefits of gratitude.

Some of you know that I was in Hawaii in January 2018 when the State of Hawaii issued this warning to cell phones on all Hawaiian islands:

Different people react differently to threatening situations. I have, so far observed different approaches and all have various and numerous causes I’m sure. There must be a study somewhere on this…right Kitty Westin?

  1. Stand firmly in DENIAL and go on with our lives – if the threat remains just that.
  2. Walk around completely unaware.
  3. Sheer and total panic rendering the person incapacitated.
  4. Absolute Terror and action.
  5. Fatalistic approach…we are all going to die and it doesn’t matter what we do.

I have experienced most of the above at different times. This time it was #4! I was the most terrified I have ever been in my life. While others were standing at the oceanside blissfully unaware or fatalistically accepting…I don’t know which, I was preparing to die a long slow painful death and attempting to possibly save my own life.

After 3 bliss-filled weeks on the island of Kauai, I got up and watched one of the most beautiful sunrises I’d seen there. Then my husband left for his daily yoga class (during which he did not learn about the missile warning) and I settled in for a relaxing Saturday morning of looking for potential places to stay next year….haha…might just stay in Minnesota out of range of such attacks.

The warning arrived on my phone and after some frantic scurrying around and searching (along with thousands of others) “How to Survive a Ballistic Missile Attack” on the internet and found an article on Business Insider , I began preparing to try and survive inside while fallout rained down.

In addition to shutting windows, blinds and doors (yes it got very warm very quickly) and filling every container I could find with water, I called my mom in Minnesota to say, “Goodbye.”

During all of this my mind was going a million miles an hour; “Will I ever see any loved ones again? Will Jay stay put at the yoga studio? Will we die instantly or be sickened by fallout? Where are Jay’s passwords? How long with the food in the fridge be safe to eat? Will I run out of water? How will I tell my daughter what was happening? And a thousand scarier thoughts.

While talking to my mom; who was in reaction #1 above, I looked on Twitter and thankfully saw the Governor’s message that this was a mistake…never in those minutes did I envision this potential outcome! We were still going to be healthy, safe, able to eat safe food and drink clean water and breathe clean air!! And see our loved ones again!

Gratitude barely begins to describe how grateful I felt then and still do. It was a mind bender. About 30 minutes of sheer terror and sadness and suddenly back to normal. My good friend in Chicago helped me breathe over the phone until my husband returned. He was in a state of yoga bliss and didn’t even know what had happened…Guess that says a lot about the benefits of yoga, but that’s another article. Check out what Forbes has to say about scientific benefits of GRATITUDE!

After calming down I went to see the waves at the lighthouse with my friends who were also visiting the island from Minnesota. They had watched a football game while this was going on. Both had grown up with air-raid drills and weren’t phased at all. Blew me away, this wasn’t a drill, but they had learned to not trust these things. It was surreal to be outside breathing clean, safe air and watching the waves and whales after thinking my life as I knew it was over…talk about second chances!

The next day as I watched another gorgeous sunrise I was
filled with gratitude and joy! I had thought I may never see
another sunrise…that whole day I walked around in
amazement at all that I still had. Clean air, clean water to
drink, safe food to eat and a healthy body still. This was
amazing. Weeks later I am still incredibly grateful for all of these things.

One of the self-care tools I teach to parents of kids with eating disorders is to practice gratitude. Often parents will tell me there is nothing to be grateful for when they have a child at death’s door. Being grateful for clean air, clean water, enough food and good health are some of the things I’ve suggested that they feel gratitude about. It’s hard to grasp what a powerful antidote to suffering that gratitude can be.

It takes doing it regularly to get into the habit of practicing gratitude so that it can become a go-to tool to cope with all that eating disorders challenge a parent with on a daily basis. This is why we teach how to practice gratitude during the self-care training at the SHIFT HAPPENS Retreats. The next one is September 22-25 – in the Mid-Atlantic Region for all of the East Coast folks who’ve been after me to host a retreat out there, watch my website for updates.

I would love to hear what you are grateful for, how you practice gratitude and what it shifts for you. Please share your comments. Thanks!

Still not convinced that gratitude can reduce your distress while being the caregiver of someone with an eating disorder? Check out the “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude” published in Psychology Today in 2015.

 

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.

 

 


Part Two: Feeding Our Warrior Daughters

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Clementine adolescent treatment programs Director of Nutrition Services Amanda Mellowspring, MS, RD/N, CEDRD-S is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in program development and clinical application working with eating disorders at various levels of care. In part two of her series, Amanda dives into just how Clementine supports adolescents to be empowered in their eating disorder recovery. 

Check out Part One of Amanda’s series HERE.

There is often a lot of discussion related to feeding, meal planning, weight goals, etc, so in this discussion, let’s focus instead on how to plant those strong roots (ie. how to empower an adolescent in recovery while also providing structure and guidance). In working with adolescents, it is not uncommon that our girls are still trying foods for the first time EVER! This rarely has to do with the eating disorder, yet can have everything to do with being an adolescent. Supporting girls in trying new foods or combinations of foods with structure and expectation that their warrior hearts can manage it, allows for an empowering experience of increasing food variety, enjoying new flavors, and even learning that they enjoy different cuisines. This can also be an individuating experience for some girls. A common example of this includes supporting our girls in trying new fruits or veggies for the first time; perhaps even meals prepared differently than how mom or dad does at home. This may include new seasonings or spices, sauces, and even preparation methods – a great Indian chicken tikka masala dish may be a new love for someone in treatment, while another girl may develop a new love of grilling outdoors with our chef. Oftentimes, these new experiences for our daughters also may challenge mom and dad to explore new foods and our cooking experiences at home also. Healing involves the whole family and creativity can be a big part of the process.

Another important example of planting these roots involves tolerating dislike – yes, exactly, asking and expecting that a warrior heart can manage to do things that she doesn’t absolutely LOVE! I know – tough adolescent stuff! Our world is busy and it is often easier (and less frustrating) to just pick up or serve whatever we know everyone will eat, so that we can all try to get a bit of relaxation in before another busy day. Allow us to support both your daughter and your family in shifting this. In our work, we devote the time to tolerating the experience of pushing through the dislike and acknowledging that doing so actually translates into an important lifeskill – how many times do we all as adults have to do things we don’t LOVE?…often! Being able to tolerate these experiences and move through them without getting stuck in them, or demanding ONLY our preferences from the world, strengthens those roots. I still remember bursting in the door from high school, frantic to know what was for dinner, only to hear something I didn’t want to hear…say meatloaf. I also remember that I would wash up, sit down and eat the meal, chat with my family, focus on the time together, and then move on with my evening. Meatloaf nights were an important part of creating strong roots to tolerate that life is often different than what we would prefer, but the value in that holds great opportunity for us. A strong theme in our work with adolescent girls is acknowledging their warrior strength, rather than backing down to the eating disorder or fearing that their young years somehow limit their ability to challenge themselves. Treating our adolescent girls as the warriors of recovery that they truly are, allows for growth, change, empowerment, and wisdom. These are aspects of healing that are vital to true, longterm recovery.

The balance of accountability and expectation with compassion for the sometimes confusing experiences of adolescence holds endless opportunities for supporting recovery and normalized adjustment into adulthood. Avoiding the fear, the challenges, and the fight serves no one in recovery. After all, warriors grow from the fight!

 

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.