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.


A Father’s Heart, An Open Letter

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Don Blackwell is a Trial Attorney with extensive experience in the eating disorder community. He has a unique perspective which he often shares through his honest and heartfelt writing. In this week’s post, Don shares a heartfelt letter on behalf of all dads to their daughters.

Dads are somewhat notorious for being poor communicators where feelings are concerned and, for some reason, that’s particularly true when it comes to their daughters. Regrettably, daughters often interpret their fathers’ silence (or awkwardness) in the face of life circumstances that demand (or would greatly benefit from) a heightened degree of vulnerability to mean that their dad is disinterested in them, lacks empathy or, worse yet, is simply insensitive to their needs.  Sometimes, daughters harbor those perceptions for the better part of a lifetime. And yet, nothing could be further from the truth! To the contrary, if the men I met during the course of our daughter’s illness (and, more recently, at conferences and webinars that I’ve been privileged to host) are fairly representative of the whole (and I believe they are), most dads care deeply about their daughters. Moreover, though we may sometimes appear to be “clueless” as to how to go about accomplishing it, I suspect every dad silently thirsts for a closer (i.e., more emotionally intimate) relationship with their daughter. I certainly do and while lately I think I’ve done a better job of figuring things out – at least where the vulnerability piece is concerned – I know all too well the sense of longing for (and uncertainty of the means to achieve) that objective, which is what led me to write this post.  So, if my fellow dads will permit me, I thought I’d share a few “secrets” of our own collective hearts in the form of an “open letter” to daughters everywhere, who may still be wondering about us and, more critically, about our feelings towards them:

To Our Little Girls –

It seems like only yesterday that we held you in our arms for the first time.

It was love at first sight.

From that moment on, you’ve held a very special place in our hearts – a place reserved only for you.

When you were little, it was “easy” to let you know that.  We could hold you tight, comfort you when you were sad, tell you bedtime stories and tuck you in – and we did.  You probably don’t remember those special father/daughter moments, but we do. 

But, as you grew older, things got more complicated for us where you were concerned.

You were becoming young women, perhaps before both of us were ready for all those changes – and we weren’t at all sure how to respond, how we fit in to your emerging womanhood.

We wondered if it was still “okay” to hold to you as tightly as we once did (or hold you at all), to kiss you, to tuck you into bed – to dry your tears and comfort you.

We looked for other ways to stay connected with you and share our love, ways to stay engaged in your life, to discern the role you wanted us to play as you entered your teenage years, but we confess we struggled with that – a lot.

We assumed, without asking, that your mom was the person you wanted/needed for all those “girl (and boyfriend) things” and that you would let us know if/when you needed us and how we could help.

Between your mom and your friends (who took on an increasingly important role in your life), it seemed like you were doing “just fine” and growing more independent (and less in need of us) with each passing day. 

Part of us was content to watch you grow, but we missed you – we missed “us”.

Only now have we come to realize, however, that we may have missed the most important thing of all – the realization that you were missing us too and maybe even misconstruing our distance and seeming “absence” as indifference.

If only we had known then what we know now. 

If only, rather than trying to “guess” at what each other was thinking or hoping one of us “would get it” from the unspoken “bread crumbs” we were leaving in each others’ lives, we had simply talked, allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable with one another.

Maybe we could both be a little better about that going forward?

In the meantime, lest there be any doubt in your mind, know this . . .

there has never been a day since you were born when we haven’t loved you, 

a moment that has passed when we haven’t thought of you,

an occasion where we weren’t proud of you or felt disappointed in you or

a time that we wanted anything but what was best for you –

today is no exception, nor will tomorrow be.

Because, while we may not always be great at showing it, let alone expressing it (!), we love you and we value you!

Your Dads

 

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

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


Learning to Respect Hunger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Clementine Briarcliff Manor

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Clinical Director Danielle Small, MS, LMFT and her team are ready to accept adolescents into their care. Clementine Briarcliff Manor is a unique residential treatment program exclusively for adolescent girls seeking treatment for Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or Exercise Addiction. It is the only licensed residential treatment center for adolescents in the state of New York. Read on to learn more from Danielle about Clementine Briarcliff Manor…

As a clinical professional in the field of eating disorders and a veteran Monte Nido team member, I am excited about the arrival of Clementine Briarcliff Manor, our eating disorder program exclusively for adolescent girls, in mid-April.

Adolescence is a time of growth and struggle. It can be both anxiety provoking and exciting navigating new challenges and figuring out one’s place in the world. When grappling with eating disordered thoughts and feelings it complicates this process even more, planting seeds of doubt and fear. At Clementine, we believe you and your loved ones can connect to a place of hope – a place where the eating disorder doesn’t feel necessary to cope.

Within our community there is space to not only speak your truth and face your fears, but experience laughter, friendship and adventure. Part of this adventure is empowering you to connect to a healthy sense of self that will move you toward being fully recovered. It won’t always be easy, but I have faith that when your struggles are explored without judgment and new skills are integrated into your daily life, subtle yet powerful transformations will occur.  These subtle shifts lead to great change and incredible emotional and spiritual growth. This growth is the gift that truly makes this difficult yet amazing journey of recovery so worthwhile.

Located in Westchester County, NY, just north of Manhattan, our new Clementine Briarcliff Manor blends personalized and sophisticated care with the latest research and strategies for adolescents suffering from eating disorders. The highly specialized medical, psychiatric, nutritional and clinical approach, sensitive to the developmental needs of adolescent girls, offers the highest level of care for teens outside of a hospital.

We have assembled an experienced group of professionals who will provide high quality medical, psychological and clinical care for adolescents who are suffering from eating disorders and their families.

Clementine Briarcliff Manor is now accepting adolescents into their care. Please contact an admissions specialist at 855.900.2221 or stayconnected@clementineprograms.com for more information.

For further reading…

http://briarcliff.dailyvoice.com/business/eating-disorder-treatment-center-opening-in-briarcliff/706241

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/ossining/2017/04/03/former-briarcliff-house-treatment-center/99779534/

http://westchester.news12.com/news/treatment-facility-for-teens-with-eating-disorders-to-open-in-briarcliff-manor-1.13356354

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/monte-nido–affiliates-treatment-programs-for-eating-disorders-opens-clementine-residential-program-for-adolescent-girls-in-westchester-county-ny-300434995.html

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

To visit or tour a Clementine locations with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Our Clementine Family: Ingrid Senalle

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Ingrid SenalleClementine South Miami Recovery Coach Ingrid Senalle, LPN shares her personal journey to joining the Clementine Family, as well as an inside look into the treatment center. Learn more about Ingrid and Clementine adolescent treatment program by reading this weeks “Our Clementine Family”…

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Ingrid Senalle, I am a Licensed Practical Nurse/Recovery Coach. My role as “RC” at Clementine South Miami (SoMi), began on March 2016.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

Miami has been my home since birth, I attended nursing school at MedVance Medical Institute and attained my diploma in Practical Nursing in August of 2012, I have been licensed with the state of Florida since 2013. My nursing career has always been focused on work with adolescent clients, prior to Clementine, I was a school nurse working with special needs high school students. My passion for working with eating disorder patients began when my older brother developed a severe case of Anorexia Nervosa, our entire family was devastated, at the time I was only 14 years old and watched him go through hospitalization after hospitalization. The eating disorder in him got worse before it got better, he was in a wheelchair with barely any strength at all, at my young age I researched as much as I could on eating disorders to help get him out of his poor state. Luckily, with an amazing family and medical team he was able to recover over the course of a year and a half. It was then that I developed a passion for a future career in knowing further about eating disorders and helping children and adolescents with severe eating disorders and/or special needs.

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

A typical day for me consists of making sure our clients are safe, as safety if the number one priority,  and making sure all of our girls are in tune with what goals need to be achieved to meet their needs. Our clients rely on us for everything, whether it be emotional support to what is portioned for them to eat, my job is a vital role in the process of recovery.

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

Clementine is a program that prioritizes the needs of our clients, helping clients get in tune with their hunger/fullness cues and to normalize the act of eating without judgement.

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

Teamwork is such a vital part of the Clementine program, our team works together in every aspect, communication is a big part of our work together. Communicating information on a day to day basis on each client, helps us stay on the same page with each individual client and their specific needs. Clementine is one big family, we all have different tasks to complete daily, but never hesitate to help even with things out of our normal routine. We all watch out for one another and have found that it helps maintain our warm, friendly and reliable atmosphere.

What is your favorite thing about Clementine?

My favorite thing about Clementine, would have to be the ability to help our clients in so many different way, we are given so much to work with, it is very satisfactory to see the positive progress that our clients make from start to finish. Clementine is a great place to work, the staff is also one of my favorite things, everyone is great to work with. The opportunity for growth within the company, this is a job that I get excited for in the morning!

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

1.      I’m terrified of dark water and what may lie beneath!

2.      I never learned to ride a bicycle.

3.      I have never seen snow in person.

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

To visit or tour a Clementine location with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


If She Were Your Daughter, What Would You Do?

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LaurenOzboltClementineBlogClementine Medical Director Lauren Ozbolt, MD is board certified in adolescent, adult and child psychiatry. She oversees the psychiatric care and attending psychiatrists at all Clementine locations. In her post, Dr. Ozbolt shares some the work being done at Clementine and the commitment the staff has to each adolescent’s recovery.

I can recall first wanting to become a physician when my mother would take me to the pediatrician’s office when I was feeling sick as a child. Often times my doctor would sit next to me and calmly explain what he felt was going on and all the options for treatment that were available. My mother would always reply in the same way whether I had the flu or needed hospitalization. She would say, “If she were your daughter…what would you do?” To this day, that is how I think about the adolescents we treat, and that is the approach that permeates the air at Clementine. With each adolescent we think, “If this was my daughter, what would I do…”

Here’s what we would do…

At Clementine, your daughter’s psychiatrist takes the time to get to know the girl underneath the eating disorder. We empower and equip her with the tools – whether they be therapy, medication or both – to help her overcome her eating disorder. We feel the best kind of care is collaborative care and we invest a great deal of time in making parents “experts” on the most innovative treatments, neurobiological causes and the latest research in the field of eating disorders. We feel in order to treat a disease it is important for you and your daughter to fully understand the illness and our rationale for treatment. At the heart of Clementine program is a commitment to your daughter.

 While education about treatment of eating disorders is invaluable, it is only a part in what makes out treatment unique. We truly delight in knowing her and your family and take pride in aligning ourselves with you. At Clementine, your daughter’s future goals, become our goals and hence starts a beautiful restorative process of getting her back on track to become the amazing young woman she is destined to become.

 

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

To visit or tour a Clementine location with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Talking to Kids about Body Image with Dr. Zanita Zody

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Clementine Portlandzanita 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 supporting adolescents with body image issues. 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 FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

To visit or tour a Clementine location with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Our Clementine Family: Megan Hamann

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megan-hamann-20171Clementine Academic Liaison Megan Hamann has been working in the education field for over ten years. In her role, Megan ensures that the adolescents are able to stay on track with their school work while on their journey to full recovery. Learn more about Megan and her work at Clementine in this week’s “Our Clementine Family”…

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Megan Hamann. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky and I also have my Master’s degree in Special Education from Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers, Florida. I am looking forward to beginning my Specialist degree in Education leadership in the Fall here in Miami.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

Surprisingly, teaching was something I never thought I would do! School definitely was not my favorite thing growing up. However, after a decade of being an educator, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I decided to pursue education, to make it a fun and enjoyable experience for my students.

I have had the privilege to teach in amazing schools, focusing on grades 1st – 6th. I hold certifications in ESOL, Elementary K-6, English 6-12, and Special Education. Having taught in Georgia, Naples, Florida, and Miami, I have had a wide experience in different public school systems, as well as Charter Schools. However, one of the best experiences was teaching at Ada Merritt in Miami – one of the top International Bachelorette schools in the country! I love all the experiences I have had, especially the wonderful students & administrators I have worked with, which has thoroughly helped in the position I hold today!

I began working for Oliver Pyatt Center in 2015 after I was looking to step back from the public school system to spend more time with my children. I started OPC as the English teacher and after a few months of working with the clients, I was asked to fulfill the role as the Educational Liaison. I love to work with the adolescents, parents, school counselors and principals on a daily basis to ensure the adolescents are able to stay on track with their education while they focus on their recovery.

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

Typically, my day begins by checking my email to make sure I can connect the adolescents with the teachers or counselors who have emailed assignments or tasks. On the days I am in the classroom with the adolescents, I check in with them to see how their work load is. We aim to maintain a healthy balance of school work with their treatment. If adolescents are overwhelmed, we cut back, if they can handle more work, we add more. When adolescents first admit, we create a personal plan for each. We look at their work load, course requirement for graduation and the reality of what can be attained during our school hours at Clementine to find the best fit for each adolescent in treatment.

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

Education, as well as recovery, is something that effects the adolescents for the rest of their lives. While their recovery and focus on treatment is the number 1 priority, education is also an important part of their lives as well. Our goal is to maintain the appropriate balance to keep the adolescents on track for graduation, while they focus on recovery. However, this is different for each adolescent that comes in, which is why communication is a key factor in the success.

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

Teamwork is key at Clementine! Education is just a piece of the puzzle that we all bring to the table. Without that piece, there would be a big hole in the picture! As our team brings together information, it is amazing to see how certain parts of the Eating Disorder can affect school, learning capabilities and also social aspects as well. As an educator, I aim to bring my knowledge together with the doctors and therapists to help understand why the school situation is impacting the clients positively or negatively.

What is your favorite thing about Clementine?

My favorite aspect of Clementine has been working with schools and adolescents all over the country! I have learned a lot about the school systems and medical leaves, school & state requirements, and have met so many wonderful people who are also focused on wanting the best for our adolescents. Guidance Counselors and principals play a key role in helping the girls attain success as well, it has been such a joy to work with such caring people!

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

When I was in college, I was a nanny for a family who had four kids under the age of three in SoHo, NYC! That was an experience! I also backpacked Europe after I graduated college with only a couple hundred dollars! My biggest secret is – When I was in college I had a major intestinal surgery that took a year to fully recover from, I know that is odd to share here, but I have seen that it has helped me connect with the girls in a very intimate way. I had to take a semester off my college classes and felt it was the end of the world, however, to get better and recover was actually what I needed. I was able to continue to finish school, I finished just a little later than I first anticipated. However, that ended up being the best thing for me. I love to share this with the clients, so they know I completely understand how hard it is to stop their ‘plan’ for school and focus on the quality & health of their own life. I understand it is hard, but we will work together to get them to a place where they can be successful!

 

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

To visit or tour a Clementine location with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Q&A: A parent’s view on the treatment of and recovery from an eating disorder

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clementine-oregon-01

We had the great honor to speak with a mother who shared her own first-hand experience of an eating disorder within her family. She works tirelessly to promote eating disorder knowledge, awareness, and recovery through her own advocacy work. This week’s blog post gives insight into a her personal view of treatment, recovery, and the experience of eating disorders within the family unit.

What behaviors should families be aware of within the home and at meals? What are the warning signs your loved one has an eating disorder?

CM: The big thing is a change in behavior and eating habits. It [eating disorders] can change its face for different people so look for any type of drastic change in behavior or eating habits. Be aware of an an overall increased focus on food that was not present before; an obsession with cooking and baking, but no participation in eating the item, watching cooking shows, completing research on recipes and creating elaborate meals, but not actually eating the meals themselves, etc. Some loved ones may begin eating in a ritualistic manner or finding excuses not to eat food. Some loved ones may begin eliminating food groups, begin dieting, or become a vegetarian or vegan for no particular reason. A health focus can lead to restriction of different food groups, quality or quantity of food groups, that leads to more and more restriction; and excessive water loading before or during meals.

Look not only for changes in eating behaviors, but also changes in overall behaviors and social behaviors; for example, loved ones may start withdrawing from friends and family, won’t eat in public, don’t want to attend events that will involve food, and will eventually not want to attend public events at all.

Additional warning signs may include constant body comparison and body image issues, obsession with weight, size, shape, constant weighing, and isolation, excessive and ritualistic exercise, rigid beliefs and actions around food, exercise, body image, and behaviors, decompensation of mental functioning, dramatic and quick mood swings, inability to retain information, emotional unbalance, or physical symptoms such as lanugo, extremities turning blue, etc.

Keep in mind that significant weight loss may not occur for all individuals struggling with disordered eating; while weight may remain constant, focus on changes in the behaviors of your loved ones.

What was helpful in getting your loved one to commit to treatment?

CM: Parents have to call it as they see it and have to be an ally for their loved one. Many times parents are in denial that something is wrong. You have to send a clear and steady message that your loved one is decompensating while providing specific examples, work together with your loved ones’ outpatient team, and express your support with a statement such as, “I am not going to stand by while these things are happening.” Parents need to address the situation calmly and rationally, explain the behaviors you are witnessing and why you feel he or she needs to attend treatment.

Be aware that as a parent, you have a different view of your loved one than her outpatient team. There are times the loved one may be able to put on a “healthy face” for the outpatient team or while at home and act as if they are doing well. At times, it may require the parents of the loved one to care for the individual and spearhead the path to treatment.

How does a parent know their loved one needs to go to treatment?

CM: When things aren’t getting better, even in outpatient treatment. When your loved ones’ entire life is falling apart. When you are in a living hell at home. When there is decompensation in all areas. Everything is screaming that your loved one needs residential or inpatient treatment and it is obvious she needs much more support. Remember it [the eating disorder] is not just a phase and it will not go away without proper treatment.

Parents may become very frustrated with their loved one. Their loved one may say they do not need help or support. Parents have to remember that eating disorders are not a choice and that their child is not an eating disorder. It is important to remain your child’s ally and to avoid becoming confrontational. Do not get on the roller coaster with the child. Be supportive, but also separate the disorder from your child – externalize the illness.

There are times when your loved one is not in the position to say yes to treatment and you will have to eliminate all other options. You have to say, “You need help, this is serious. You have two options: going to treatment or going to the hospital.” Parents cannot negotiate with treatment, but should include the child in the decision (i.e. provide specific examples of the behaviors and decompensation witnessed and why you feel your loved one should enter treatment). Paint the picture very calmly, express love and concern for your loved one’s wellbeing, and then provide one combined option of treatment and support. Do not let it become a battle because then you are also battling with the eating disorder.

What was successful in treatment (i.e. family therapy, phone calls from clinical team, family Friday)?

CM: Therapy with the entire family is critical. Do not forget about the siblings and how they are affected during this process.

The more learning curves in the road during treatment the better (i.e. someone saying something triggering at a dinner outing, etc.) Your loved one will learn to handle experiences that are going wrong instead of everything being perfect. You want treatment to go smoothly, but you want your loved one to be able to navigate difficulties whether they be social, food, etc.

What advice would you give parents whose loved one is in treatment?

CM: School often takes priority over all else. You need to firmly establish that health is the number one priority and that school and anything else comes second to health. You cannot negotiate because of these other “important” life events. If you do, you are sending the message this is not a top priority and that getting help for your eating disorder is not urgent. Children need to understand this is urgent, this is serious, and that nothing else is more important.

Do not negotiate with the eating disorder. The minute you start negotiating with the eating disorder all bets are off.

Be clear, be firm, and do not negotiate on any level (i.e. becoming vegan, staying at school to finish up before treatment, coming back to school for trip or play, etc.) Do not engage in these conversations – the eating disorder will see the crack in the window and will keep picking at it.

What support do parents need or do you suggest they get while their child is in treatment?

CM: If you have questions or concerns while your loved one is in treatment, speak directly to the treatment team. Do not cast doubt on the treatment team or the treatment; your loved one could take this as an opportunity to disengage, she may begin feeling she is not sick enough to require treatment, or the eating disorder may find a way to sneak back in.

Make sure you are also taking care of yourself. You may be physically and mentally exhausted so make sure you are receiving support; whether that is through self-help books, psychotherapy, education, and understanding what it will look like when your loved one leaves treatment. Know the path to recovery will not be a straight shot and there are going to be bumps in the road.

Siblings, couples, and individual therapy are all helpful. The eating disorder can infiltrate and effect the entire family. Join an advocacy group (listed below) to find support and affect change. Find support in any way you can so you do not become isolated. Find individuals and community support from people who understand where you are coming from.

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

To visit or tour a Clementine location with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


5 Keys to Coping with the Holidays

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stacey

Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld is a licensed psychologist, certified group psychotherapist, certified eating disorder specialist, and the author of Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight. Her work focuses on substance use disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, fertility challenges, relationship concerns, and sport and exercise psychology. In addition to directing Gatewell Therapy Center in Miami, she is a co-occurring (eating disorders and addictions) consultant at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. Dr. Rosenfeld works with individuals, couples, families, and groups, using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical-behavioral (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, and motivational interviewing approaches. In this week’s blog post, Dr. Rosenfeld shares strategies to help cope with the upcoming holidays while in eating disorder recovery.

Despite its festivities, the holiday season can present a number of challenges for those in eating disorder recovery. For some, family time can be stressful. Food is often abundant and not on a regular schedule. In many cases, individuals leave the comforts of their homes and routines in order to celebrate with others. Those with co-occurring illness, such as alcohol/substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, or trauma may face additional challenges during this time.

Toward the goal of relapse prevention, a little planning can go a long way. As the holiday season approaches, consider these five “S”s that can help reduce the likelihood of symptoms escalating or re-emerging:

Self-awareness:

Going into the holidays, take a personal inventory. How have you been doing? What has been challenging for you recently? What have you learned from past events? What types of triggers do you anticipate going into the holidays this year?

Strategy:

Planning is the enemy of relapse. While it might be impossible to predict every potential scenario, strategizing certain situations can go a long way. For instance, if you’re attending a holiday gathering, discuss with one of your treatment professionals how you’ll approach food before, during, and after this event. How will you respond if someone comments on what you’re eating or your weight? If you’re sober, assume someone will offer you a drink; have a response ready to go. Have some topics in mind to discuss if the conversation turns sour (e.g., when the inevitable New Year’s diet talk ensues).

Support:

Think about who your supports are and reach out before the holidays approach to see if they’re on board to provide you help if needed. Your interpersonal arsenal might include specific family members, friends, treating professionals, peers from treatment, or others who have identified themselves as healthy supports. Ask your supports if they’ll be available to talk/message at designated times. See if you can check in before and after specific events that you anticipate to be particularly challenging, a practice referred to as “bookending.”

Self-care:

Knowing that the holidays can create additional stress necessitates a ramping up of your standard self-care routine. What can you do that calms you/centers you in preparation for this time? Now is the time to be particularly gentle with yourself. During a stressful situation, are there specific tools you can use to help you through? Do you have an escape strategy ready to go? If something triggers you, and you’re at an event, can you step outside and get some fresh air or contact one of your supports? Are there any pleasurable activities you can get on your calendar following your holiday commitments?

Setbacks:

Recognize that, despite your best efforts, setbacks can happen. How you respond to potential setbacks can influence their duration and severity. Recovery is a process of learning from experience, maintaining motivation and commitment, and cultivating self-compassion.

 

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

To visit or tour a Clementine location with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.