A Glimpse Into the Soul: Keesha Amezcua, MA, LMFT, CEDS

Monte Nido & Affiliates Vice President of Clinical Programming Keesha Amezcua, MA, LMFT, CEDS shares her personal journey to joining Monte Nido & Affiliates. Keesha shares what inspires her and what she loves about being part of this organization.

What first attracted you to want to work at Monte Nido & Affiliates, and what of those things still inspire you today?

I was first attracted to Monte Nido because of the space and philosophy that Carolyn Costin created. When I first walked up the steps of original Nido, I could feel that there was something deeply healing and incredibly special about that place. Continue reading…

Seven Ways Professional Eating Disorder Treatment Helps With Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

There are a number of reasons someone may develop an eating disorder and a number of ways they can receive help. For patients who are interested in seeking binge eating recovery options, there are facilities that can help them. They may not be quite sure what will work, or what they need to succeed, but there are dedicated professionals who know the type of eating disorder treatment that may be the best option.

Treating the entire person and helping them build their emotional and physical health and positive coping skills can make a big difference in supporting a client toward being fully recovered.

Emotional strength, confidence and the ability to utilize positive strategies can all be learned through treatment for binge eating disorder.

1. Reducing the Urge to Binge

One of the areas binge eating disorder recovery will focus on is helping the patient reduce the urge to binge eat. There are emotional mechanisms influencing the binging behavior, and exploring those root causes is an important piece on the path to recovery. Eating disorder therapy provides an opportunity to explore the causes of the disorder, as well as self-awareness, mindful eating and developing a set of skills to cope with urges to binge eat. The coping skills learned are vital, and they can really make a difference on the path to recovery.

2. Working With Professionals Who Can Help

Recovery from an eating disorder should not be done alone. Working with experienced professionals can provide support and the ability to explore, challenge and replace negative eating disordered thoughts and behaviors. These professionals know what to say, what to do and how to help, so they can provide the client the best chance of becoming fully recovered. The most effective eating disorder professionals will help patients tend to their soul as well as their body.

By connecting with professionals, the patient can receive the support they need to begin on the path to recovery. By finding experienced professionals who understand the journey the patient is on and who are dedicated to supporting them on the path to true recovery, the patient will be able to move forward after treatment confident in the skills and tools to live a healthy life, free of food and weight preoccupation.

3. Focusing on Progress in a Supportive and Structured Environment

Among the ways binge eating disorder treatment and binge eating disorder recovery can help a patient is by providing a supportive and structured environment. This environment can be provided in residential treatment, and is also important for patients who attend binge eating treatment centers that offer outpatient or day treatment programs. A structured environment is important as it diminishes outside stressors and triggers. The skills learned during the time in treatment will allow these patients to leave this type of structured environment and better handle the triggers of the outside world.

Tending to the soul and body is an essential part of total recovery from binge eating, and it is one of the main components recovery centers for eating disorders directly address. That is often why some patients choose residential treatment; in order to fully recover they are provided a safe and structured environment allowing them to focus on explore and challenge the eating disordered thoughts and behaviors and develop more positive coping skills and tools to use when leaving treatment.

4. Using Therapeutic Tools to Restore Comfort and Security

The use of therapeutic tools and learning recovery skills in binge eating treatment centers is a very important part of the overall treatment process. The right tools and skills help a client succeed on the path to recovery..

If binging brought a patient comfort, finding new ways to feel comforted will naturally reduce the binging urge. Restoring what a recovered person feels they lost through their disorder is rewarding for both the client and their family.

5. Learning Coping Skills for Difficult Times

An important piece of binge eating treatment is the development of appropriate coping skills. Following treatment, a patient may utilize their coping skills to feel less vulnerable and more centered during stressful or triggering times. How these triggering issues are addressed outside of treatment is an important part of relapse prevention.

In short, people in recovery must develop alternative ways, other than binging, they use to deal with challenges that may arise. The more coping skills they have, the easier it will be for them to stay fully recovered once treatment is complete. A fully recovered and/or experienced staff can explore and teach clients coping skills that will work for them.

6. Understanding the Value of Every Person

One of the most important things an eating disorder treatment center will teach a patient is self-worth. There is value in every person, and value in every experience. Each individual has the potential for a bright future, a future of true recovery.. Their disorder may have convinced them a happier and recovered life is not possible, but as they move through treatment and toward recovery they can learn to truly value themselves.

A person-centered approach that views a patient as more than just their disorder, Monte Nido treatment centers can help clients realize their intrinsic self-worth. Tending to their soul as well as to their body sends them on a journey of healing and wellness, toward recovery.

7. Having Confidence in Abilities for the Future

Looking toward the future in a positive light is a part of what an eating disorder treatment center will encourage in their patients. It is about moving toward being fully recovered in the present, but it is also about remaining in that space in the future. Starting to set goals during recovery is important, as the patient has more to look forward to and a plan for what they are going to do when treatment is complete.

The development of confidence is about more than becoming fully recovered, and about more than simply setting goals. It is about gaining the confidence they can succeed at the things they put their mind to. The urge to binge lessens as they find meaningful experiences and relationships in their lives. Eating disorder treatment can support patients on the path to recovery from their disorder, and can also allow them to begin to focus on the positive options for their futures.

People are complex, and when they are seen and treated with kindness, compassion and confidence they can thrive on the path to recovery. Reducing fear and worry, along with building confidence and a good skill set, is part of what a recovery center will provide to patients who are seeking binge eating treatment, guiding them on the path to true recovery. 

Maintaining Recovery During the Holidays

Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist specializing in eating disorders and body image. Recovered herself, Jennifer is extremely passionate about helping others reconnect with their bodies and be empowered in their lives. She teaches yoga at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia and is a partner with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. She leads trauma-sensitive yoga classes and teaches weekly flow yoga classes. In this week’s blog post, Jennifer offers some tips to help maintain recovery during the holidays.

The holidays can be a season of conflicting emotions and desires. For me personally, I feel joy and overwhelm, excitement and anxiety, carefree and out of control, happy and unsettled. After years of persevering to make my recovery a priority during the holidays, I’ve observed that emotional collisions can significantly affect hunger and fullness cues.

Continue reading…

Six Ways Professional Eating Disorder Treatment Centers Can Improve Your Overall Life

There are a number of ways to seek out eating disorder treatment, and there is more to the equation than a simple Google search. While clients move toward recovery, they can use techniques learned in treatment to improve the overall quality of their life. While it is important to address and manage eating disorder symptoms, it is important to remember and treat the individual as a whole.

The idea that eating disorder treatment can improve the quality of life for a client in a number of different ways is not necessarily a new thought, but it remains important. With appropriate help and support, patients can become fully recovered from their eating disorder. Additionally, they can also address other areas of their lives that may have been impacted by the eating disorder with the same tools and techniques, and can develop the life they want and deserve. Below are six ways eating disorder treatment can help clients with other aspects of their lives.

1. Confidence in the Ability to Handle Outside Stressors

One of the things patients will receive while in the best eating disorder treatment is confidence. They will be able to increase their sense of self-worth and confidence in their recovery. When an individual spends time in an eating disorder recovery center, they will gain confidence naturally and further develop it based on the help, support and guidance received. This can lead to more positive relationships with oneself, friends and family.

The ability to cope with issues that arise depends on a number of factors, including the tools and techniques a client has learned. Some individuals are naturally better at coping than others, but coping is also a skill that can be taught. With that in mind, a treatment program for eating disorders can help teach patients the confidence they need to be being on the path to recovery and more positively relate to the outside world.

2. Focus on the Important Things

If an individual is on a search for eating disorder treatment near me, they should look for a program that feels comfortable and safe and that will also provide state-of-the-art treatment. Utilizing different therapeutic modalities, support and exposures individuals can begin on the path to recovery, while reinvesting in themselves and their relationships and interests.

For any individual, including teens with eating disorders, finding a focus in life and value in their future is important to recovery. The treatment team at an eating disorder center can work with the individual to challenge past negative thoughts and behaviors and replace those with more positive interests and activities.

3. A Support System to Reach Out to As Needed

For adolescents, eating disorder therapy is very important, as they need the tools to reach full recovery and care for themselves as they grow up and move into adult life. One of the things adolescents need most is a support system, which can be beneficial in all aspects of life, including maintaining recovery.

Individuals who are experiencing eating disordered thoughts and behaviors may research obsessive eating disorder treatment. Individuals can explore the negative patterns in their lives and learn the tools to break those patterns, while relying on their support system along the way. Having someone to reach out to who can boost a patient’s mood or simply listen to them talk is a great way to help a client achieve higher levels of success. Support systems are extremely valuable, and building a good one is an important part of eating disorder treatment or any type of mental health improvement.

4. Mental and Emotional Tools to Use in Many Situations

No matter what kind of situation a person finds themselves in, there are mental and emotional tools they may use to feel better, address the situation and decide what they are going to do next. For patients who are in eating disorder treatment, learning those tools is extremely valuable. On the path to recovery from the disorder, they will learn a number of emotional and mental tools that will help them along the way. They can take the tools they gain from the best eating disorder treatment and start using them in other areas of their lives, as well.

At an eating disorder recovery center where patients learn these skills, they will likely be encouraged to use those skills in any area of their life where they may have concerns or be uncertain. This could be with their family, in their career or in any other area of life. These tools are not exclusive to eating disorders and can be beneficial in all aspects of life.

5. A Plan for Being Fully Recovered andPursuing Life Goals

When a person searches for eating disorder treatment near me, they are looking for a way to get help. There are many options to choose from, and it is important to remember an eating disorder is often a symptom of a greater issue in life. When a client is on the path to recovery from their eating disorder they may also see other areas of their lives they want to change or adjust. That can be especially true of teens with eating disorders, but also common for adults. No matter the age of the patient, it is important they know, with support, they can develop a plan for being fully recovered that can include the pursuit of their life goals.

While in recovery, patients may not be sure just what they want to do with their new future. They may be concerned they cannot pursue their dreams because of their eating disorder, or even such factors as age or educational level. By using the skills, tools and the confidence acquired in treatment, they will have a greater opportunity to achieve their life goals.

6. Strength and Resilience in All Aspects of Life

With obsessive eating disorder treatment and other types of treatment for eating disorders, a client can begin on the path to recovery. They can look back on their treatment and recovery in a way that helps them see the resilience and strength they have developed. Strength comes from within, but it is also important people are shown how to recognize their own strength.

Overall, eating disorder treatment can improve much more than a patient’s actual disorder. It can make the quality of their entire life better as it gives them the tools and confidence they need, along with the support to continue moving forward. Encouragement is vital for success, whether a client learns how to encourage themselves or receive the encouragement from outside sources or better yet, a combination of both.

Resiliency is important as life is not always easy. It is important to have strength in hard times and the ability to find the joy in life. Individuals who enter eating disorder treatment and on the path to recovery often develop increased self-confidence, skills and tools that may help them have a better overall quality of life.

Part Two: Supporting a Loved One in Eating Disorder Recovery

Monte Nido River Towns Clinical Director Gillian Tanz, MSW, LCSW has almost ten years of experience treating severe mood and anxiety disorders in multiple settings. Gillian concludes her series by offering tips to loved ones who are supporting others in eating disorder recovery.

Read Part One of Gillian’s Series HERE.

Do: Ask to be involved in your loved one’s treatment. One of the most important components of eating disorder recovery is developing a support network of people who understand what you are working on and how they can help. This is what we often call “putting the eating disorder out of a job.” For many people with eating disorders, the ED is a way to cope with difficult emotions, thoughts or events. Using food or disordered behaviors to exercise control over one’s situation is a strategy that may seem helpful to a client until it becomes a real problem. In order to move away from the disorder, the person must begin to trust and rely on friends and family to gain the emotional support that all people need.

Another reason offering your support and involvement can be so powerful is because of the shame and stigma so often associated with eating disorders. Joining with your loved one and engaging in therapy to the degree they are comfortable sends a message of empathy, acceptance and love that they may not believe possible. The alleviation of shame can be incredibly impactful on the recovery process for a person with an eating disorder. This is something supporters can offer in a way that the person in recovery often values more than if it comes from a treatment professional. The validation you can offer with your kindness and acceptance is incredibly healing and important.

Don’t: Make changes in your own life to accommodate the eating disorder. At Monte Nido, we talk about a person’s Healthy Self and their Eating Disordered Self. A person in recovery from an eating disorder may experience a daily battle between these two selves, and it can become quite confusing for them and for their loved ones. For example, a client of mine once told me how supportive her family was—they would stay home and watch tv with her rather than going out to eat at a restaurant. Restaurants made her (Eating Disordered Self) uncomfortable. Rather than making the client choose between what her Healthy Self wanted—time with her family—and what her Eating Disordered Self wanted—to restrict calories—the family’s “supportive” gesture appeased the ED. This enabled her to keep using disordered behaviors with no negative consequences. This client highly valued and loved her family and spending time with them. Before coming to treatment, the client felt her ED was “functional,” despite how miserable she often felt, because she was still able to “have her cake and eat it too.” Creating a choice between staying alone with her ED and engaging socially with her family was exactly what was needed to increase her motivation to recover.

Another reason not to accommodate the eating disorder is because it is awfully tiring! Supporters who go out of their way to appease the disorder can find themselves feeling “burnt out” and even resentful of their loved one. In addition to seeking your own support (see below), it is crucial to know what your limits are and to stick to them. Explain your personal boundaries to your loved one in recovery during a normal conversation (not an argument) and ask for their understanding and cooperation. This is another way to keep yourself healthy and take care of your own needs, so that you can be supportive to them as well.

Do: Get your own support. This can be from many sources, such as a support group, a therapist, friend or clergy. Some treatment facilities offer support groups just for loved ones of their clients for this reason. It is important to recognize that getting your own support can help the person you love who is suffering from an eating disorder. Much like the way that, on an airplane, you’re instructed to put your own air mask on before helping others, you must take care of yourself in order to be supportive to your loved one as they recover.

Don’t: give up hope. Our philosophy at Monte Nido is that real, sustained and permanent recovery from an eating disorder is possible. The road to being fully recovered is not easy, but the presence of loving supporters is essential to progress on that journey. Thank you for taking the time to read this article and for educating yourself so that you can be an effective supporter to your loved one.


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