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.

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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.


For more information about Monte Nido please call 855.265.1958visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Exploring the Role of Individual, Group and Family Therapy in Eating Disorder Recovery

While receiving care at an eating disorder recovery center, patients can greatly benefit from attending individual, group and family therapy sessions. These varied therapies allow patients to explore and challenge the underlying causes of their eating disorder, develop coping skills and receive support on the path to recovery. When searching for an “eating disorder treatment center near me” one should look for a treatment center that provides individual, group and family therapy options. Each of these therapies will provide patients the opportunity to better understand the role of the eating disorder in his or her lives and develop positive coping skills to utilize in the future.

Types of Eating Disorders That Respond Well to Therapy

Individual, group and family therapy approaches can help patients work through barriers to reaching and maintaining a healthy self. Individual therapy allows for one-on-one in-depth discussions and exploration with a therapist, while group and family therapy opens allows for additional insights from peers and loved ones. These therapy options are often effective in treating different types of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, pica and night eating syndrome.

Therapists will develop an individualized treatment, based on the individual’s unique diagnosis, history and co-occurring disorders. With an individualized treatment program, patients can utilize the support and resources needed to overcome any challenges that may arise while on the path to recovery.

Therapy Addresses Underlying Causes of the Eating Disorder

In most cases, a combination of social, biological and environmental causes trigger the development of an eating disorder at a young age. Skilled therapists utilize the most effective and evidence-based methods to help their patients identify the underlying causes of their eating disorder.

Therapists help patients reflect on their family background, personal temperament and other factors that may have influenced the shift to disordered eating patterns. Trauma and neglect can also have a powerful impact on a person’s propensity to develop an eating disorder. Exploring and understanding these underlying factors is a key element of recovery.

Goals of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy provides a direct therapist-patient connection to help individuals overcome major disruptive challenges in their lives. When recovering from an eating disorder, patients may meet with their therapist on a weekly basis, or more frequently, to begin the healing process. The total length of time patients remains in therapy for eating disorders depends on the individual’s needs.

The first individual therapy sessions allow patients to forge a connection with their therapist. Patients provide information about their current state of health (mental and physical), eating disorder struggles, past experiences and other factors that may be relevant to treatment and recovery. At subsequent sessions, a therapist will help patients delve deep into their challenges and the underlying factors of the eating disorder to begin the process of healing. Everything discussed in individual therapy remains private. The safe atmosphere and guaranteed confidentiality encourages patients to speak honestly about barriers to healing. The open communication lines between therapist and patient help facilitate a genuine relationship that supports and propels the recovery process.

Group Therapy Dynamics

In group therapy, patients can act as a soundboard for each other’s thoughts, feelings and concerns. The group typically meets on a weekly basis, if not more often, to discuss challenges and barriers to healing. While working with a group, therapists play an integral role in leading the discussions and facilitating healthy communication between group members.

The group therapy dynamic typically helps patients improve their ability to stay mindful and accountable during recovery. Members of the group are encouraged to talk about their journey toward becoming fully recovered from their eating disorders. The varied perspectives help many patients achieve personal growth and work through the barriers to their recovery.

A group therapy setting may help abate the sense of loneliness and isolation that can accompany the development of an eating disorder. Through the sharing of experiences, group members can lift each other up and offer encouragement with their own stories. An increased sense of support often arises in patients who attend group therapy on a regular basis.

Healing Through Family Therapy Sessions

While at eating disorder treatment centers, family therapy encourages the patient’s loved ones to participate in sessions. These intimate therapy sessions bring the family together to create a social network the patient can rely on while on the path to recovery. The sessions may also help family members learn healthy coping mechanisms in relation to the eating disorder and its impact on the family unit.

The family therapy sessions at eating disorder treatment centers aim to improve collaboration across the familial group to break down systemic issues. During these sessions, the patient, family and therapist set realistic goals everyone can work together to accomplish. The goals will frequently revolve around resolving underlying issues that may have contributed to the development and maintenance of the patient’s eating disorder.

Many people find continuing family therapy outside of the eating disorder recovery center setting helps reinforce the skills learned while working toward recovery. Sustained family involvement helps improve the communication and support within the family unit overall, and for the individual working toward recovery.

Types of Individual, Group and Family Therapy

There are many evidence-based therapy methods utilized today. The leading approaches for eating disorders include cognitive behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or EMDR therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients remain mindful of their thoughts and feelings and challenge their maladaptive belief systems. At an eating disorder treatment near me, patients will have the opportunity to share their formative life experiences, including potential instances of trauma, with their therapist. During this process, the therapist will help patients make a list of conquerable goals, potentially outside of their comfort zone, while providing positive coping skills to address any potential triggering thoughts. The goals usually center around activities, thoughts or feelings that cause the patient immense distress. Patients must utilize the coping skills learned in therapy to address and work through the feelings of stress or discomfort.

Emotion-Focused Therapy

Patients with strong avoidant behaviors can have a difficult time addressing the emotions behind their eating disorder behaviors. Emotion-focused therapy directly addresses the tendency to avoid situations and ignore emotions when faced with stressors. This therapy was originally developed specifically for eating disorders, and continues to help patients on the path to recovery. The three-step process halts negative emotions, restructures the situation and activates the appropriate emotions. Patients tend to develop more positive thought patterns while remaining mindful about their emotions and verifying they are appropriate for the situation.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Patients follow a five-step process. Patients begin with the training phase to learn behavioral skills that can reduce their reliance on maladaptive coping methods. The second stage includes individual, group and family therapy. The third stage focuses on teaching clients how to more positively react to stressors or triggers. The fourth stage is often optional, though helpful for many working toward recovery. This stage focuses on finding a spiritual meaning of life.

When actively participating in the best eating disorder treatment, patients will have access to a wide range of effective therapy options, including those mentioned above. An individualized treatment approach allows therapists to determine the therapy type and arrangement that would work best for each patient.

How a Multi-Faceted Therapy Approach Improves Recovery from Eating Disorders

When used as part of a comprehensive eating disorder treatment plan, individual, group and family therapy all have the power to help patients overcome their greatest challenges. Therapy acts as a powerful tool that helps reveal the inner workings of the brain and strengthens the mind-body connection.

While at eating disorder treatment centers, patients receive support with body and mind acceptance. The ability to accept new, more positive perspectives often requires completion of many different types of individual, group and family therapy sessions.

Acquire the Support You Need at an Eating Disorder Recovery Center

Effective eating disorder treatment centers integrate individual, group and family therapy into their programs. These three therapy types help patients challenge their beliefs and develop coping skills in both a group and individual setting. Therapists play a vital role in promoting productive, positive interactions throughout the sessions. The best eating disorder treatment directly addresses the patient’s unique needs while in treatment and on the path to recovery. Individuals with eating disorders can receive the support they need by reaching out to our team at 888-228-1253. We continuously strive to help our patients find the best level of care for their needs at our eating disorder treatment center.

Part One: Do’s and Don’ts of Supporting a Loved One in Eating Disorder Recovery

Monte Nido Rivertowns Clinical Director Gillian Tanz, MSW, LCSW has almost ten years of experience treating severe mood and anxiety disorders in multiple settings. In part one of her series, Gillian shares some of the do’s and don’ts she has learned through the years from families and loved ones supporting those in eating disorder recovery. Read on to learn more about how you can support your loved one on their recovery journey.

Supporting a person with an eating disorder can be a very tricky thing to do. How do you know whether what you are doing is supporting your loved one in their recovery process, or enabling their eating disorder to retain its grip? This is a theme that comes up again and again at Monte Nido Rivertowns. Below are some helpful guidelines, as told to me by families, clients and staff engaged in the process of recovery.

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