Monte Nido Philadelphia Primary Therapist Kate Funk begins a three part series opening up about some of her journey in eating disorder treatment. In the series, not only does Kate share her personal experience, Monte Nido alumni contribute as well. We are thankful to Kate and all of our alumni who offered some of their personal recovery journey in the hopes of helping others.
Twelve years ago this fall I began my eating disorder treatment and my journey towards recovered. I was terrified to go to treatment; the food, the therapy, the other clients, I wanted none of it! Little did I know I was about to meet some of the most talented, warm hearted, creative, and loving people I’ve ever met. Some of which I still keep in touch with. I truly believe meeting those people changed my life for the better. I was no longer alone, people understood me. Prior to entering treatment I was convinced I was defective, too weird to make deep connections let alone friends. But there I was, creating relationships that healed so many old wounds. I found hope in those authentic relationships and thought if I could build meaningful relationships in that setting then maybe I could create relationships in my “real” world as well! It gave me the confidence to talk to people and not shy away from being my true self. That time in my life was a springboard for learning to trust and rely on others and helped shape me into the recovered person I am today.
Since becoming a therapist at Monte Nido I have witnessed something similar occur in our clients as they build relationships with each other. It is truly magical to see new clients come in quiet and nervous and transform into their true selves. I see them laugh, connect, and share their emotions with their peers. I wanted to write a post about the importance of group and relationships since I often hear prospective clients mention the fear that speaking in group causes them and when people mention feeling individual therapy is more valuable than group. Group therapy is an integral part of our program and who better to tell you than alumni from Monte Nido Philadelphia (In order to uphold their confidentiality their first initial or first two initials were used).
As I mentioned earlier, new clients often dread group therapy but we often witness them warm up to group and support one another. L shares her experience being weary of group therapy, “In the beginning group therapy terrified me. As an introvert with social anxiety, I wondered how I would open up in individual therapy, let alone in a group setting. But as time went on, and I got to know the people in the group, I felt more at ease. In fact, I began to look forward to groups as a time to learn from my peers and to feel supported and understood when I didn’t feel that way around other people in my family and social circles. Just being around other people who were so diverse yet whose struggles were similar to my own gave me a sense of community and belonging. I owe it to many of my peers for helping me make it through a very difficult treatment journey, and we continue to support each other even though we no longer belong to the treatment “milieu.” H also discussed her discomfort in the beginning of treatment, “When I first entered treatment I had been alone for so long that having people around was a little bit scary, but also relieving. It was there, that I learned what true connection felt like. I finally felt loved and cared about enough to let myself be seen. I was able to laugh and make jokes and be myself for the first time in years. I also discovered that unlike I had previously thought, I was not the only one who was feeling this way”.