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Part Two: Group Therapy in Eating Disorder Treatment

Monte Nido Philadelphia Primary Therapist Kate Funk shares part two of 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. 

I shared with our alumni how I felt that treatment was the first time in my life where I felt truly understood and many of them agreed. L explained, “I think instead of the milieu being the first place where I felt understood, it was, rather, the first place where I had the opportunity to be understood in a deeper way. It was the first time I was open about some very difficult subjects and the first time I could do that without fear of rejection or neglect. The milieu helped me feel safe enough to allow others to enter into my story.”. Al discussed the misunderstanding that often accompanies an eating disorder. Al writes, “Before Monte Nido, I felt alone in my disorder and not connected with other people. None of my friends or family understood what I was going through, so it was hard to communicate with them. When I got to Monte Nido, I was amazed at how some of the other women literally took the words out of my mouth… For once in my life I felt understood and somewhat normal”. Like Al, An had a similar experience. An explains, “When I am surrounded by people who know what it’s like, a weight is almost lifted off my back and I can find peace and security in my surroundings.”.

Support can mean so many different things and each of our supports can offer a different approach and perspective that can be invaluable. The support offered among clients can provide an extra level of understanding and accountability. L writes, “While in treatment my peers and I supported each other in various ways, chief among them, I would say, by sharing our stories. By being honest and opening up to one another, we encouraged each other to talk about the deeper issues and created a safe, non-judgmental environment in which to do so. Beyond that, we supported each other in non-verbal ways, with hugs, with expressions of understanding, with shared tears and shared laughter. Outside of treatment we kept in touch over text, and on occasion we met for coffee, or for a walk in nature, or for a painting project in the park, all things that supported my recovery by reinforcing my sense of connection to others”. H agreed writing, “loneliness plays a large role in my disorder. While going through this hard journey, I needed support more than ever. That’s where my friends (family) from treatment have come in. I have been able to call them when I am not ok to be on my own. We have gone out to dinner, held each other accountable, and challenged ourselves together.”. H also mentioned that working with a group of clients “has been able to make my own darkness a little bit lighter”. Al also expressed the importance of being supported by her treatment peers “…we expressed our struggles and celebrated our successes in recovery…While in treatment, we were there to comfort each other, give advice and lend support after rough sessions or meals. It meant the world to me that I had a group of women behind me ready to catch me if I fell… My treatment friends helped me realize that I am worth recovery and deserve a life outside of my eating disorder. Even though I knew that deep down, I didn’t truly believe it until I had other women there to remind me of it”.

To read part one of Kate’s group therapy series, click HERE.


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