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World Eating Disorders Action Day

Posted on May 19, 2016 by StayConnected

Stacey Rosenfeld - 2

Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD is a licensed psychologist who specializes in eating disorders, addictions and group therapy. In her writing, Dr. Rosenfeld shares about World Eating Disorders Action Day, a day to help educate and raise awareness about eating disorders.

 

What Is It?
A wealth of misinformation surrounds the eating disorder field; we hear these myths all the time. Ideas such as “Only young, rich, Caucasian girls get eating disorders,” “You can tell if someone has an eating disorder by looking at him/her,” or “True recovery is impossible” cloud the eating disorder conversation.

The inaugural World Eating Disorders Action Day (World ED Day), happening on June 2nd, 2016,  seeks to dispel these myths, raise awareness and understanding around eating disorders, and unite activists around the globe toward much-needed policy change.

World ED Day promotes the “Nine Truths about Eating Disorders”, a collaboration between the Academy for Eating Disorders, Dr. Cynthia Bulik (the truths are based on her 2014 talk of the same name), and other key eating disorder associations. The mission/vision of World ED Day is  to “advance understanding of eating disorders as serious, treatable illnesses” and “unite eating disorder activists, professionals, parents/carers and those personally affected to promote worldwide knowledge of eating disorders and the need for comprehensive treatment.”

On June 2nd, activists around the world will come together to promote the “Nine Truths,” highlight the need for evidence-based treatment, increase funding for eating disorders research, and advocate for broad-based policy change that enables greater access to care.

Why Is It Important?
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, but that does not mean they are untreatable. Recovery is possible, but we need to make sure that those who struggle have access to quality treatment. Too often, those who suffer aren’t able to access good care due to lack of sufficient resources, insurance limitations, limited information, or other interfering variables. For many others, treatment is based on an outdated understanding of eating disorder etiology. We now know that eating disorders have genetic, biological, and environmental influences. We know that parents can play a critical role in the treatment and recovery of adolescents with eating disorders. Unfortunately, these truths have not been adopted by all.

World ED Day seeks to reduce barriers to care, particularly in underserved populations, and supports increased diversity in narratives and in the media. Have you ever noticed that most eating disorder articles in mainstream media are accompanied by a stock image of a low weight, Caucasian woman? This needs to change. Eating disorders affect men and women of all shapes and sizes, races, and socioeconomic statuses. These illnesses cut across age, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity in a way that media, research, and policy do not adequately convey.

How Can You Get Involved?
World ED Day is calling for significant social media presence and engagement in the days leading up to, and including, June 2nd. The hope is that those who suffer from eating disorders (and their families), treatment professionals, healthcare organizations, and policy makers will take note of World ED Day’s key messages. The easiest and best way to get involved is to promote World ED Day through your own social media platforms. You can use the hashtags #WeDoAct and #WorldEatingDisordersDay and like/follow these World ED Day accounts:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorldEatingDisorderDay/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WorldEDday

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/worldeatingdisordersaction/

There will be a 24-hour Tweetchat-a-Thon, accessing folks in all timezones, on June 2nd. Various organizations will present on topics such as Binge Eating Disorder and evidence-based treatment. Follow the hashtags to join the conversation. You can also participate in the Instagram project, which highlights images of diversity and challenges myths surrounding eating disorders (@worldeatingdisordersaction). Finally, please read and share the blog posts on the World ED site. Professionals, patients/carers, and advocates have written critical content begging for dissemination.

The inaugural World Eating Disorders Action Day is in our hands. We have the power, by raising our collective voices, to challenge misinformation, target underserved populations, increase research funding, and remove obstacles to care, toward the goal of treatment and recovery for all.

 

This article written by Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Kelli_Malkasian_PsyD CEDS_Director of AftercareDirector of Aftercare for Oliver-Pyatt Centers Kelli Malkasian, PsyD, CEDS helps to prepare clients to reintegrate back into their lives in a sustainable way. In her writing, she shares the importance of aftercare planning in the recovery process.

“Aftercare planning needs to pay reverence to all aspects of a client’s life and recovery.” When I heard Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt say those words, I thought there were never truer words spoken.  Even if a client makes amazing changes to her eating behaviors, has full medical and physical restoration, is motivated and attends the best program in the country, they still run a high risk of relapsing without a comprehensive aftercare plan.  We, as clinicians, have to understand what needs, triggers, and barriers to recovery exist in our clients and their environments, as well as, think about what we can do to prepare them for reintegrating back into their lives in a sustainable way.

Seeing firsthand the difficulties that clients face when they step out of residential treatment was very eye-opening for me.  I considered Dr. Oliver-Pyatt’s statement heavily throughout my time working in the IOP/TLP program and took that statement into my current role as the Director of Aftercare.  Now I work with our clinical teams to keep the aftercare plan in mind throughout treatment, both as a guide for treatment planning and for considering important factors to be addressed as a client prepares for and finally discharges from our programs.  Further, we work together with the outpatient teams, families, and the clients to help everyone see beyond the goal of symptom cessation and to look at recovery as an all encompassing process.  Factors such as school/work, relaxation, fun, socialization, environment, access to resources, family support, spiritual restoration, and support for co-occurring disorders/struggles all need to be considered in the treatment and aftercare planning.

It is my objective to make sure that each client has a full wrap-around aftercare plan that meets their unique needs and takes into consideration barriers that may exist.  Understanding and addressing these barriers early on is necessary.  Such barriers may be a lack of understanding of the complexity of the illness or treatment process, lack of access to services or financial resources, lack of willingness to participate in treatment, barriers to motivation or recovery, or lack of an appropriate support system.    We address these barriers and incorporate exposures to assess and practice their skills, build additional multi-faceted support into the aftercare plans, and help clients create a meaningful life that is congruent with their recovery needs.

 

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Giulia Suro_PhD_Primary TherapistPrimary Therapist Giulia Suro, PhD shares three specific strategies that can be integrated into the therapy process. In her post, she explains how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be a useful approach to help clients with eating disorders.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a creative, mindfulness-based therapy that hinges on acceptance and values-driven action. You do not need to be well-versed in the theory of ACT to integrate ACT techniques in to every day sessions. Below are three core concepts to ACT that can be brought in to therapy when you might feel like changing things up.

Functional Contexualism, or, “How did this serve you?” Imagine a chair that has a leg that gives out every time you sit on it. What words would you use to describe this chair? Broken? Faulty? Garbage? What if this chair was being used as an educational tool in a furniture-making class? Or as prop in a circus act? In these contexts, the chair would be serving its purpose, or function, perfectly well. Eating disorders also serve a function in the specific context each individuals’ life. This may be to provide a sense of control, safety or distraction. Yet, our clients are very quick to label their own behavior as dysfunctional or wrong. Focusing on the function of behaviors given their context can shift clients to examine their eating disorder from a more compassionate stance and help them move away from guilt and self-blame.

Experiential Avoidance, or, “Feelings won’t kill you.” Eating disorders, like most mental disorders, are characterized by avoidance. This may be avoidance of specific foods, settings, people and often life in general. From an ACT perspective, it’s truly not the external stimuli that are being avoided. Instead, it is how these things make us feel internally. Family therapy would not be difficult if it did not bring up feelings of anger or guilt. Fear foods would not be threatening if they did not incite terror or disgust. In this way, acts of avoidance are really an attempt to escape some internal experience. From this framework, discussions about exposure can center on the emotions that are truly at the heart of avoidance.

Defusion, or, “You are not your thoughts.”A common frustration in the recovery process is that eating disorder thoughts continue to persist despite progress being made. This can be scary and discouraging. When this comes up, ACT offers the skill of defusion. When we defuse from our thoughts, we see them from an objective stance and are better able to hold them lightly. A quick exercise in defusion entails identifying a powerful thought such as “I’m worthless,” and noticing how it feels to buy in to it. Adding the phrase “I’m having the thought that..” to the beginning of the sentence (“I’m having the thought that I am worthless”) immediately provides some space and allows us to and observe the thought from a distance. While the thought itself doesn’t change, we decrease its power and increase our clarity.

 

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

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