Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.
How Children’s Body Confidence Can Start at Home Eating Disorder Hope
How Looking at the Facts Reduces Anxiety and Anger Psychology Today
Are You Bullying Yourself? Huffington Post
Journeying Through Depression Recovery Project Heal
Join us for First Wednesdays at OPC! Clementine South Miami Clinical Director Amy Sosa, PsyD will present “Treating the Whole Family: Applying Bowen’s Family Therapy to Eating Disorder Treatment with Adolescents” on Wednesday, May 3rd!
For our May edition of First Wednesdays at OPC, Dr. Sosa will provide an overview of Murray Bowen’s family systems theory, including his eight concepts of family therapy: triangulation, differentiation of self, nuclear family emotional system, family projection process, multigenerational transmission process, emotional cutoff, sibling position and societal emotional process. Interventions to improve overall functioning within the family will also be discussed with a specific emphasis on understanding the underlying processes of triangles in order to detriangulate family members.
Through this presentation, participants will be able to identify and describe Bowen’s eight concepts, identify the flow and pattern of triangulation and provide two strategies to detriangulate family members. Additionally, participants will be able to accurately explain one method to differentiate family members and effectively explain one experimental technique to engage and treat the whole family system.
Registration, lunch and mingling begin at 12 pm and the presentation will be from 12:30-1:30pm. 1 CE hour will be offered for: PhD, PsyD, LMFT, LMHC, LCSW, LPCC, and RD. If you would like to join OPC’s First Wednesdays on May 3rd, please RSVP to Luisa Benda at LBenda@montenidoaffiliates.com or RSVP here by Monday, May 1st.
Karin Lawson, Psy.D., CEDS, RYT is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist in Miami, Florida. After serving as a clinical director at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for 5 years, Dr. Lawson continues her passion in private practice. She is certified in Curvy Yoga, which promotes making yoga accessible and body positive regardless of age, ability or size. In this week’s blog post, Dr. Lawson discusses the idea of self-compassion and the importance of being kind to yourself.
There is a common misconception in this world that harsh criticism creates results. You see it with some athletic coaches, some teachers, some parents and I bet if you listen to yourself, you’ll definitely hear it happening with your own internal self-talk. Unfortunately, many people struggle with a fear that kindness creates laziness and it potentially creates too much permission for one’s self . . . and that as a result the fear is that we then become out of control. This idea can be found in relation to food, to fun, to sleep, to friendship, to pleasure, to relaxation . . . the list goes on.
The good news is that we actually don’t have to do that to ourselves to help ourselves. We don’t have to harshly put ourselves in our place. In fact, it’s actually NOT effective. The research in the last few years on self-compassion is showing some amazing connections to those qualities that we’re actually striving for with the harsh criticism (FYI, if you don’t like the term self-compassion make up your own . . . maybe internal kindness, inner compassion . . . get creative). What the research is finding is that self-compassion is associated with healthier relationships, successful goal pursuit and less procrastination, as well as resilience when goals are not met (Hope, Koestner & Milyavskaya, 2014; Williams, Stark, Foster, 2008)
Self-criticism on the other hand is related to eating disorder severity (Kelly & Carter, 2013), predictive of depressive relapse (Teasdale & Cox, 2001) as well as numerous other struggles, including anxiety. There’s so much more research to share with you, but my hope is that this is enough to convince you to give self-compassion some space in your life and that it actually might take you to a more fulfilling life. How do you do that? I’m so glad you asked.
The most basic way is to listen to some guided exercises and make it a practice. Please note the word PRACTICE. It’s not an achievement. Our critical voices will still pop up, but this is how we counter it and work to create a new voice of comfort, support and encouragement. Here are a couple of great resources from leading researchers, authors and clinicians on self-compassion to get you started right away:
Dr. Kristen Neff http://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/#guided-meditations
Dr. Christopher Germer http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/meditations_downloads.php
Some people will wonder why this has to be in the form of meditation. Settling (or learning to settle) allows our parasympathetic nervous system to activate, which means our relaxation response is getting some time on the field. When we allow ourselves to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, we become more receptive and open (and therefore less defensive and dismissive). So, when trying new things it’s particularly great to allow ourselves to get into the most open and receptive state we possibly can. If you’re saying to yourself “I’m not good at meditation.” My answer is: There is no good meditation. It is what it is. Your self-compassion can actually start right there with that critical eye toward your meditation ability.
The other starting point with self-compassion is to catch yourself when you’re putting yourself down or being particularly harsh and demeaning to yourself. Would you talk to your dearest friend, loved one, therapist or pet that way? When you catch yourself, you create more awareness of how much you’re doing it and you’re creating a pause. One way to extend that pause is to ask yourself what your dearest friend, loved one, therapist or pet would say to you? Most likely (and hopefully) they would not be the type of being to put you down, but rather to comfort, encourage and raise you up. Allowing yourself the headspace to take that in a little bit is part of the work. It’s not easy though. It sounds all rainbows and butterflies, but when we are tapping into self-compassion we are also tapping into pain, so it is a bitter sweet experience. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have bittersweet, than emotional pain (ie. Self-criticism) on top of emotional pain.
Hope N, Koestner R, Milyavskaya M. The role of self-compassion in goal pursuit and well-being among university freshmen. Self Identity. 2014;13(5):579-593
Kelly AC, Carter JC. Why self-critical patients present with more severe eating disorder pathology: The mediating role of shame. Br J Clin Psychol. 2013;52(2):148-161
Teasdale JD, Cox SG. Dysphoria: self-devaluative and affective components in recovered depressed patients and never depressed controls. Psychol Med. 2001;31(7):1311-1316.
Williams JG, Stark SK, Foster EE. Start today or the very last day? The relationships among self-compassion, motivation, and procrastination. Am J Psychol Res. 2008;4(1):37-44