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Oliver-Pyatt Centers Clinical Director of Intensive Outpatient and Transitional Living Programs Giulia Suro, PhD will present at OPC’s First Wednesdays Series for Clinical Professionals on Wednesday, February 1st. Dr. Suro will share her expertise on “Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Drop the Rope in the Context of Challenging Therapy Cases”.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) challenges conventional wisdom and overturns the ground rules of most of Western psychology. Within the framework of ACT, quality of life is dependent on mindful, values-guided action, regardless of how many symptoms you have. Applying an ACT approach in the context of complex pathology (e.g. personality disorders, trauma, eating disorders) provides an opportunity  to address the numerous and multifaceted factors that maintain the symptom presentation. ACT encourages clients to examine the function of their symptomatology from an objective and compassionate stance. Additionally, ACT techniques teach clients and clinicians alike how to live a meaningful and valued life in the presence of the most painful and unrelenting thoughts and feelings. For our February edition of First Wednesdays at OPC, Dr. Giulia Suro will provide a general overview of the theoretical underpinnings of ACT as well as specific clinical techniques to use in challenging cases.

Through this presentation, participants will be able to identify and define the six core components of the ACT hexaflex. Participants will learn techniques to illustrate the skills of diffusion and experiential acceptance in the context of thoughts and feelings associated with the eating disorder and to define the difference between a value and a goal in the framework of working with clients toward behavioral change.

Lunch begins at 12:00pm and the presentation will be from 12:30-1:30pm. One CE hour will be offered for PhD, PsyD, LMFT, LMHC, LCSW, LPCC and RD. If you would like to join Oliver-Pyatt Center’s First Wednesdays on February 1st, please RSVP to Florida Outreach Manager Callie Chavoustie at CChavoustie@www.oliverpyattcenters.com or RSVP here by Montday, January 30th.

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

KarinL_blog

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, Karin 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 today’s post, Karin reminds us about the importance of practicing gratitude and some helpful ways to do so. 

Given that this is the month of Thanksgiving in the United States, of course I couldn’t post without acknowledging the psychological benefits of attending to gratitude. You might brush this off as simply a feel good activity that has no long term effects, but actually naming our gratitude and giving it some space in our lives can literally change our brain. Psychologist Rick Hanson discusses our negativity bias as humans in his book Hardwiring Happiness and on his blog. He discusses how our brains are naturally wired to overestimate threats, underestimate opportunities, and underestimate resources. Therefore, we need an intentional effort to get this natural bias going in a different direction. It also explains why the work of recovery is so daunting at times. It’s work, not magic!

Instead of looking at the big picture and feeling overwhelmed at the concept of rewiring the brain, for now, let us simply take a slow deep breath and know that one intentional positive action at a time literally builds a better life and a more balanced brain. We are not destined to be negatively biased, if we are willing to be an agent in creating change for ourselves. Literally taking that deep breath I just mentioned, allows our parasympathetic nervous system to calm us down a notch or two, which then creates more openness (less threat) and therefore more ease (not to be confused with easy) in our efforts to change our thinking. So, take a few more deep breaths, I will wait right here.

Now, consider 5 things that you are grateful for in your life. Engaging in a movement (even a slight one) like writing, wiggling our fingers or taking five steps can support the integration of these attitudes of gratitude as we contemplate them. As I practice this alongside you today, after my deep breaths, I’m taking some steps across my backyard acknowledging an appreciation for my first lemon tree filled with lemons, my two personality-filled kitty cats, my friendly neighbors, the current weather and the ability to walk. I’m also grateful to know that if you’re reading this in your recovery journey that you are invested in altering that negativity bias. This is evidence you are using your resources, such as the Oliver-Pyatt Centers blog.

 

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

 

 

Lisa JimenezOliver-Pyatt Centers Primary Therapist Lisa Jimenez, MS works closely with clients suffering from eating disorders, specifically Binge Eating Disorder. She discusses our society buy in to the ideal “thinner is better”, and offers some strategies to embrace your body, no matter the size.

Everyone knows that feeling. You wake up, look in the mirror, and don’t like what you see. Bad body image, its the worst. For our women in larger bodies there seems to be an added layer. Not feeling our best, we turn to someone we love for some validation and get the dreaded response, “don’t worry, the weight will come off”. Hmm… that didn’t really help. What about my body now, right as it is in this very moment? Will people not like it? Will they think I’m too much?

We live in a society that idealizes the thin body. Those closest to us, the ones we care about most deeply, often buy into this misconception as well: thinner is better. We search for validation and acceptance in a body that’s beautiful and curvaceous, however one that others may not idealize and may not strive for.

As a larger bodied woman working with clients seeking treatment for Binge Eating Disorder (often larger bodied, however, not always the case) I’ve gathered tools both in my personal and professional life to help combat bad body image. In a society that idealizes thinness, some of these steps may be hard to believe, however, I can say confidently that they work. So why not? Be your own advocate. Give them a shot!

  1. Get inspired. There are many amazing, body positive women all over social media speaking up. Add them to your Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! Flood your feed with women of different body shapes, colors and sizes. Who wants to see the same image over and over? There’s beauty in diversity.

  2. Remember your unique worth. You’re a lot more than your body. Think about your values, your interests, all those people in your life that love you greatly. There’s so much to be excited about!

  3. Practice body gratitude. This one can be hard, but it is key to body acceptance. Do you remember that cool move you did in Zumba the other day? Yeah, that was your body doing its thing. How about those Latin genes seeping out of your curves? Personally, I like to reflect on how my body connects me with my ancestry. Wherever you’re from, your body is part of your history. How cool is that?

  4. Rock your style. I know it may be hard to find a wide variety of sizes in retail store, but there are some fun, stylish brands online. Order yourself something cute. Spend the money. Feel good in what you’re wearing! You deserve it. For now, rummage through your closet and thrown on an outfit you feel good in,

  5. Nourish yourself. On a day where body image is not at its best, make it a priority to properly nourish yourself, both physically and emotionally. Don’t skimp on the food. It’s the ultimate set up for mindless eating. And please, do something nice for yourself. Mani, anyone?

  6. Practice body neutrality. Okay fine, you may not love your body today, but you can still show it respect. Try a more neutral approach like “I may not love what I see but I can accept it. I am more than a body.”

  7. Gather the evidence. Will people really like me more if I lose weight? Will all my problems miraculously vanish? Is my weight truly the cause of my unhappiness? I think you get it. And if you struggle with this one (as many people do), you might need to move on to number 8.

  8. Stop the spiral. There’s a great cognitive behavioral therapy tool where you imagine a stop sign to help you stop ruminating thoughts. If you notice that your head is taking you down the rabbit hole, this is about the time where you whip out this tool. If this doesn’t work, go distract: read a book, watch a funny video, keep that brain of yours occuppied.

  9. Call a body positive friend. Hopefully you have at least one person in your life on board with body positivity. Take note of these women and call them up when you need a little extra TLC. If you don’t have a friend like this in your life, it’s time to go out and find one!

  10. Ask yourself this: when did hating my body ever result in anything positive? Never!

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt CentersClementine adolescent treatment programs and Monte Nido, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

What’s Your Power Pose?

Posted on June 30, 2016 by StayConnected

Jennifer_Yoga-9076Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, founder of Chime Yoga Therapy, is a yoga therapist specializing in eating disorders. Recovered herself, Jennifer is exceedingly passionate about helping others connect with their natural gift of resilience through yoga. In addition to her private practice, Jennifer is also a yoga therapist at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia. In her writing, Jennifer tells of the power of yoga in eating disorder recovery.

The other day I had the powerful experience of leading four women through a yoga practice at a retreat. The women had come together to strengthen their eating disorder recovery journey. I was inspired by their grit and dedication. After all, attending a retreat is voluntary. These individuals participated purely out of choice, knowing they were going to do some seriously hard work.

With yoga mats, grounding stones, and paper and pens, we set off to share a yoga experience. I began by asking the women to write down a word that described how they wanted to feel that day. Words like “thin,” “empty,” “numb,” or other eating disorder associations were off limits. This exercise was about imagining another way of feeling and drawing out their “healthy voice.”

As we flowed in and out of poses, I cued the women to recall the word they wrote down. I asked them to hold their word in their mind as we breathed, balanced, twisted, folded, backbended, and inverted.

At the end of the practice, I asked the women to give their word a pose. You see, I believe we can wire in a feeling that we want to cultivate through our bodies. In other words, we can embody a feeling by creating a pose that expresses that very feeling. For example, in the same way that hunched shoulders, clenched hands, and a frown can embody (and even create) a sense of depression, anxiety, or loneliness, an open stance, with feet firm on the floor and shoulders back (like mountain pose) can embody a sense of grounding or confidence. We can call on a pose to literally shift our mood, thoughts, and demeanor. This is a powerful tool I’ve been practicing in my own healing journey.

Certainly, a pose isn’t a permanent fix, but when done with purpose, strong intention, and often, yoga poses can be a powerful way to cultivate the qualities we want to create more of in our recovery and life in general.

I was so impressed and inspired by how willing and open the women were to this exercise. For one woman, “peaceful” took the form of tree pose, and for another woman this quality was felt in mountain pose. Half moon pose represented “alive” for another participant. All five of us were smiling by the time we finished sharing. The room was lighter, and my perception was that the women felt lighter in their bodies as well.

It was quite a moment for me to watch the women combine their word with a pose. In fact, one of them brilliantly named the exercise “Power Pose.” How perfect, right? When we realize that we can interrupt an eating disorder thought or behavior simply with a word and a pose, we have gained immense power. We show ourselves that the very thing that we believe controls us can be quieted and even conquered, if even just for a moment. That single moment is the gateway to many, many more moments one word and one pose at a time.

I invite you to discover your Power Pose for today. First, ask yourself how you want to feel today. Next, imagine a shape that connects you to that quality. You don’t need to be in a “real” yoga pose either. Just simply shift into a shape that takes you out of the eating disorder slump (in mind and body) and into a more positive space.

There’s no right or wrong. Feel your way into your Power Pose. Get used to having the power again.

Many thanks and blessings to those four special women for gifting me with the beautiful idea of Power Pose and sharing their yoga practice with me. Many thanks and blessings to you, too, for taking the time to read this post and opening your mind and heart to healing.

Keep going!

 

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt CentersClementine adolescent treatment programs and Monte Nido, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

The Power of Our Storytelling

Posted on June 02, 2016 by StayConnected

KarinL_blogKarin Lawson, PhD is a licensed psychologist who is passionate about helping people create change in their lives through self-reflection, self-compassion, new perspective and new ideas. In her writing, Dr. Lawson offers some thought about the power of storytelling both in and outside of therapy.  

Feeling incredibly honored to be a contributor for the OPC Blog, I am jumping in this week with a reoccurring theme for me these past few months . . . storytelling. While this has actually been a theme in much of my life, more recently it has been popping up consistently. As a psychologist, I have the privilege of hearing people’s stories. In that work, it’s important to note the stories that they were told, the stories they tell themselves and the new stories that we create together. While I have never been formally trained in narrative therapy, I have used it without realizing it. Being someone who naturally has gravitated toward journaling and creative writing in my early life, that thread continues on in my blogging and the talk therapy that occurs in my office. My recent run-ins with reflections on storytelling have clarified some incredibly important aspects to why storytelling in our life matters. I’d love to share them with you.

In his University of Pennsylvania commencement speech on May 16, 2016, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the wildly successful Broadway musical Hamilton, says this:

Every story you choose to tell, by necessity, omits others from the larger narrative. One could write five totally different musicals from Hamilton’s eventful, singular American life, without ever overlapping incidents. For every detail I chose to dramatize, there are ten I left out…This act of choosing—the stories we tell versus the stories we leave out—will reverberate across the rest of your life.

To me, this speaks to a couple of things that we can look at more closely and gain insight. Take any story of your life, maybe the one you have told yourself or your therapist most recently and take note of what details you were pulled to emphasize versus which ones didn’t seem as interesting to you. Why are those details so important to us? This question isn’t meant to be a judgment that someone has chosen the wrong details to signify, but rather an opportunity for gentle curiosity to explore and understand better how we work and what’s important to us. Then we get to play around with perspective and think of the story we’ve recently told and tell it from another perspective. Was there someone else in the story? Can we tell the story from the imagined perspective of that person? Or can we tell it as if someone had been looking in from a far, but wasn’t a part of the story, as much as an observer? What is it like to think about this life experience as a “story”, not a made-up story or a fiction story, but a story, none the less?

My second recent run-in with the concept of storytelling was in the May-June 2016 issue of Psychotherapy Networker, in which the editor Richard Simon writes about The Moth. The Moth is a international phenomenon started by a poet in New York City, in which average people  (i.e. people who don’t necessarily professionally write or perform) gather in groups, in cafes and theaters and tell true stories, as remembered by the storyteller, 5-minutes in length. There’s always a theme for the story night such as fathers, food, grudges, life in the fast lane, etc. The piece of Richard’s discussion of The Moth that struck me the most was the sense of connection that people feel in the shared experience of hearing stories. There is often tears, laughter and a knowing that even though the audience’s experience doesn’t mirror the storyteller’s experience, there is a relatable emotion at the heart. That’s the hard-part though for most of us, allowing ourselves to be revealing rather than omitting, self-editing and trying to keeping the rawness at bay.

In the spirit of knowing that our true stories are healing and connecting, I encourage you in the journey of recovery to share your truth, to know that others want the truth and to give yourself that gift of not being alone with it. That may mean that you reveal yourself to your family, your group therapy, your individual health care providers, your friends . . . whoever is safe and deserving of hearing your stories.

You can watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s speech on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewHcsFlolz4

 

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

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

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

Angie

Angie Viets, LCP is an eating disorder specialist who has dedicated her career to helping her clients recover. In her writing, Angie shares her personal journey with an eating disorder as well as her professional experience in the field. She offers a unique perspective to the view of exercise and whether it can be an act of self care or self harm.

“Strong is the new skinny.” “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” “Suck it up now and you won’t have to suck it in later.” Sound familiar? You can’t spend five minutes on Pinterest or any form of social media without seeing these catchy little quotes layered on top of images of whatever the latest absurd mandate is to be considered beautiful or sexy…

Sometimes I wonder who the puppeteer is behind this charade. I imagine if we saw who is making up these insane standards it would be like the big revelation in the infamous Wizard of Oz. Just an ordinary man behind the curtain playing clever tricks on us (probably while eating Cheetos and drinking grape soda, laughing at us while we run around in circles eating egg whites).

Are you so lost and unsure of yourself that you’ve bought into this craziness? Once upon a time, I was, for sure.  My life felt controlled by getting in my next workout. I adopted the belief that a day was only as good as the workout completed. Fear pressured me into working out while sane people slept. Dark streets stretched before me, lonely and cold, yet mile after mile I ran and ran until my heart told me to stop, yet even then I kept going.

I felt so superior to my peers and colleagues; I burned seven trillion calories while they drank coffee and watched the Today Show before heading into work. People probably thought I was crazy, but instead, they said things like, “Wow, I wish I had your motivation.” (“See, you’re superior!  You have something they want but don’t have the willpower to achieve,” the eating disorder that ruled my life at the time said, reinforcing my efforts.) I failed to let them know that I was seeing a cardiologist over the lunch hour, due to becoming increasingly more convinced that my irregular heartbeat might be a sign of an impending heart attack at the premature age of 22.

I hold images of that girl in my head, and I just want to pick her up off of the dark curb where she sat, fearfully timing her pulse, instead of her miles, and tuck her into bed while secretly burning her running shoes. She was a lost soul, running away from the very thing she was so desperate to find – herself. Looking back now it just feels sad; certainly not superior. My identity was wrapped up in an all-consuming eating disorder, and excessive exercise was just one part of my obsessive and disordered life. Until…

Until the day, I walked by a yoga studio and observed people in odd postures. They looked really…well, serene, unlike me and all of the other treadmill junkies. I found the practice of yoga fascinating; it kept calling to me softly, “just one class,” as I walked by each day. But I waited a long time to have the courage to attend a class because it meant rebelling against my eating disorder and its insistence that running was the Holy Grail. My addiction to running was much louder than the gentle whispers seeping out from under the yoga mats, following me home.

The night I finally entered the sacred space of that yoga studio is forever burned into my mind. Something shifted in me that night as I laid in savasana (corpse pose). I reconnected with a part of myself while lying on my yoga mat and I heard a quiet voice softly whisper, “You can eat now.” This voice is my most compassionate self who is loving, infinitely wise, and deeply invested in nurturing me. I chanted Om three times, bowed my head while saying Namaste, rolled up my mat and walked back out into my life forever changed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t abandon compulsive exercise that night; I needed a remedy much greater at the time. But little by little I started giving myself permission to listen to my body and its desire to attend a yoga class instead of torturing my injured knees on a treadmill. At some point, I laid down running entirely. Moving my body stopped feeling abusive and slowly felt like an act of self-care. Over time, I let go of the core belief that if I didn’t exercise in an ‘acceptable’ way that something horrific would happen.

Exercise is kind and loving and very much a source of self-care when used in moderation and in ways that feel good to you. For some, that could be running, for me, it’s a long walk on a sunny day with Mosley, our Golden Retriever, a bike ride with my kids, or a walk with a girlfriend where our legs try to keep up with our words. My body craves a gentle yoga class with incense burning and Sanskrit music playing; I feel at home in my body on a yoga mat.  Sometimes it’s a quick cardio workout with my favorite audible book playing. And many days, it’s rest, because I don’t need to run away from myself anymore.

Our bodies crave movement. Exercise has tremendous benefits for our mental and physical well-being, but when abused it does far more harm. It’s not intended to be our only method of coping with the stress we experience in our lives.

Listen to the infinite wisdom of your body, it has all the answers you need.

Love + Light,

Angie

If you are concerned exercise has shifted from self-care to self-harm, I would recommend taking a minute to consider a few common symptoms:

-Working out when sick or injured

-Irritability if you can’t exercise

-Becoming depressed if you are sick/injured to the point of being unable to work out

-Fearful of weight gain if not exercising

-Arranging your entire day around a workout

-Working out more to compensate for eating certain foods or skipping a workout

 

This article originally published on The Angie Viets site. 

 

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

Practicing Gratitude

Posted on March 31, 2016 by StayConnected

Jessica_Genet_Pic MonkeyAssociate Director of Clinical Recruitment and Resources, Jessica Genet, PhD shares how practicing gratitude can be an effective treatment tool in body image work.  She explains how the use of gratitude in the recovery process can help heal the clients relationship with the body, and offers seven different ways to begin doing so.

Imagine the following: “You are driving your car to the store. Up ahead, the road is closed and road workers redirect you towards an alternate route. Once you arrive, you walk into the store and are greeted by a store employee with a friendly smile.”

Take a moment to reflect on how you would respond to this scenario. Would you focus on the hassle of the road closure? Or would you notice the small act of kindness shown by the store employee?

It is easy to take for granted the small “gifts” that occur in our daily lives as well as the more substantial blessings and silver-linings. It is also unfortunately easy to fall into a pattern of focusing on hassles, irritations and life stressors. However, research has shown that taking the time to actively practice gratitude – acknowledging goodness in ones’ life and recognizing the contribution others (people, animals, higher power) have made for the sake of our well-being– can be incredibly beneficial to our emotional and physical health. Research has shown that gratitude increases happiness and feelings of optimism, joy and pleasure. Gratitude also encourages us to “pay it forward” and be more helpful, altruistic and compassionate. A grateful focus helps us feel more connected to others and less lonely, and improves our health, strengthens the immune system and encourages us to take better care of our bodies.

At the Oliver-Pyatt Centers, we regularly incorporate practices of gratitude into our treatment. For individuals with an all-consuming eating disorder, moments of gratitude are often overshadowed by obsessive thoughts, anxiety and sadness, isolation, and other hallmarks of the disorder. We also know that the journey to recovery is often challenging. By teaching our clients to practice gratitude, we can help build their resilience to the challenges of recovery and move towards a life that feels more joyful, meaningful, and connected to others.

One area of treatment that especially benefits from the practice of gratitude is body image work. Many of our clients enter treatment extremely critical of their bodies and preoccupied with body shape and size. By encouraging our clients to take a moment to reflect on the gifts and miraculous functions of the body – such as appreciating arms because they allow us to hug a friend and our eyes which allow us to see a summer sunset – we can slowly begin to heal the relationship with the body.

Below are some suggestions for how you can start a practice of gratitude (from the book “Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier” by Robert Emmons, Ph.D.)

Keep a Gratitude JournalEstablish a daily practice of reminding yourself of the gifts, benefits and good things you enjoy. By writing each day, you magnify and expand upon these sources of goodness.

Buddhist Meditation Technique of Naikan – This practice involves self-reflection on three questions that can help address issues or relationships. It involves recognizing the gifts we receive and what we give to others, and acknowledging how we may cause pain in the lives of others.

What have I received from__________?

What have I given to ____________?

What troubles and difficulties have I caused _______?

Pay Attention to Your Five Senses – By paying attention to the ability to touch, see, smell, taste and hear we connect to what it means to be human.

Use Visual Reminders – Visual reminders (e.g., post-it notes on our bathroom mirror, reminders in our phone) serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude.

“Breath of Thanks” (by Dr. Frederic Luskin) – Two or three times a day, slow down and bring attention to your breathing. Notice the flow of your breath. For each of the next five to eight exhalations, say that words “thank you” silently to remind yourself of the gift of being alive. Practice at least three times a week.

Learn Prayers of Gratitude – Spiritual traditions are universally filled with prayers of gratitude. If you identify with spiritual tradition, incorporating these prayers into your daily life can heighten gratitude.

Go Through the Motions – If we go through grateful motions (e.g., saying thank you, writing letters of gratitude) we can trigger the emotion of gratitude. Psychological evidence has shown that attitude change often follows behavior change.

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

Michael Thomas Blog PostMichael Thomas, Program Administrator of Dine Monte Nido, shares keen insight and a valued reminder to slow down and take time for yourself in the new year. Wishing a happy and fulfilled 2016 to all of our readers. 

I don’t know about you, but slowing down is not an easy task for me. I even find myself gravitating toward checking my “work emails” and social media posts in off hours, on the weekends, and even on vacation.

While I do not think these things are “wrong” in and of themselves, I have had to make a conscious effort to detach from my phone and lap top now and then. And what happens when I do?

I feel weird!

I mean, it feels weird to be away from them right? I can’t be the only one.

My wife and children offer reminders (often unintentionally) about the importance of taking time back from my normal connectedness to my “smart phone.” Yes, I just put “smart phone” in quotes.

Supposed to make my life easier, right? Doesn’t always feel that way.

I have made a few intentional decisions over the last couple of years that have helped me take care of my soul and become a human being, not a human doing.

1. Go for a walk… and don’t bring my phone
I love going for walks. I often do this with my wife and two children. We walk around the neighborhood and look at all the holiday lights. Our street has a lot of people with the holiday spirit. My 2 1/2 year old is particularly happy about that!
It is easy to bring my phone along. But many times I intentionally leave it behind. I do feel a little odd when I do, but the distance helps me. It helps my soul. Going for walks alone are also helpful. Without my phone. Just me, and… well… me. There is something settling about it. I start off antsy, but then as things settle in, I feel far more relaxed, focused, and energized. Give it a try!

2. Ask yourself “Why am I doing ________ ? (insert any draining life-piece)
When I sit down and really think about the “Why” being things, it helps me gain perspective. While there are many things I do in life that are not fun for me (e.g. drive to work, get up early, etc.), many of these are needed. However, many things in your life may not be needed, but we continue involvement with them for all sorts of reasons; guilt about not doing it, people pleasing, etc. In these moments it is important to take inventory of your life and where you want to spend your precious hours, minutes, and seconds. At least I can say I have found this helpful.

Example 1
When I was studying for my doctorate in clinical psychology I would often think, “Why am I going to five years of school after undergrad!” But then I would think on what I was passionate about in life and how, in the long term, this was helping me achieve my goal of educating myself so I can best help people.

Example 2
At one point in my life I was driving over an hour to and from work. I enjoyed what I did and the people I worked with, but the drive was draining me. When I sat down and asked “Why am I continuing in this job?” I did some soul searching and discovered it was taking too much out of me and my family. So, I made a change.

3. Consider the souls of the people you love around you
This is one of my favorite life lessons. Sometimes I just sit back and stare at my wife and kids. It probably looks weird as I probably have a goofy smile on my face. But I look at them and I see them laugh, play, and just be. It is beautiful. I think back to the early days of dating my wife and the wonderful person she was then, and even more wonderful now! I think about how we welcomed each of our two children into this world and the early days of sleepless nights (still have some of those). Running down the hall to their rooms to help comfort them when they cry in the middle of the night. Just yesterday I watched my daughter “do ballet” (as she says) around a restaurant after she was finished eating. Ha! The “dad” part of me paused before going to get her and bring her back. I saw her joy and wonder. I couldn’t interfere. It was beautiful.

In Summary
Take time for you. Not to do things, but to be. Pause. Observe the beautiful and wonderful souls around you.

This post originally featured on the Dine Monte Nido website.

 

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

What Inspires You?

Posted on January 06, 2015 by StayConnected

What Inspires You

The team members at OPC are excited about all the possibilities for the new year and wanted to take the month of January to reflect on the things that inspire us. Our team members are encouraged to share a photo and a comment of something in his or her life that is inspiring and you are encouraged to like your favorites or those that also feel inspiring to you. Inspiration can be something as small as a friendly word from a co-worker in the morning to the wonderment of learning from a new child; no inspiration is too small!

To follow along with us and to share our inspiration throughout the month please follow us on Facebook. To see our inspiration from last year please visit the photo album here

 

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

Positivity and Inspiration

Posted on February 06, 2014 by StayConnected

During the winter months and after the holidays have come to an end, it can sometimes be easy to fall into a slump. We have compiled our top tips for beating the winter blues and generating positivity and inspiration.

1. Create a collage. You can create a physical collage with magazine clippings, drawings, and paint or design an online collage here. Make sure your collage is full of positive and inspirational photos, quotes, and pictures. Ideas: calming scenery; inspiring career or educational quotes; health and recovery focus; positive role models and the messages they promote; etc.

2. Positive Affirmations. Create your own affirmations to place at your desk, on a mirror, or within a journal. If you need some inspiration to get started, check here.

3. Mindful movement. Take a relaxing walk around the neighborhood and take in sites you have never noticed before, join a yoga flow class with a friend, play with an animal in the park – mindful movement can bring relaxation to your mind and body. Please make sure to check with your doctor before participating in any physical activity. 

4. Journal. Journaling allows you to free your mind and take a moment to focus on yourself. For a slight variation – create a positivity and inspiration journal to bring your focus to an imaginative and  encouraging place.

5. Join a book club. Take some time to relax, engage with friends, and learn from other’s experiences. Reading can open up your world and allow you to look at things in an entirely new way.

6. Start a new hobby. In addition to joining a book club, have you ever wanted to try pottery, painting, cooking, photography? Learning a new skill can inspire all aspects of your life and bring enjoyment in the process.

7. Do something good for others. This can range from helping someone across the street, studying with a neighborhood child, or giving back at a homeless shelter or hospital. Do what speaks to you and gain inspiration from the positivity you are adding to the world.

How else do you add positivity and inspiration to your life?

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