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stephdiamondOliver-Pyatt Centers Clinical Director Stephanie Diamond, PhD, CEDS specializes in eating disorders and personality disorder co-morbidities. In her writing, Dr. Diamond shares a glimpse into the inner world of someone struggling with an eating disorder and about the importance of self-compassion in eating disorder recovery.  

Think about your own inner dialogue. Is it kind, gentle, friendly? Is it aggressive, rejecting, demeaning? Both? Neither? For the less fortunate among us, self-critical thoughts come automatically, while thinking kindly about oneself might feel inauthentic or indulgent. Why is it some of us struggle to treat ourselves in the manner that we might treat a friend?

The inner world of someone with binge eating disorder (BED; or any other eating disorder) can often be an unfriendly place. The stream of consciousness thoughts within the mind of the person who is struggling tend to be skewed toward self-critical, self-deprecating, and self-blaming statements. The person is fairly constantly under siege by these negative, judgmental and disapproving and shaming thoughts about self. Ah, shame… what a dark and haunting emotion. Shame is a destructive emotion that makes us feel less-than and fosters isolation. The eating disorder enters as a way to manage the shame, and often exacerbates these feelings. It is a nasty positive feedback loop. And it is no coincidence that shame is often a main target in psychotherapy during the treatment of BED.

How do we target shame, you ask? Well, there are many ways we can work to take that terrible monster down! Have you heard about self-compassion? It is about self-kindness, it is about recognizing our humanness, and it is about mindfulness of reactions to our painful thoughts and feelings (Neff, 2003). And, amazingly, self-compassion may just be the best antidote to shame.

Don’t worry if you find yourself self-compassion-deficient. You are not destined to remain that way, as there are methods for you to develop more! Self-compassion is not an all-or-nothing thing. It is not about “having” or “not having” self-compassion. Self-compassion exists on a continuum, and like anything worth having, it takes work and practice. How might your life be different if you were a little kinder to yourself? What might change? Can you dare to imagine…? Might you have more patience with yourself; might you befriend your body; might you forgive a mistake you made?

Let’s not forget that when it comes to eating disorder recovery, the very act of honoring your body’s hunger and fullness cues is an act of self-compassion. The practice of self-compassion can make all the difference in helping a person bridge from self-destruction to self-actualization. We need to nurture a self-compassionate voice to counter the self-critical one, otherwise, recovery will likely remain out of reach.

So, what can you do today to nurture some gentleness and loving-kindness towards little old you? You deserve it!

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.

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Clinical Director Dr. Stephanie Diamond, PhD, CEDS shares an inside look into her upcoming co-presentation on “Self-Compassion: A Tool for Shame Resilience and Body Image Work in the Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder.” To register for the conference and to see Stephanie speak, please visit here

Think about your own inner dialogue. Is it kind, gentle, friendly? Is it aggressive, rejecting, demeaning? Both? Neither? For the less fortunate among us, self-critical thoughts come automatically, while thinking kindly about oneself might feel inauthentic or indulgent. Why is it some of us struggle to treat ourselves in the manner that we might treat a friend?

The inner world of someone with binge eating disorder (BED; or any other eating disorder) can often be an unfriendly place. The stream of consciousness thoughts within the mind of the person who is struggling tend to be skewed toward self-critical, self-deprecating, and self-blaming statements. The person is fairly constantly under siege by these negative, judgmental and disapproving and shaming thoughts about self. Ah, shame… what a dark and haunting emotion. Shame is a destructive emotion that makes us feel less-than and fosters isolation. The eating disorder enters as a way to manage the shame, and often exacerbates these feelings. It is a nasty positive feedback loop. And it is no coincidence that shame is often a main target in psychotherapy during the treatment of BED.

How do we target shame, you ask? Well, there are many ways we can work to take that terrible monster down! Have you heard about self-compassion? It is about self-kindness, it is about recognizing our humanness, and it is about mindfulness of reactions to our painful thoughts and feelings (Neff, 2003). And, amazingly, self-compassion may just be the best antidote to shame.

Don’t worry if you find yourself self-compassion-deficient. You are not destined to remain that way, as there are methods for you to develop more! Self-compassion is not an all-or-nothing thing. It is not about “having” or “not having” self-compassion. Self-compassion exists on a continuum, and like anything worth having, it takes work and practice. How might your life be different if you were a little kinder to yourself? What might change? Can you dare to imagine…? Might you have more patience with yourself; might you befriend your body; might you forgive a mistake you made?

Let’s not forget that when it comes to eating disorder recovery, the very act of honoring your body’s hunger and fullness cues is an act of self-compassion. The practice of self-compassion can make all the difference in helping a person bridge from self-destruction to self-actualization. We need to nurture a self-compassionate voice to counter the self-critical one, otherwise, recovery will likely remain out of reach.

So, what can you do today to nurture some gentleness and loving-kindness towards little old you? You deserve it!

Stephanie will be co-presenting on the topic of ‘Self-Compassion: A Tool for Shame Resilience and Body Image Work in the Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder’ at the BEDA National Conference on November 7th, 2015, in Hollywood, FL. Additionally, our Founder and Executive Director Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD, FAED, CEDS will be speaking on ‘Just Do It: Applying Scientific Evidence & Clinical Pearls in the Development of Psychologically Minded & Medically Grounded Movement Plans in BED’. 

To view the full agenda, please visit here and to register for the conference, please visit the BEDA website here

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and Clementine adolescent treatment programming, 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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To kick off the one month countdown to the 2015 BEDA Conference we share a post from Oliver-Pyatt Centers Founder and Executive Medical Director Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD, FAED, CEDS on delivering proper care and buffering from the harmful effects and many times unintentional weight shaming. 

John Bradshaw said in his powerful book Healing the Shame That Binds You, “Shame is often cited as the buried emotion in all forms of eating disorders, compulsive eating and substance abuse.” I could not agree more! This about sums it up! That is why it is so exciting that we have Weight Stigma Awareness Week and why I am so happy to write on the subject of weight stigma and healthcare.

We, BEDA, created tool kits for patients to talk to physicians and for physicians to talk with patients. And I hope the tools are useful. I think this year, it is time for us to think further about the origins of shame, what makes interventions useful or not, and to think more about commonalities among all humans beings that lead us from what Bradshaw calls “Healthy Shame” to internalized, “Unhealthy Shame” – shame which is more difficult to escape.

Healthy shame is a temporary state in response to specific actions we may have taken (and maybe should not have). Healthy shame contains us, reminds us that we are not perfect, and mitigates us away from self-centeredness and grandiosity. It may not feel good, but it keeps us in check. I think of the kids who play basketball with our school team; there are those who may tend to shoot and shoot and shoot in the game and tend to not look to past the ball to their open teammate. My husband, “the coach,” with one disturbingly stern and upset look is able to induce a temporary moment of shame in the overly zealous shooter, which hopefully will allow better choices in the upcoming moments of the game – healthy shame.

But what about unhealthy shame? Unhealthy shame is a state of existence that intrudes into our identity, sense of self worth, and ability to feel connected to others. And this is what we really want to avoid, because this non-stop state of shame is what drives eating disorders, compulsive eating and addiction.

I was giving a talk at a university on Friday, and to drive home the point that we all experience shame, and the difference between healthy and unhealthy shame, I asked all participants to write on a piece of paper something they are ashamed about, crumble it up, and put it into a box so that I could (anonymously) share with the group. Here are some of the responses:

“I have herpes”

“Financial problems”

“I spend to much time tweezing my chin hair”

“I feel shame about my disorganization and procrastination”

And then, as I was un-crumpling the paper, I stumbled onto this one:
“I sometimes still feel like the poor, unclean, fat, insignificant, person I felt like as a child.”

When we completed this exercise, we noticed as a whole, how quiet the room became, and how we all felt closer when hearing these accounts of shame. We were humans among humans, all recognizing our collective perfect imperfections. In the first four accounts of shame that were read, it was clear that the shame was not a permanent state, it was an aspect of the participant’s life or themselves that bothered them. It did not completely define them. The participant did not write “I am herpes.” The participant wrote “I have herpes.” The crumbled up paper did not say, “I am disorganization and procrastination” it said “I feel shame about my disorganization and procrastination.”

If we want to make the delivery of healthcare something that is actually helpful and healthful, we have to be mindful of what we are delivering. Are we delivering a message that what you are is wrong, bad, and inadequate? Are we delivering shame? For those who are vulnerable, who have heard the message “eat less and exercise more, weight loss is good at any cost, fat is bad” throughout their lives in a healthcare setting, this non-stop messaging can easily create a state of internalized, unhealthy shame.

It is sad the person in the last quote still sometimes feels like an unclean, insignificant person. However, it is good news the person said, “I sometimes still feel this way” rather than “I am an unclean, insignificant person.” There was probably a lot of suffering and therapeutic work behind the person going from the more permanent state of shame he/she described to “still sometimes feeling” this way.

We really must live by the rule of first doing no harm. Einstein said, “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Healthcare practitioners must be mindful of the impact of unhealthy shame in every interaction with their patients. And patients must be aware of the impact of what I call “unhelpful help” – when well-intentioned, but uninformed healthcare providers use words and actions that are prone to inducing unnecessary and unhealthy shame.

It is okay, and it is even advised, to let out a gentle but powerful roar, and not allow the words or actions of others cause harm to ourselves or others.

This post was originally published on the BEDA website as an educational piece in support of Weight Stigma Awareness Week 2014 and the National BEDA Conference. To register for the 2015 BEDA Conference, please visit the registration page here.

Clinical Director Karin Lawson, PsyD and Primary Therapist Josephine Wiseheart, MS along with other esteemed professionals provide insight into ways to practice self-compassion when you have depression. Please find the link to the original publication at the conclusion of the article. 

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When you’re struggling with depression, the last thing you want to do is be self-compassionate. But this is precisely what can help. Self-compassion is “the capacity to find the wisdom and dignity in one’s experience (particularly suffering,) and to respond to it in an appropriately kind way,” according to Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco.

She believes all of us have this capacity. However, a depressed state of mind tends to impede access to it. That’s because “people who suffer with depression often have a core belief that there is something wrong with them; that they don’t deserve to be happy; that the world is a dark place; and/or that there’s no point in doing anything,” Shinraku said.

But you can still connect to your innate capacity. The key lies in practice.

“Don’t wait to feel motivated or believe that you ‘deserve’ self-compassion,” said Josephine Wiseheart, MS, a psychotherapist at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, and in private practice in Miami, FL. She doesn’t expect her clients to have a shift in self-worth and believe they suddenly deserve to be treated with kindness and understanding. Instead, she hopes that once they start practicing self-compassion, a shift will occur.

Here are nine tips for practicing self-compassion.

1. Start small.
“Simple acts of self-care can demonstrate that sense of kindness and nurturance to one’s self,” said Karin Lawson, PsyD, a psychologist and clinical director of Embrace, the binge eating recovery program at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. “This might be anything from taking a shower, getting a massage, nourishing yourself with food, or taking a leisurely walk”, she said.

You also might try self-compassionate gestures. “Take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart and let it rest there”, she said. Or “cup your face with your hands with a sense of gentleness. This safe physical touch can actually activate the parasympathetic nervous system and release neurotransmitters to help us… shift into a more compassionate headspace.”

2. Bring awareness to your experience without judgment.
According to Shinraku, by simply telling yourself, “I’m really having a hard time” or “I don’t know how to do this alone,” you can start to dis-identify from your depression. You can start to see depression as something you’re experiencing rather than who you are.

Shinraku shared these other examples: “I feel powerless; I wish I could see things differently.” “I don’t know how to accept myself as I am right now.”

3. Get curious.
When you’re struggling with depression, one of the hardest parts of self-compassion is relating to yourself with kindness, Shinraku said. If kindness feels too hard, or inauthentic, get curious instead. Because curiosity is “a potent form of kindness.”

For instance, get curious by journaling about these prompts:

“Even though my depression/inner critic seems to know, with absolute certainty, what’s happening right now, is it possible that I might not have the full story?” “If a friend was struggling the way I am, what might I say to her or him? What would I want that friend to know?”

4. Interrupt rumination by refocusing.
Instead of replaying the past or worrying about what might or might not happen, Shinraku suggested bringing attention to your breath or physical sensations. For instance, you can “count 10 inhales and 10 exhales.”

You also can do a body scan. Start with your toes, and notice the sensations present in your body, Shinraku said. “If you find areas of tension, imagine you are sending your breath to those areas as you exhale.”

5. Explore exceptions.
Your inner critic may like to speak in absolutes, such as “always” or “never.” When you hear such statements, seek out the exception, Wiseheart said. “Even if we have ‘failed’ or ‘disappointed,’ it does not mean that we always fail or disappoint. And it certainly does not mean that we are a failure or disappointment. No one can always or never do anything.”

6. Focus on self-compassionate statements.
Wiseheart suggested this exercise for practicing compassionate self-talk. Create two columns: On the left side of the paper, vent your negative, self-loathing statements. Then read each statement as if your child or loved one is reading them to you. Write a self-compassionate response to each negative statement.

7. Write a letter.
Lawson shared this exercise: Imagine your loved one is struggling with the same depressive thoughts. Write a letter to this person. “What would you say to him or her? What compassion, love and tenderness might you offer?” Then address the letter to yourself. Read it aloud.

8. Remember you’re not alone.
Another big part of self-compassion is common humanity or interconnectedness (per Kristin Neff’s definition.) You can connect to this by remembering you’re not alone, Shinraku said. In this very moment millions of people, all over the world, are struggling with depression.

Prominent individuals throughout history, including Abraham Lincoln, Georgia O’Keefe and Sigmund Freud, struggled, too, she said. Many famous people struggle today. Depression doesn’t discriminate.

According to Lawson, recognizing that everyone struggles may remind you that you don’t deserve self-criticism and harshness. As Shinraku added, “Depression doesn’t mean you are defective; it means that you are human.”

9. Practice loving-kindness meditation.
According to Lawson, “A loving-kindness meditation focuses on thinking loving and kind thoughts for those around you and includes yourself.” She recommended this meditation from psychologist Tara Brach and this meditation from psychologist Kristin Neff.

Seeking out resources to help with your depression is self-compassionate, too, Shinraku said. “If you feel depressed, and you are reading this article, you are already practicing self-compassion.”

Originally posted on PsychCentral by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. 

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

Shame and Resilience

Posted on October 23, 2014 by StayConnected

Director of Embrace Dr. Karin Lawson initiates a discussion of shame and resilience, how this work has inspired a group within our Embrace programming, and shares an inspirational song serving as a reminder that we are all “human among humans.”

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I have been a fan of Brené Brown, long before she became an Oprah staple. The fact that she has spoken, written, and TedTalked so openly and academically on the theme of shame drew me in the first time I heard her. She is focused on a significant theme that represents the idea of  keeping things securely hidden in the darkness where they fester and grow and eat us alive. By “things,” I am referring to our secrets, including experiences, choices, and/or victimization that we feel cannot bear the light of day. How amazing would it be to tackle the shame that often paralyzes us?

My passion for shame work (and subsequently self-compassion work) was the torch that burned and created space for us to offer a Shame Resilience group in Embrace. It is one of the most cherished groups of our clients and my favorite group to facilitate. One of the basic premises is that we are all going to experience shame; just like sadness, anxiety, and happiness. It is part of our experience. Yet the question is, how do we bounce back from such an intense emotion that makes us want to do nothing but crawl under a blanket? We do the opposite. (Hello DBT!) We share our experience of shame with a trusted person, so that we practice not hiding out, but letting others support us and shining a light on our human experience. This allows us to hear and know and feel that shame hits us ALL at some point … no matter how put together a person might appear. Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt often shares this Kohut quote which captures it nicely; being “human among humans.”

So instead of hiding out in shame and tucking away the things we assume need to be kept secret, I would like to share some inspiration with you in the form of a music video that our co-founder Vicki Kroviak shared with me this week. It features Mary Lambert singing “Secrets.”

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and newly introduced Embrace, the binge eating recovery program at OPC please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt is the Founder, Executive Director, Psychiatrist of Oliver-Pyatt Centers in South Miami, FL. She co-authored the Academy for Eating Disorder’s Guidelines for Obesity Prevention Programs. Her book, Fed Up! The Breakthrough Ten Step No Diet Fitness Plan, written to prevent dieting and disordered eating, has been featured in a variety of national publications, including Family Circle, Psychology Today, Women’s Health and Fitness, and Town and Country, and has been reviewed in the AED Forum, published by the Academy for Eating Disorders. She has given frequent presentations and interviews throughout the country and at national and international eating disorder conferences, and has been featured on WebMD. Dr. Oliver-Pyatt is a Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorder (served as the Advocacy Co-Chair), is an active member of the National Eating Disorders Association, and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals and the Binge Eating Disorder Association. Dr. Oliver-Pyatt kicks off #WSAW2014 with the following post featured on BEDA’s website

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John Bradshaw said in his powerful book Healing the Shame That Binds You, “Shame is often cited as the buried emotion in all forms of eating disorders, compulsive eating and substance abuse.” I could not agree more! This about sums it up! That is why it is so exciting that we have Weight Stigma Awareness Week 2014, and why I am so happy to write on the subject of weight stigma and healthcare.

We, BEDA, created tool kits for patients to talk to physicians and for physicians to talk with patients. This year, it is time for us to think further about the origins of shame, and what makes interventions useful or not, and to think more about commonalities among all humans beings that lead us from what Bradshaw calls “Healthy Shame” to internalized “Unhealthy Shame” – shame which is more difficult to escape.

Healthy shame is a temporary state in response to specific actions we may have taken (and maybe should not have.) Healthy shame contains us, reminds us that we are not perfect, and mitigates us away from self-centeredness and grandiosity. It may not feel good, but it keeps us in check. I think of the kids who play basketball with our school team; there are those who tend to repeatedly shoot in the game and not look to pass the ball to their open teammate. My husband, “the coach,” with one disturbingly stern and upset look, is able to induce a temporary moment of shame in the overly zealous shooter, which hopefully allows for better choices in the upcoming moments of the game.

But what about unhealthy shame? Unhealthy shame is a state of existence that intrudes into our identity, sense of self worth, and ability to feel connected to others. This is what we really want to avoid, because this non-stop state of shame is what drives eating disorders, compulsive eating, and addiction.

While giving a talk at a university on Friday, I wanted to drive home the point that we all experience shame and illustrate the difference between healthy and unhealthy shame. I asked all of the participants to write on a piece of paper something they are ashamed of, crumple it up, and put it in a box so that I could (anonymously) share with the group. Here are some of the responses:

“I have herpes”

“Financial problems”

“I spend too much time tweezing my chin hair”

“ I feel shame about my disorganization and procrastination”

And then, as I was un-crumpling the paper, I stumbled onto this one:
“I sometimes still feel like the poor, unclean, fat, insignificant person I felt like as a child.”

While completing this exercise, we noticed as a whole how much quieter the room became and how we all felt closer when hearing these accounts of shame. We were humans among humans, all recognizing our collective perfect imperfections. In the first four accounts of shame that were read it was clear that the shame was not a permanent state, it was an aspect of the participant’s life or themselves that bothered them. It did not completely define them. The participant did not write: “I am herpes.” The participant wrote, “I have herpes.” The crumpled up paper did not say: “I am disorganization and procrastination.” It said, “I feel shame about my disorganization and procrastination.”

If we want to make the delivery of healthcare something that is actually helpful and healthful, we have to be mindful of what we are delivering. Are we delivering a message that what you are is wrong, bad, and inadequate? Are we delivering shame? For those who are vulnerable, who have heard the messages “eat less, exercise more, weight loss is good at any cost, fat is bad” throughout their life, in a healthcare setting, this non-stop messaging can easily create a state of internalized, unhealthy shame.

It is sad that the person in the last quote still sometimes feels like an unclean, insignificant person. However, it is good news that the person said, “I sometimes still feel this way” rather than “I AM an unclean insignificant person.” Most likely, there was a lot of suffering and therapeutic work behind the person going from the more permanent state of shame he/she described to “still sometimes feeling” this way.

We must live by the rule of first doing no harm. Einstein said, “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Healthcare practitioners must be mindful of the impact of unhealthy shame in every interaction with their patients. And patients must be aware of the impact of what I call “unhelpful help” – when well-intentioned but uninformed healthcare providers use words and actions that are prone to inducing unnecessary and unhealthy shame. 

It is okay, and it is even advised, to let out a gentle but powerful roar, and not allow the words or actions of others cause harm to ourselves or others.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and Embrace, a Binge Eating Recovery program at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.4325 or email admissionssubscribe to our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

100 Happy Days

Posted on May 29, 2014 by StayConnected

Oliver-Pyatt Centers invites you to participate in the 100 Happy Days Challenge! With our busy schedules and busy lives it is often easy to forget to slow down and appreciate the things that make us happy every day. Even if it is a difficult or trying day, we are committing to noticing at least one thing that makes us feel truly happy each day.

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To join us sign up for the contest here and post a photo of something that makes you happy each day on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Make sure to include the hashtags {#oliverpyatt and #100happydays} so we can follow along on your journey. We will be re-tweeting and posting your little bits of happy throughout the 100 days so look for your post to be featured on our sites! We will begin our 100 Happy Day Challenge June 9th and look forward to your participation with us! Here’s to happiness!

Facebook                    Twitter                    Instagram

We are pleased to share a guest post from registered dietitian nutritionist Jenna Hollenstein. To read more from Jenna, you can visit her blog Eat to Love: redefining fullness, or join her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, a Zen Buddhist teacher, once told his students “You are perfect the way you are…and you could use a little improvement.” I understand this to mean that we are inherently perfect with all of our messiness, neuroses, and confusion AND there is also some room to improve the things about ourselves that aren’t truly benefiting us or other people.

This is an important concept and one that is difficult to grasp. We tend to view things as dichotomies – either black or white, right or wrong. So, how can we be perfect if there is something to improve?

Self-acceptance is challenging for many reasons. One, it seems to suggest a laxity, a take-me-or-leave-me mentality with no room to work on ourselves. Two, we are acutely aware of our flaws and fixate on how to eradicate them. Three, perfectionism has become a prison of sorts in which we willingly keep ourselves captive, and there is no room for self-acceptance in solitary confinement.

Self-improvement, on the other hand, is seductive. We are not content with our experience right now, so there must be something we can fix. If we just had that home/partner/smooth forehead/job/jeans size, we would be happier, more satisfied. This is one way in which we take ourselves out of the moment and become fixated on the future. As well, we devalue ourselves right now, deny our wholeness, and treat ourselves like problems to be solved.

Self-improvement is a tricky thing; it can move us both toward and away from happiness. If approached from the standpoint of fixing something that is broken, self-improvement can have qualities of aggression and living in the future. Inherently we are not in the moment when we think our lives will begin or be better once we [fill in the blank]. If, on the other hand, self-improvement is approached from the standpoint of complete self-acceptance, it can be a type of self-love, a way in which we practice awareness, a means of being kind to ourselves.

When I work with clients, we talk about both the things they would like to change and the reasons they are lovable, worthy, whole, and perfect just as they are. Through mindfulness, we can be objective, accepting, and non-judgmental of ourselves, and we can also take a clear look at our habits in a way that allows us to let go of the ones that do not benefit ourselves or others. To love and accept yourself now AND skillfully replace habits that aren’t working with ones that do – these are two sides of the same valuable coin.

Self Love

Posted on February 13, 2014 by StayConnected

Valentine's Day OPC

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to provide a reminder of the importance of self love and self care during this holiday, and every day. We wish everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Day and send love from our entire team. A special thank you to Clinical Director Dr. Melissa McLain for providing some insight on the necessity of self care, particularly for clinicians. 

Importance of Self Care

We all have the tendency to get caught up in the day to day activities, duties, and stressors in our lives, and to lose sight of what is really important. This build up of stress and emotional strain can lead to physical, psychological, emotional, and relational difficulties. Taking some time for self care will not only provide you some stress relief, but will also enhance your ability to be the best you can be in relationships, at work, and at home.

Self Care Activities

  • Read an inspirational book
  • Create a gratitude journal
  • Go for a calming walk and take in the nature and sights around you
  • Schedule time for yourself
  • Set limits and ask for what you need
  • Prioritize; do what you can
  • Ask for help
  • Spend time with friends and loved ones
  • Get enough sleep each day
  • Bring out your painting supplies
  • Create a self care space with beautiful flowers and a soothing candle

For the Clinician

According to Alterman (1998) common impediments to self care include emotional demands, intensity of work, countertransference, the need to maintain and instill hope, difficulty leaving work at the office, and engaging with others in the depths of their despair.

There is no single self-care strategy that conquers all distress, but practitioners must work to find their own strategies and techniques that work for them. Carroll, Gilroy & Murray (1999) have a self-care model that suggests that individuals look at self-care within themselves, within their relationships, in their relationship with their body, and through seeking professional development and supervision.

Some good questions to ask yourself, as suggested in Cheryl Richardson’s “The Art of Extreme Self-Care”, are as follows: Who do I need to turn to for support right now? Who do I need to set boundaries with? What does my body need to feel nurtured right now? What responsibilities do I need to let go of to create more space for myself? What coping skills do I need to integrate more into my day? What spiritual practices will help restore me? What do I need to feel comforted right now? How can I best identify and express my feelings? Remember, that as a practitioner, attending to your own self care needs will allow you to more fully participate in your personal and professional life.

How do you attend to your self care needs?

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