The following three questions were asked of several professionals who were presenting at a recent Center for Change Training Conference on Eating Disorders. These presenters had no prior knowledge of these questions and each of them, at the time of their presentation, were asked to respond to these questions with whatever first came to their mind. We would like to share these valuable “on-the-spot” insights with you in this section.
Question no. 1: From your experience, what are three important things you tend to emphasize in your work with and treatment of eating disorders?
- We need first to re-nourish the brain with proper nutrition.
- The relationship with the client. It is the relationship with the client that creates healing. That relationship needs to be a welcoming environment.
- Help patients find better choices. Help them conceptualize the eating disorder from a variety of different perspectives.
- Develop a better relationship with food and accept that there are no bad or good foods. Help them understand and resolve their body image concerns. Help them discern hunger and fullness. Develop more awareness of internal cues verses external cues of fullness.
- Monitor health and in particular cardiac health during their recovery. Be a part of the treatment team and work on medical needs.
- Be a cheerleader for the patients and supportive of the staff.
- Help them become better in touch with themselves. Restructure their thinking and beliefs. Develop long-term goals of real value in and outside of themselves.
- Help them come to know that an eating disorder is not about food, though they need to eat healthily.
- Spirituality, honesty, avoiding avoidance, and developing self-trust through self-correction rather than self-abandonment is important.
Question no. 2: From your experience, what are three of the toughest issues that women with eating disorders need to face and resolve in order to recover from their eating disorder?
- To understand that the eating disorder is not about food, fat, or bodies.
- To have understanding for the fact that their eating disorder is an illness and can become a coping mechanism to deal with pain and that it is not who they are.
- They need to heal from trauma, abuse, painful experiences of their life, self doubt, and self contempt in their life.
- To face the fears about being unacceptable and unloved and find other ways beyond perfectionism to deal with those fears.
- The development of self-love, self-kindness, and self-compassion.
- The need to resolve their issues with food, health, and nutrition so that they can live their lives.
- The need to resolve body image distortions and concerns.
- Giving themselves permission to feel and to eat.
- Establishing assertiveness and boundary setting in relationships.
- To stop using size and shape to determine their self-worth.
- To learn to trust themselves again.
- Learn to ask for help.
Question no. 3: What have you learned about the strengths and positive qualities of the women with whom you work?
- They are some of the brightest, most articulate, spiritual, and beautiful women I have ever met.
- They are really talented; the most beautiful women inside and out.
- They are delightful, decent, and good.
- They are loving, kind-hearted, and sensitive.
- Most are very determined and very brave. They fight an uphill battle.
- They are very strong women, smart, and capable.
- They have an incredible capacity for empathy for others.
- They are brilliant, talented, honest, loving, caring, tenderhearted, compassionate, spiritual, intelligent, honest, loving, and generous when they are not in the fears of their eating disorder.
Date Written: Unknown
Reviewed & Edited: November 2014