March 2016 - Monthly News & Tips
IN THIS ISSUE
"The emotional connections I have with my support people had been vital in helping me recover." - A former Emily Program client
From an abundance of studies to the experience of too many people, we know eating disorders can cause lifelong disability or even death. One of the reasons why we pay so much attention to the suffering of those with an eating disorder is because of our understanding of how deadly this illness can be.
In treatment, a question that pops up frequently by clients, families and friends is, "How do we know whether someone will get better or not?"
We'd all like to guarantee eating disorder treatment will work and that person will fully recover. When someone enters treatment, we offer the client and family as much optimism as we can, but we also know for some it may not be possible to fully recover. However, even for those that can't reach full recovery, it is feasible to reach a point where that client's quality of life improves significantly.
What is clear to us now is that in order to succeed in getting better from an eating disorder, it is necessary to remain in a relationship that is supportive and helps to hold us accountable.
Studies have shown that two of the main factors associated with surviving an eating disorder are the ability to maintain relationships with treatment providers and with loved ones outside of treatment. Both of these can be difficult tasks.
To stay in contact with treatment providers means an acceptance of the illness and understanding it has a chronic aspect to it. It means being willing and able to stay in contact with those who wish to help us. However, multiple things interfere with this relationship, including insurance company roadblocks, financial issues, substance abuse, and the eating disorder itself or another psychological illness.
The same is true for relationships outside of treatment. In fact, relationships are often the most important factor in maintaining a high quality of life despite an eating disorder. Again, many things can interfere with our relationships, such as those in our support group, the dynamics of family and friendships, and the profoundness of the illness itself.
What we have to remember is in order to recover we must constantly be coming up with new ways to stay in contact and stay in support. This has to be a part of treatment in order for clients to succeed.
This is a primary commitment at The Emily Program. We've added a new residential program in Cleveland, quarterly Recovery Nights and new treatment programs, and we are working hard to improve and expand upon our relationships with community providers and other community resources.
We are constantly looking for new ways for people to stay in contact with us and to build supportive communities outside of treatment. This is a crucial task for all of us in the eating disorder community. At The Emily Program, we are constantly striving to look for new answers and solutions.
Mark Warren, MD
Chief Medical Officer, The Emily Program
Last week was Eating Disorder Awareness Week and our #ExplainingED campaign was a smashing success thanks to YOU! Thank you for sharing your ideas, perspectives, art, poems, and general tips. Together we were able to educate others about this devastating illness and generate some conversations that may not have happened otherwise. We hope that you will continue to share your voice and ideas year-round.
Again, thank you to everyone who openly shared their truths about eating disorders and those who helped spread the word about eating disorders. We are so grateful to be part of this community and advocate with those who do or have struggled with ED.
The Emily Program addresses common misunderstandings about eating disorders and related issues in our Did You Know section.
According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, 69 percent of girls aged 10 to 18 confirm that photographs of models and celebrities in magazines inspired their desired body shape.
Though sociocultural messages about weight and beauty can certainly impact a person's body image negatively and stimulate pressures to look a certain way, they do not cause eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious illnesses that have biological, genetic and psychological underpinnings.
Petra Woehrle, Therapist, Duluth
In 2013, Petra Woehrle joined our team as a post-doctoral fellow. After completing her training, she later signed on full time as a psychologist and lead therapist at our Duluth, MN location.
Today, she spends most of her day with clients, which includes running a therapy group, facilitating an evening intensive outpatient program and providing individual psychotherapy sessions for families, adolescents and adults. In addition, Petra also does initial intake evaluations for new clients.
"I like to balance the time we spend together addressing current symptoms with time spent helping patients better understand the etiology of their eating disorder," Petra said about what clients can expect during a therapy session with her. "I have trained as an interpersonal therapist, so I am also interested in the role that important relationships play in the development and maintenance of eating disorder symptoms."
Petra earned a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Penn State University and completed her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.
Learn more about Petra and why we think she stands out!
TEP: How do you earn trust with patients?
Petra: As with all relationships, I believe trust with patients is earned through time, and actions that demonstrate integrity and care. I think an important component of building and maintaining trust with people with eating disorders is a willingness to hold hope for the patient's recovery, even when the recovery path feels long and convoluted.
TEP: What's the most common concern you hear from patients?
Petra: When I invite patients to join a group program, one of the most common concerns I hear is that patients worry it will be hard to open up in front of others, due to fear of judgment or a belief that their symptoms are "worse" than other group members.
I think apprehension about group work is normal, and I let my patients know it's okay to feel this way. I also let them know that we work really hard at TEP to create a safe and comfortable space for therapeutic work, and we're generally very successful at doing so!
TEP: Any fun trips planned for this year?
Petra: I'm from Nova Scotia, Canada. In a lot of ways the cultures of Nova Scotia and Minnesota feel very similar: lots of friendly people, a slower pace of life. That being said, I'm always looking forward to the next opportunity to visit home, and I'm taking my family for an ocean-side vacation there this summer.
In Cleveland, OH:
Tuesday, March 2: Begins at 6:00 p.m. at 25550 Chagrin Blvd, Suite 200, Beachwood, OH
Speakers: Ashlie and Nicole
You can read about our Beachwood, OH speakers here.
In Lacey, WA:
Thursday, March 10: Begins at 6:00 p.m. at 673 Woodland Square Loop SE, Suite 330, Lacey, WA
Speakers: Mariah and Erin
Meet Mariah: Having restored hope and now being able to truly live a beautiful life, Mariah will talk about moving from what felt like darkness to finding the light within herself.
Meet Erin: Erin will tell the story of how her eating disorder took root in the early belief that she wasn't enough. She'll share how feeling like she didn't belong pushed her further into the disorder - and how recovery has helped her identify her innate value and worth.
In Spokane and Seattle, WA, and St. Paul, MN:
Upcoming Recovery Nights will be held in 2016. Click here to view all upcoming Recovery Nights in Ohio, Washington, and Minnesota.