April 2016 - Monthly News & Tips
IN THIS ISSUE
"The beautiful thing about this place is they are teaching us how to take our lives back, empowering us to empower ourselves." - An Emily Program client
Studies show the presence of a solid support system is a huge predictor of eating disorder recovery. In fact, research on Family-Based Therapy, where family is not only supportive, but also actively involved in a direct way with restoration of an adolescent, has been shown to be by far the strongest and most effective evidence-based treatment.
But whether you're an adolescent or adult, the presence of support from family and loved ones is likely to be one of the most important factors in recovery. We know that no one gets better alone. We know that our ability to connect helps us recover in every way.
For many people, our family and sometimes our closest friends are the people who form the basis of our support and community that will help us recover. Always remember, eating disorders are an illness. Families do not cause them, but rather they can help cure them.
If you are the support system, there are things you can do to help your loved one suffering from an eating disorder.
1. The person is not the disorder. They remain the same person, regardless of how they suffer. Loving by itself does not, however, create a cure. We must always remember that love is a necessary component, but love alone will not make someone better.
2. If we're helping someone with an eating disorder, we must get support for ourselves. In the same way we must accept that our loved one has an illness, we must accept that our lives are burdened by this illness. Support for us will make us stronger and better able to function.
3. We must be willing to be fully and actively engaged, especially if our family members are adolescents. We must know about the meal plans and treatment strategies for our family members. We must know honesty, transparency and respect are all keys to communicating with loved ones who have this illness. We must be sensitive, firm and avoid all comments about food, body and appearance.
In addition, we must be willing to distract loved ones from the pains of treatment. Our loved ones depend on us to help us create a life worth living and to start building that life at whatever stage of the eating disorder we find ourselves in.
In addition to psychological and family roles, eating disorders are a tremendous financial burden. We need to make sure people have the best possible insurance and understand their benefits. The eating disorder will affect their lives and ours, and sacrifices will be necessary.
On a larger level, we help loved ones by becoming a part of the eating disorder community and working with organizations that support mental health and are committed to increasing high-quality treatment options for everyone.
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, if you have a loved one with an eating disorder, remember you are their greatest advocate and may be the most important person in their life. Never underestimate your strength and power to help your loved one get the help they need.
Mark Warren, MD
Chief Medical Officer, The Emily Program
The Emily Program addresses common misunderstandings about eating disorders and related issues in our Did You Know section.
Eating disorders affect all socioeconomic groups, ages, cultures, religions and genders. No one is immune to this mental illness. In fact, some of the most beautiful and powerful female and male celebrities on the planet have talked about or sought treatment for an eating disorder.
Some of these celebrities include the singer Kesha; actress and entrepreneur Mary-Kate Olsen; musician Elton John; singer and actress Demi Lovato; actor Dennis Quaid; musician Lady Gaga; comedian and actor Russell Brand and actress Portia de Rossi.
Michelle Harris, site director and therapist, The Emily Program - Residential Cleveland
Michelle Harris just recently joined our team as site director and a therapist in January of this year. After working 27 years in many different capacities of foster care, she was thrilled to make the jump to eating disorders. In fact, this position is a dream come true for her.
"I have always had a strong passion to work with clients with eating disorders," she said. "Plus, I really enjoy the staff at my site and how passionate and committed they are to this work. It is so refreshing to see people love what they are doing and making a difference."
For Michelle, no two days are the same. Her days are filled with overseeing the day-to-day operations of The Emily Program's Cleveland Heights residential site— clinically, administratively and operationally. On the operational side, she is constantly asking for feedback to improve upon the center's processes. On the clinical side, she tries to run support groups at least a few times a month to stay close to the work and residents.
As site director, it's important for her to make clients feel welcome at the center and motivated to get better. She makes a point to introduce herself, and gets to know their names and stories. Michelle graduated from John Carroll University in 1998 with a Master's in Community Mental Health Counseling.
Learn more about Michelle and why we think she stands out!
TEP: What can new residents expect during their time in residential?
Michelle: They can expect compassionate, committed staff from all positions at our site. They will know we are genuinely happy to have them here and that we will work right alongside them to make their treatment as effective and meaningful as possible.
TEP: What advice can you offer new residents?
Michelle: I try to tell them that this is such a small part of their whole life and to use this short time to fully invest in getting as strong as they can, both physically and emotionally, for the road ahead.
TEP: Any favorite spring activities?
Michelle: I absolutely love spring! It's my favorite season. I am an avid gardener and love to watch everything wake up and turn green.
In St. Paul, MN:
Tuesday, April 12: Begins at 6:30 p.m. at 2265 Como Avenue, St Paul MN
In Seattle, WA:
Wednesday, April 20: Begins at 6:00 p.m. at 1700 Westlake Avenue North, Suite 700, Seattle WA
View all 2016 Recovery Nights in Ohio, Washington, and Minnesota.
Anxiety and Eating Disorders: An Intertwined Relationship - April 7, 2016 , 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Presented by Lucene Wisniewski, Ph.D. - Chief Clinical Officer of The Emily Program
Eating disorders often present with other diagnoses. One of the more common co-occurring disorders is anxiety. Dr. Lucene will share information on the relationship between these disorders.
Presented by NAMI Greater Cleveland and The Emily Program