DBT Group Denver: Eating Disorder Recovery

DBT Group Denver: Eating Disorder Recovery

DBT Group Denver – February 8 thru March 29, 6-7:30pm Do you want to change your relationship with food? Have you made some New Year’s resolutions and are hoping is that in 2017 you can find solutions to create a freedom point with food, eating and body image? DBT can help you! Have you heard of DBT? Perhaps you’ve heard this term in the therapy world or have read about it online. Maybe you’re curious how DBT can help you. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of tangible evidence-based treatment that can help with a variety of issues. I especially find it helpful for people with eating disorders or disordered eating. In my experience as a therapist, I have used DBT for seven years and have found it to work wonders with people who have binge eating disorder, food addiction, restrict food, or have anorexia or bulimia. DBT can help you change your life and have the relationship with food that you have been searching for. There are four main components to DBT. They include Distress Tolerance, Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. In the DBT Group Denver (starting February 8), we will encompass all four principles and apply them to your relationship with food, as well as what’s underneath your struggle. Below I will give a brief example of how each of the four DBT principles can apply to you. In the DBT Group Denver, we’ll use distress tolerance to find new and healthy ways to cope with stress and other of life’s challenges instead of either overeating or under-eating. Stop beating yourself up for engaging in disordered eating and find new ways...
Eating Disorders and Stress: DBT Coping Skills for the Holidays

Eating Disorders and Stress: DBT Coping Skills for the Holidays

Eating disorders and stress tend to “feed each other.” Let’s be honest about that. This is often a triggering and stressful time of year; the holidays are rapidly approaching, the change in seasons can be tough, and it’s getting dark earlier. This particular year may be even more stressful due to the recent election, no matter what your political affiliation may be. It is very important that we pay attention to stress and try to prevent it from becoming too overwhelming. DBT can help you! DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. The word “dialectical” is defined as, “concerned with or acting through opposing forces.” This can mean that there are often two truths, or more than one truth in any given situation. If you live in Colorado you may have noticed that in mid- November the temperature was in the 70s! The holiday season can often bring on a dialectical feel: on one hand it is a time of togetherness and celebration, on the other hand it can feel isolating or lonely. There are mixed messages around food and holiday eating, too. We are surrounded with sweets and other decadent foods, yet our culture expects us to “be healthy.” This all adds to eating disorders and stress. Using the Distress Tolerance and Mindfulness modules of DBT can be very effective for combatting eating disorders and stress. If you need immediate relief and want to improve a moment follow these steps. Think of the acronym IMPROVE to help guide you. I: Use IMAGERY. You can do this by imagining a relaxing scene – either a place you have been, or create a beautiful scene in your...
Eating Disorders and Trauma: Journaling for Recovery

Eating Disorders and Trauma: Journaling for Recovery

Journaling can offer a cathartic release from issues you are going through in life and also what you are experiencing in therapy – whether it is for eating disorders and trauma, or something else. During therapy sessions with me, clients often bring a notebook or ask for a notepad to write down key points or homework. I also encourage clients to be open to journaling outside of the therapy office. Eating disorders and trauma(s) can elicit a myriad of unanswered questions in which continuous exploration is necessary. So why not keep that notebook or journal handy to document your journey, including triumphs and struggles? Approach journaling with curiosity by becoming a detective on your own life. Too many people overthink the process of journaling, and feel a pressure to write a specific number of words or paragraphs, but it’s much simpler than that. Push aside that critical voice that shouts,  “You cannot write,” “You have awful grammar or punctuation,” or, “Your journaling needs to be perfect.” Be raw! Let it go! Take a few deep breaths and mindful moments, then write down simple one-word answers. If words do not come naturally, you can jot down a picture to answer each question you come up with. Here are a few journal prompts to get you started: I am… I need… I love… I want more of… I want less of… I enjoy… I see… I smell… I feel… I taste… I think… I believe… I wish… I wonder… I fear… I am learning… I am grateful for… Start small and remember nobody is looking at this unless you share it with him or her. Take...
DBT Group Denver: Eating Disorders Prevention

DBT Group Denver: Eating Disorders Prevention

DBT Group Denver: Using DBT Skills to Help Prevent Disordered Eating Behavior Have you been wanting to change your relationship with food, but feel stuck or hopeless? In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I wanted to assist people to find more freedom in their relationship with food by using simple DBT (Dialectal Behavior Therapy) skills. Many people cope with stress and difficulties in life by turning to food as a coping mechanism. Some people may do this by binge eating, purging, or restricting foods. Many people engage in emotional eating as a way to numb their feelings, be able to feel something else instead of emotional pain or as a way to punish themselves. Does this help you get to a place in which you feel happy? Maybe for a few minutes tops. Then it becomes a dark and lonely place, most often worse off than when you started. Instead of suffering, choose compassion for yourself by using DBT Skills, an easy way to take care of your body, mind and emotions! The first two components of DBT are Distress Tolerance and Mindfulness. Distress Tolerance is as simple as it sounds – finding new ways to tolerate stress that are healthy and safe – not detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Instead of turning towards or away from food to cope with life stressors pick an area in which to distract yourself. Here are a few ways to do this. First, distract yourself with a pleasurable activity. Below are a few suggestions: Go for a walk Go to a movie Read a new juicy book Do online...
Eating Disorders and Emotions: Inside Out

Eating Disorders and Emotions: Inside Out

If you haven’t seen the movie Inside Out, or you want a chance to see it again and discuss its incredible message, please join us at Positive Pathways for Movie Night on December 11th from 6-8pm! (more details at the end of this post) Movies can be a great way to add context to things that we are going through – like eating disorders and emotions. The journeys of characters can help us gain different perspectives on our situations. To illustrate how we can navigate through the complexities of eating disorders and emotions, the movie Inside Out by Disney’s Pixar offers a wonderful roadmap. Inside Out is a great story about a young girl and an emotional journey. It combines elements of the hero’s journey with important emotional truths about the human experience. For those struggling with eating disorders and emotions, this movie can be a great analogy for the interplay of our primary emotions, and how to allow our emotions to come into balance. All of our emotions have a purpose, and while some may be uncomfortable, it is learning how to feel all of our feelings that complete recovery from eating disorders is possible. Without giving too much of the storyline away, Inside Out shows how we need all of our emotions, and that when we favor one, it can squelch important experiences. The main character, Riley, is shown in her stages of developing memories and personality. One of her dominant emotions strives to keep in control of all experiences in order to make Riley happy. Putting on a happy face even when we are feeling sad or angry or...
DBT Skills for Eating Disorders

DBT Skills for Eating Disorders

DBT Skills for Eating Disorders: Distress Tolerance If you struggle with eating disorders, then you can likely relate to the concept of “distress.” But have you heard of “distress tolerance” – and wondered what this actually means? Is it simply a way to tolerate stressful situations or events? Maybe it describes tools for coping with tough relationships? The answer includes all of the above. At some point in life, everyone goes through painful circumstances – including physical pain such as illness or injury, or emotional pain such as anxiety or depression. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) focuses heavily on teaching people to be able to cope with painful stressors in life in appropriate and healthy ways. There are several unhealthy ways to cope with stress which include various addictions such as eating disorders, drugs and/or alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex/love, or self -harm. DBT teaches that there are many other ways to deal with pain in a way that will promote healing and growth. There is a very basic formula for handling stress and pain: DISTRACT, RELAX, COPE. When you feel stress coming on or find yourself in a tough situation, you can follow this simple formula and move through the hardship quicker than if you ignore it or try to cope in an unhealthy manner, as listed above. DISTRACT: The first step is to find ways in which to distract yourself so that you are not engulfed in difficult feelings. There are many things you can do! Find a pleasurable activity, such as: watching a movie, taking a walk, reading, calling a friend, going for a drive, exercising, writing in a journal, gardening, listening to music, dancing,...