Wilderness Therapy & Eating Disorders

Wilderness Therapy & Eating Disorders

Wilderness Therapy in Eating Disorders Recovery My name is Kristen, I am the newest EDIT™ Counselor Intern at Positive Pathways, from the Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy Program at Naropa University. You’re probably thinking, “Wait – what kind of therapy?” Don’t worry, I am here to give you a brief introduction of myself and the world of Wilderness Therapy. Transpersonal psychology is a relationship of the Self and spiritual connection to our world. It is not only looking at the different parts of our Self – Body, Mind, Emotions, Spirit – but also connecting those parts to the earth, relationships, growth and human potential. Transpersonal psychology combines the teachings of the psychology trail blazers – psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanistic psychology – as well as many other aspects of human experience and spirituality. We are conditioned from our past experiences; we develop a system that works for us as individuals in order to survive.  In this development, we acknowledge the “ego” and “Self” in all of its complexities, intertwined into our culture and history. We create relationships and intimacy through empathy for others and ourselves. The “transpersonal” are the experiences that we cannot fully describe, from our “heart space” that holds our limitless potential. Transpersonal psychology not only looks at the different parts of ourselves as a whole, but also acknowledges our wholeness as a part in the complexity and mystery that is the universe. Wilderness Therapy is about creating a relationship with nature, and also promoting a sense of self-sufficiency and autonomy. When we are in relationship with another person we cannot predict how they will react to our behaviors, and vise versa. When in relationship with another person...
Eating Disorders and Art Therapy: Separating from ED

Eating Disorders and Art Therapy: Separating from ED

When considering eating disorders and art therapy, how can clients enhance their recovery through the separation from “ED” (what they might call their eating disorder)? Common with clients suffering from disordered eating, is the assumption that the internal dilemma is truly about calories, weight and food (Johnston, 1996). In introducing art to the therapeutic process, we can begin to access that which hides behind the disordered eating pattern (Brooke, 2008). Though there are several effective eating disorder and art therapy interventions that can help access our deeper selves, the “Create an Image of the Eating Disorder” intervention is extremely powerful. Using clay or paper and oil pastels (or any other drawing material), the therapist invites the client to create and image of the eating disorder. They will then invite the client to give this disorder a name, a face, does he/she have a body? How big is this character? This eating disorder and art therapy intervention assists clients in recognizing that they have both an authentic self and a voice of their disordered eating pattern. By externalizing and characterizing the eating disorder, the client can begin to separate their true self from this false self; the disordered eating that developed as a coping strategy. Further, the client can begin to dialogue with the eating disorder, give it a name and express their true feelings about the influence that this character has had on their lives. Additionally, the individual can also thank the character of the eating disorder for the coping methods that were provided during the clients time of need. As the separation process begins, a lot of thoughts, feelings...
Eating Disorders Therapy: How Is Therapy Like Doing Laundry?

Eating Disorders Therapy: How Is Therapy Like Doing Laundry?

Eating disorders therapy can be very beneficial, and in fact necessary – and yet, eating disorders therapy can also seem like a lot of work, so it might be tempting to let issues pile up until they absolutely have to be dealt with. And then, by facing these issues a little bit at a time with lots of guidance and support, the work in eating disorders therapy isn’t so hard. The outcome of fresh perspectives and a sense of freedom from past pain is worth it! Isn’t eating disorders therapy a little bit like doing laundry? Introduction to Erica Faulhaber’s blog post written by Dr. Dorie McCubbrey, MSEd, PhD, LPC, CEDS, Owner & Clinical Director at Positive Pathways ***** Laundry – the necessary evil to get out dirt, grime, stains and unwanted stench.   A task resulting in revitalized, fresh and clean garments to go forth into the world. Doing laundry for most involves time, sorting, detergent, water and folding skills. Manufacturers provide labels that suggest hot or cold water, low or high heat and “lay flat to dry” or the fan favorite “dry clean only.” Who really likes doing laundry? There may be a few folks out there that enjoy this task, but for the most part it is just something that needs to get done. Like laundry, therapy is an option to get out the gunk – it may take longer than the standard seventy-minute wash cycle, but it will be well worth it! I think of coming to therapy (including eating disorders therapy) like coming into a laundromat. You bring a bag or two or three, and we will start to work...