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...
Eating Disorders and Trauma: What Is Trauma?

Eating Disorders and Trauma: What Is Trauma?

How do we define trauma? If you look up the word “trauma” various definitions populate. The underlying theme amongst the trauma definitions involves an unpleasant experience that leaves a person with an injury. The injury can be physical, emotional or even mental. So then, how do we define trauma in a counseling setting? When I first meet with a client we go over quite a few questions to help me better understand their want for professional help. As we get to questions about trauma, some clients initially respond they have not experienced trauma in their lives. As our discussion continues, I help clients identify what mental health providers refer to as BIG T’S (Big Traumas) and little t’s (little traumas). It is estimated that “Approximately one half (50%) of all individuals will be exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lifetime” (American Psychological Association, 2016). While 50% of folks may experience trauma, responses to such trauma differ from person to person. One person may be able to continue through life with little to no help with the trauma while others could have lifelong difficulties. Big T’s can differ in the level of severity along with the healing time involved in resolving such trauma. There are some cases in which these traumas impact an individual for the duration of their life. Examples can include witnessing a horrific crime, experiencing war, surviving abuse (emotional, physical, sexual) or neglect, exposure to violence and being involved in a car accident. Little t’s can be very impactful and are not necessarily less significant but different in nature from big traumas. Examples can...
Eating Disorders and Trauma: Holiday Coping Skills

Eating Disorders and Trauma: Holiday Coping Skills

The holiday season can flare up remembrance of past trauma. Perhaps it is reminders of loved ones who have created the trauma, being around non-supportive folks or maybe even how traumatic experiences occurred right around the holidays. So how then, can we wrap up trauma with a pretty little bow? Being able to wrap up or contain our trauma from affecting our daily lives is a difficult task. Here are a few ideas for how to start the process: Grounding Coping Toolbox Self-Care Grounding is a way to put you back in the present moment. This tool is helpful when experiencing flashbacks, if you start to drift off or disassociate, and to serve as a reminder that you are safe in this exact moment. To “ground” yourself, you can begin by using your five senses (i.e. sight, touch, smell, taste, hear). Using these senses, you are not only able to slow down your racing thoughts but also become reconnected with your body. When you are not grounded, the traumatic event(s) can hijack your thoughts, emotions and body. You are taken right back to that moment in time where you felt scared, powerless or stuck. Another method to grounding can be as simple as tapping your fingers on your knees or shoulders and saying “In this moment, I am safe.” A coping toolbox can also be extremely helpful to ground you and to create calm in a time of distress. Your tools can help with breathing, the release of the physiological parts of trauma and help you outside of traditional therapy sessions. Bubbles: Target and the dollar store have small...
DBT for Eating Disorders and Trauma Healing

DBT for Eating Disorders and Trauma Healing

My name is Rebecca Sculley, and one of my primary methods of treatment is Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT), and I am an EDIT Certified Counselor.  In addition, I have expertise in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and its specific application to eating disorders and other addictions.  Exactly what is DBT, and how can it support you on your journey of recovery from eating disorders?   DBT for Eating Disorders has many benefits. Many of my clients report symptoms such as “Emotional Eating,” “Compulsive Overeating,” “Uncontrollable Food Cravings,” “Sugar Addiction,” and other behaviors associated with Binge Eating Disorder.  DBT Skills have been shown to be highly effective for the treatment of addictive behaviors, and my clients report great success in reducing their impulse to engage in eating disorder behaviors as a means of coping.  DBT Skills are also effective to overcome self-harm behaviors and recover from sexual traumas.  Perhaps you’ve heard about DBT, and you’re looking for a DBT Skills Group or individual sessions to learn DBT Skills.  Or maybe you’re new to DBT, but you’d like to give it a try.  My unique application of DBT to eating disorder recovery might be just what you’ve been looking for!   I have been leading DBT Skills Groups for Eating Disorder Recovery at Positive Pathways for the past three years, and my next group will begin this Fall.  LEARN MORE ABOUT DBT GROUP or EMAIL ME for more information. Share this page with your...