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Perfectionism and The Critic in Recovery
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I know you feel it,the pressure to do it all PERFECTLY. You know it’s impossible, yet still you are seduced. You aren’t quite sure what makes you aim for perfection, but what you are sure of is that nagging voice inside your head telling you that you aren’t doing it right. The critic comments on just about everything you do and don’t do. But why? Because there is some narrative out there telling us that we can live life….

 
 Copyright © 2018 – Cielo House  All Rights Reserved.
 Our Mailing Address: 323 Cypress Avenue, Moss Beach, CA 94038
 

 

 

 

 

The post Week 3 June 2018 appeared first on Cielo House.

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I know you feel it,the pressure to do it all PERFECTLY. You know it’s impossible, yet still you are seduced. You aren’t quite sure what makes you aim for perfection, but what you are sure of is that nagging voice inside your head telling you that you aren’t doing it right. The critic comments on just about everything you do and don’t do. But why? Because there is some narrative out there telling us that we can live life without creating any ripples. That if we just try hard enough we will self-actualize without ever confronting another person, speaking up for ourselves, or even valuing our own life. The critic thinks it is protecting us from harm, but actually harm is all it creates.

When recovering from an eating disorder your critic will often insert itself in the process.  There are several reasons recovery elicits the inner critic? For one, it’s probably new to you and anything new can feel like you are doing it wrong. Additionally, you have to focus on yourself during recovery and that for many is terrifying and often framed as selfish. Furthermore, recovery challenges old stories that you have retold yourself many times. Recovery requires growth and growing can have pains!

The critic may put pressure on you to pretend you are fine or to believe that you aren’t making any progress. The critic regularly takes away from your gains and strips you bare. It tells you that if recovery were actually working you wouldn’t feel this way. That since you aren’t 100% recovered you are disappointing others and may as well quit. The critic can sound pretty convincing.

Recovery can be stressful, and excessive amounts of stress clouds judgement and rational thinking,allowing that critic to sound even louder when it tells you that you aren’t doing it well enough.

So how can we cope with the critic?

  • Learn about your critic by listening to it with curiosity instead of reacting to it. Does it sound like someone you know or have known? Does it target certain choices more than others? Does it show up more when you are tired, angry or stressed? The more you know about your critic the better equipped you will be to inoculate yourself from it with helpful mantras like: “I’m not failing, I’m just tired today and I am allowed to be tired!” or “I know my mom would do it this way but I am me and I can do things the way I want.”
  • Keep your long-term goals in mind. Do you want to recover so you can go to school? Give back to your community? Remind yourself regularly why you are doing the work you are doing.
  • Be true to yourself. Maybe you haven’t really spent time getting to know who you are. Many of us have never been encouraged or had the opportunity to know ourselves, interests, and skills. And now, for the first time, we are having to make significant decisions without understanding what is important to us. Many of us have been raised to conform to our parent’s visions of ourselves and through recovery are faced with personal choices about which we worry what others will think. By being true to yourself you have no one to disappoint.
  • Be ok with being vulnerable or scared. These don’t make you weak- they make you human. And when you feel these feelings, reach out to someone. Allow yourself to have a support system. No one is harder on yourself than you are. As they say, “The worst bullies are in your head.”A good friend can reassure you and help problem solve in productive ways because they aren’t in the thick of it and their critic isn’t imposing feelings of inadequacy upon them.

Understand that perfect doesn’t exist. The pursuit of perfection is one that inevitably leads to disappointment because perfect is a concept rather than a reality.  Instead of aiming for perfection, aim for progress.  Progress is attainable, progress is real and progress is whatever you decide it to be.  That is a concept in recovery that gives you something important to build upon.

Written by Jasmine Dunckel, MFT –  Jasmine is Clinical Director at Cielo House Moss Beach.  She understands that what matters in recovery is progress, ands works with clients to ensure they are finding and appreciating their progress in recovery.

The post Perfectionism and The Critic in Recovery appeared first on Cielo House.

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I know you feel it, the pressure to do it all PERFECTLY. You know it’s impossible, yet still you are seduced. You aren’t quite sure what makes you aim for perfection, but what you are sure of is that nagging voice inside your head telling you that you aren’t doing it right. The critic comments on just about everything you do and don’t do. But why? Because there is some narrative out there telling us that we can live life without creating any ripples. That if we just try hard enough we will self-actualize without ever confronting another person, speaking up for ourselves, or even valuing our own life. The critic thinks it is protecting us from harm, but actually harm is all it creates.

                When recovering from an eating disorder your critic will often insert itself in the process. There are several reasons recovery elicits the inner critic? For one, it’s probably new to you and anything new can feel like you are doing it wrong. Additionally, you have to focus on yourself during recovery and that for many is terrifying and often framed as selfish. Furthermore, recovery challenges old stories that you have retold yourself many times. Recovery requires growth and growing can have pains!

                The critic may put pressure on you to pretend you are fine or to believe that you aren’t making any progress. The critic regularly takes away from your gains and strips you bare. It tells you that if recovery were actually working you wouldn’t feel this way. That since you aren’t 100% recovered you are disappointing others and may as well quit. The critic can sound pretty convincing.

               Recovery can be stressful, and excessive amounts of stress clouds judgement and rational thinking, allowing that critic to sound even louder when it tells you that you aren’t doing it well enough.

So how can we cope with the critic?

  • Learn about your critic by listening to it with curiosity instead of reacting to it. Does it sound like someone you know or have known? Does it target certain choices more than others? Does it show up more when you are tired, angry or stressed? The more you know about your critic the better equipped you will be to inoculate yourself from it with helpful mantras like: “I’m not failing, I’m just tired today and I am allowed to be tired!” or “I know my mom would do it this way but I am me and I can do things the way I want.”
  • Keep your long-term goals in mind. Do you want to recover so you can go to school? Give back to your community? Remind yourself regularly why you are doing the work you are doing.
  • Be true to yourself. Maybe you haven’t really spent time getting to know who you are. Many of us have never been encouraged or had the opportunity to know ourselves, interests, and skills. And now, for the first time, we are having to make significant decisions without understanding what is important to us. Many of us have been raised to conform to our parent’s visions of ourselves and through recovery are faced with personal choices about which we worry what others will think. By being true to yourself you have no one to disappoint.
  • Be ok with being vulnerable or scared. These don’t make you weak- they make you human. And when you feel these feelings, reach out to someone. Allow yourself to have a support system. No one is harder on yourself than you are. As they say, “The worst bullies are in your head.” A good friend can reassure you and help problem solve in productive ways because they aren’t in the thick of it and their critic isn’t imposing feelings of inadequacy upon them.

Understand that perfect doesn’t exist. The pursuit of perfection is one that inevitably leads to disappointment because perfect is a concept rather than a reality.  Instead of aiming for perfection, aim for progress.  Progress is attainable, progress is real and progress is whatever you decide it to be.  That is a concept in recovery that gives you something important to build upon.

Written by Jasmine Dunckel, MFT –  Jasmine is Clinical Director at Cielo House Moss Beach.  She understands that what matters in recovery is progress, ands works with clients to ensure they are finding and appreciating their progress in recovery.

 

The post Perfectionism and The Critic in Recovery appeared first on Cielo House.

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Perfectionism and The Critic in Recovery
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I know you feel it, the pressure to do it all PERFECTLY. You know it’s impossible, yet still you are seduced. You aren’t quite sure what makes you aim for perfection, but what you are sure of is that nagging voice inside your head telling you that you aren’t doing it right. The critic comments on just about everything you do and don’t do. But why? Because there is some narrative out there telling us that we can live life without creating any ripples. That if we just try hard enough we will self-actualize without ever confronting another person, speaking up for ourselves, or even valuing our own life. The critic thinks it is protecting us from harm, but actually harm is all it creates.

 
 Copyright © 2018 – Cielo House  All Rights Reserved.
 Our Mailing Address: 323 Cypress Avenue, Moss Beach, CA 94038
 

 

 

 

 

The post Week 4 June 2018 appeared first on Cielo House.

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Mindful Movement in Recovery
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The psychological and physiological benefits of physical exercise have been well-documented. In fact, there is a general sense in our society that because of the stress and strain of everyday life, people should even carve out more time for physical exercise. But this suggestion doesn’t always apply to those with eating disorders, who may have established a pattern of exercise that does more harm than good.

 
 Copyright © 2018 – Cielo House  All Rights Reserved.
 Our Mailing Address: 323 Cypress Avenue, Moss Beach, CA 94038
 

 

 

 

 

The post June 2018 appeared first on Cielo House.

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The psychological and physiological benefits of physical exercise have been well-documented.  In fact, there is a general sense in our society that because of the stress and strain of everyday life, people should even carve out more time for physical exercise.  But this suggestion doesn’t always apply to those with eating disorders, who may have established a pattern of exercise that does more harm than good.  In treatment, sometimes it is necessary for an individual to revise their relationship with exercise or temporarily refrain from strenuous physical activity altogether.  This creates a predicament in which the individual is unable to receive the psychological benefits of physical exercise because the physiological risks are too high, and this can be tricky to handle.

                One solution to this quandary is what we call Mindful Movement.  Mindful Movement is physical activity designed for the mind.  It is a way to derive the psychological benefits of physical exercise without placing undue strain on the individual, which in the case of someone with an eating disorder could be dangerous for them.  Mindful Movement isn’t about burning calories, or achieving some kind of physical fitness outcome, it is geared at providing psychological benefit through moving the body.

                You may be curious, what are some examples of Mindful Movement?  The wonderful thing about it is that virtually any kind of physical activity could be converted into Mindful Movement if approached with the right mindset.  However, there are certain activities that tend to lend themselves more readily to Mindful Movement.  A few of the go-to activities that we incorporate at Cielo House are dance, walking in nature, gardening, caring for animals, yoga and moving meditation. 

  • Dance, as you can imagine has the ability to activate emotions, whether they be expressions of joy or reflections of sadness. Moving expressively, intentionally through dance provides a powerful emotional outlet and allows a person to move their bodies in ways that feel natural and creative.
  • Walking in nature allows a person to move their body while connecting with the natural environment. Walking is preferable to running for this purpose, because when running it is more difficult to take in and appreciate the natural surroundings.  The purpose behind this is to spend time as a person being and moving in nature, without focusing on the excessive exertion or fatigue that can come with running.
  • Gardening allows for a different kind of physical movement that encourages connection directly with the Earth and with other elements of nature. Gardening can be strenuous as planting, pulling, digging and patting all require muscle movement.  But when done for the purposes of communing with nature it activates an increased sense of connection and spirituality.
  • Caring for animals can range from taking a dog for a walk, playing on the floor with a frisky kitten, grooming a horse, or changing the shavings of chicken coop. Our beloved animals do require care, and these activities involve actual physical movement.  It can be an enjoyable way to move one’s body in the presence of other animals that are moving theirs.  It’s refreshing to think that when you walk your dog, he is not thinking about how many calories he is burning, probably he is on the lookout for squirrels.
  • The benefits of Yoga for Eating Disorders has been extensively documented, and if you would like to learn more on this topic, please click
  • Moving Meditation is just what it sounds like. It can be done walking down a city street, moving your body while listening to a guided meditation in your room, anywhere and anyhow with the intention of entering a meditative mind state and using the body to facilitate this.  The slow gentle movements associated with Moving Meditations reinforce the idea that the purpose of the movement is to enhance the mind, not just the body.

Often time individuals with Eating Disorders only have a limited concept about what constitutes physical exercise.  They have been so conditioned to think physical activity is meant to be strenuous, painful, or punitive.  It’s often a relief to know that they can have a relationship with exercise that benefits the mind and feels natural, intuitive and enjoyable.  Mindful Movement is something that almost anyone can do at any stage of recovery and it can establish a lasting, positive relationship with their bodies and their spirits.

Matt Keck, MFT is Co-founder and CEO of Cielo House Comprehensive Eating Disorder Treatment programs.  He believes in a pro-movement philosophy within treatment and supports clients to find movement that energizes the body and the mind.

The post Mindful Movement in Recovery appeared first on Cielo House.

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*|MC:SUBJECT|*

 
Guidelines to T.R.E.A.T. Eating Disorders in Males
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Most practitioners acknowledge that in order to provide the most effective treatment for a client, treatment must take into account their personal preferences, styles and characteristics. When it comes to treatment approaches geared towards males with eating disorders, there is relatively little empirical research directed at establishing effective therapeutic guidelines…

 

 
 
 
 Copyright © 2018 – Cielo House  All Rights Reserved.
 Our Mailing Address: 323 Cypress Avenue, Moss Beach, CA 94038
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Week 4 May 2018 appeared first on Cielo House.

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Most practitioners acknowledge that in order to provide the most effective treatment for a client, treatment must take into account their personal preferences, styles and characteristics.  When it comes to treatment approaches geared towards males with eating disorders, there is relatively little empirical research directed at establishing effective therapeutic guidelines.  Most of the treatment guidelines for males with eating disorders have come from clinical experience working with males, which due to the smaller percentage of clients who are male, can be hard to come by.  Cielo House has been treating males with eating disorders since our inception in 2010, and we have gained valuable experience with some of the specific treatment guidelines that work for males.  A useful framework that summarizes these recommendations can be easily remembered using the acronymT.R.E.A.T.

            T -Effective therapy for males with eating disorders must tackle the maladptive Thinking of the individual.  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapyis a treatment approach we use that focuses on creating change in the maladaptive thought patterns of clients.  This is an approach that is particularly useful and important for male clients, and its structure seems to be naturally appealing to many males.

            R –  Effective therapy for males with eating disorders must include emphasis on Relationships.  Interpersonal Therapy is an approach that works towards improving the relational health of an individual.  This is a particular area of importance for males, who often have significant interpersonal struggles.

            E –  Effective therapy for males with eating disorders must address the Emotions of the individual.  Emotion-Focused Therapy is another approach we utilize, and it allows us to take an emotion-friendly stance while in therapy, encouraging the processing and expression of emotions and helping clients to see all of their emotions as having value.  This is particularly useful for males, who are sometimes conditioned to believe that emotions are unimportant or the expression of emotion goes against gender stereotyped norms.

            A –  Effective therapy for males with eating disorders must address the Actions of the individual, and/or be action-oriented in general.  The behavioral aspects of our treatment help address this need.  Not only do we provide a supportive structure in which destructive behaviors can be contained, but we work with clients to implement alternative behaviors in their life not just while in treatment, but well beyond it.  For males it is important they see the fruits of their labor, and tend to hold more value for evidence they can concretely see.  The behavioral changes serve to show them that the things they are learning and working on in treatment actually work.

            T – Effective therapy for males with eating disorder should be done Together.  Group approaches that address the eating disorder are necessary for males.  Since males are often under-represented in eating disorder treatment, having other people who can relate to and support them is critical.  Males have a greater tendency not to involve others in their problems, and as a result they miss out on an important sense of togetherness, and group therapy provides an important reminder that they are not alone.  Any treatment for males with eating disorders should emphasize a sense of togetherness.

            When it comes to eating disorder treatment, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.  There is no magic cure and no silver bullet.  Taking into account some of the unique needs of male clients, we can offer these guidelines to anyone who seeks to provide treatment for males with eating disorders.  While it is not a prescription for how treatment should be done, incorporating these guidelines would be consistent with our extensive experience for what males find to be most effective in their treatment.

 

Matt Keck, MFT is Co-founder and CEO of Cielo House Comprehensive Eating Disorder Treatment programs.  As a male therapist working in the field of eating disorders, he understand the unique challenges male clients face in eating disorder treatment.

The post Guidelines to T.R.E.A.T. Eating Disorders in Males appeared first on Cielo House.

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The “THIS” and “THAT” of Recovery
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The drive for autonomy is one of the must fundamental human drives that exists. Autonomy is a founding principle of our country, and ideal that has been fought for and sought by many people over the course of human history. The ability to be free from the influence of external forces, to do things by oneself and for oneself is a substantial part of what we believe it means to lead a full life.

 
 Copyright © 2018 – Cielo House  All Rights Reserved.
 Our Mailing Address: 323 Cypress Avenue, Moss Beach, CA 94038
 

 

 

 

 

The post Week 4 May 2018 appeared first on Cielo House.

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Recovering from an eating disorder is hard work. It requires challengingpatterns of behavior, ways of thinking, and even re-conditioning the way that we experience emotions. In treatment clients are asked to do many things that are outside their comfort zone. This is the only way that they can challenge the self-destructive elements of their eating disorder and establish new ways of living. Even if someone is really motivated to leave behind the Eating Disorder, the tasks involved in doing so are difficult enough to make anyone shy away from them. The central tasks involved in even disorder recovery I classify into two categories:“THIS” and “THAT”.
When presented with the various recovery challenges, clients will often say,“OK I’ll do this,” and, “I can take on this challenge,” and “I’m OK with this…but, I won’t do THAT.” “Sure, I will give up excessively exercising, (it really wasn’t bringing me enjoyment anyways). I’ll give up socially isolating myself, I miss the connections I had with people. Sure, I will try eating foods that I used to not eat, but… I won’t gain weight or I don’t want to experience my feelings or I don’t want to confront my traumas, I won’t do THAT”.
There is an important time and place for working on THIS in recovery. In early stages of recovery, the THIS challenges are so significant a person needs to devote all their energy and focus to those. In the early stages, they may not have access to anything deeper than the THIS level, and it’s OK, good work can still be done at this stage. However, in recovery theTHIS will only get you so far, but the THAT is really where it’s at. THAT is often the area whereby if a person did do work on it, would propel them so far forward in their recovery. If they were willing to work on the THAT, they could have a sustainable recovery, where they were not just chasing symptoms, but getting to the root of what drives the whole machine. The THATis so challenging because it brings up lots of deep underlying issues, mostly painful ones, and nobody really looks forward to such a process.
In order to get to the THAT in recovery, it’s important to create an environment in which someone feels safe to do so. It’s important to encourage them, and remind them the THIS is important, but there’s also something deeper at work for them. The only way to get to the THAT is by talking about and doing the THIS, which allows them to realize those things are only a fraction of the deeper work. At Cielo House we are committed to creating that sense of safety, which gives our clients courage to really work on a deeper level. There’s a tremendous upside to working on the underlying issues associated with eating disorder. Once clients are able to get to that level, it all makes so much more sense to them. They understand what drives the behaviors they understand that they don’t need the behaviors. They can look at the big scary monster right in the eye and say I can handle that so I don’t need this anymore.

Matt Keck, MFT is Co-founder and CEO of Cielo House Comprehensive Eating Disorder Treatment programs. He is happy to work with clients on this and that, but knows the THAT is where it’s at.

The post The “THIS” and “THAT” of Recovery appeared first on Cielo House.

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