Remuda Ranch - Eating Disorders Treatment for Women
Remuda Ranch is an eating disorder treatment center that provides teen eating disorder and residential eating disorder treatment - including bulimia and anorexia disorder treatment. It provides individualized help for eating disorders for women.
At the ranch, our horses impact the patients we work with on a daily basis; whether it is teaching them to experience the feelings of acceptance, joy, sadness, fear, trust, or connection, each encounter is different for every patient. Each time a patient comes to the barn to introduce herself to the herd, a new friendship is formed or an old one is rekindled. As a facilitator of this interaction, I am always touched by the special meaning each patient hold for the horses, and mutually, how much each horse means to the patient.
Our beloved Sandy was that special horse for several of our patients; helping them process the driving forces of their addiction to being that trusting partner on the trails, as they blazed across Arizona’s Sonoran desert. One of the patients who worked with Sandy on a regular basis had been struggling with past traumas in her life and found sanctuary at the barn working with him each week. Throughout every session, the patient was able to explore how to use the new techniques and skills she was learning during her treatment while spending time with Sandy. During processing, she often shared how the work with him helped her through each day. When she heard that Sandy was no longer with us, she processed her grief by sculpting a set of clay horseshoes with angel wings to symbolize the love and peace he brought to her life. Moments like these remind us that angels don’t always have wings, sometimes they wear horseshoes.
By Elaine Coller, Equine Director, Remuda Ranch at The Meadows
The hallmark of shame is I am not good enough. As I have worked with eating disorder patients over the years, much of their time is spent in comparing themselves to others. As they do this the overwhelming feeling of I don’t measure up, I have no worth, I don’t matter continues to grow and grow. Comparison is truly the thief to happiness. Eating disorder patients struggle with what I call ED in the head thoughts anywhere from 60% to 95% of the day. For some, it is a constant battle going back and forth dealing with these intrusive thoughts. Imagine for a moment putting on headphones that were playing music you couldn’t stand and turning the volume up to a level that hurt. Now, see yourself walking around your day at work, at home, interacting with others and ask yourself what would that be like? Welcome to the world of someone struggling with an eating disorder.
I wanted to focus on one of these components, that is the source of our thoughts, and where ED in the head is coming from and how those ED thoughts start to create habits in the person’s eating disorder behavior. Habit is an impersonal, thought-based experience that one can address without rehashing your past or analyzing your life. It is not about a lack of willpower or discipline, and it has nothing to do with being ignorant of triggers or not using the right coping mechanisms. Ending a habit is about connecting with the truth of who you are, seeing the true nature of your habit and yourself. What I have seen is that people’s habits are rooted in an attempt to feel better. Nearly all habits start as a way to not feel what you are feeling, a way to leave the present moment and often by numbing out in some way and try to find or return to a more peaceful and calm home base. When you feel restless, angry, stressed etc. you stumble upon some behavior (restricting, binging, purging, over-exercising, self-harming) or obsession that instantly soothes that restlessness. Once that happens the habit has taken hold. Now your brain is focused on keeping that habit alive, and it uses urges to do that. Urges are simply thoughts or feelings that encourage the person to act on their habit. This becomes a vicious cycle in the eating disorder world. Each time the person obeys the urge it strengthens the brain neurological connection (what fires together wires together). The stronger and more frequent urges become, the harder it is to do anything other than give in to them, which sets in motion a painful, habit-reinforcing cycle. That is when the eating disorder patient truly feels they are battling another entity within themselves and the war begins day in and day out.
Prioritizing Self-Care in Eating Disorder Recovery
Yes, it’s true – you do matter, and how you care for yourself is foundational to your eating disorder recovery. Self-care is more than a fad word or a luxury activity that you participate in every now and then; self-care is a necessity to thriving in life and keeping your eating disorder recovery a priority.
How you care for yourself matters. It may be easier to justify investing time and effort into other people and relationships that you care about: but what are you doing to nurture the relationship you have with yourself? Are you caring for your mind, body, and heart appropriately? Is there any aspect of your life that is neglected and needs extra attention?
This Valentine’s Day, take the time to reflect on your own self-care and how loving yourself is perhaps the most important step you can take to grow as a person and progress in your eating disorder recovery journey. Remember… you cannot pour from an empty glass; in the same way, you cannot give to others if you are not loving yourself first.
Practical Ways to Love Yourself
Self-care can be practiced in simple ways, each and every day, as a reminder that you are absolutely deserving of love, care, and attention. Ask yourself; what are the things that bring you joy and fill up your cup? Check out these practical suggestions below for ways that you can begin integrating self-care on a daily basis:
Schedule intentional “down-time” each day. If you’re juggling a busy schedule, you’re likely jumping from one activity to the next. Overfilling your calendar and not taking some intentional time to rest can lead to a burnout and depletion. Make sure you’re giving yourself some time to unwind each day by planning it in your schedule, whether in the morning before you jump into a busy routine or at the end of your day. Use this time for journaling, meditating, listening to your favorite music, or reading a good book.
Do a Digital Detox. Staying submersed in social media can be emotionally draining. Practice self-care by protecting your mental health and unplug from screens and social media on a regular basis. Whether for an hour a day or a day per week, allow yourself the space to disconnect to make room for other life-giving activities.
Engage in activities or hobbies that you enjoy. There are so many things we cram into our schedules because we “have to”, like work or school, but what about activities that are fun to participate in? Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to dance, cook, or take up art or photography. Learning a new hobby can give you something to look forward to while allowing you to spend your time in ways that are productive and life giving to you.
Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. In our digital culture, we spend less time in relationships that matter most. Who are the people in your life that make you feel good about yourself and support your recovery? Make the time to nurture these relationships and surround yourself with others who are positive and uplifting.
Whatever you decide to do, recognize that you are worthy of love, kindness, and acceptance wherever you might be in your recovery journey. Practicing self-care is a way to show yourself love each day – because you deserve nothing less!
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care?
Gurr joined Remuda Ranch at The Meadows in 2015, where he has functioned in various capacities, including Director of Family Services and Clinical Director. Previously, he spent 13 years in an executive level position with Copper Canyon Academy/Sedona Sky Academy, a residential treatment center for girls, where he developed clinical and workshop programming for over 2,000 students and their families from around the world. He received a master’s degree from the University of Utah in exercise and sports science, with an emphasis in sports psychology. He then went on to receive another master’s degree from Argosy University, Phoenix in professional counseling. Gurr’s experience includes working with marriage, family, adolescents, and elite athletes in private practice. He is a sought-after speaker on eating disorders, anxiety, relationships, parenting, and family systems work. Gurr has also appeared on CBS’ talk show The Doctors as an eating disorder expert.
“Mike has proven himself to be a tremendous contributor to our eating disorder program in a variety of areas,” said Sean Walsh, CEO of Meadows Behavioral Healthcare. “His extensive experience and total wellness approach to behavioral health will benefit our patients as we continue to enhance our programming to incorporate more trauma theory and brain level interventions.”
Haaland comes to Remuda Ranch at The Meadows with more than 11 years of experience in the field of behavioral health. Most recently, she was in private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and trauma. She also has previous experience as the former Program Director of Eating Disorder Center of Kansas City. She is a national speaker and consultant on the treatment of eating disorders and trauma. Haaland received her undergraduate degree and Master of Arts in community counseling from the University of South Dakota.
“Remuda Ranch at The Meadows is very fortunate to have Tanja join our team,” said Walsh. “Tanja’s wealth of knowledge in the treatment of eating disorders and trauma, along with her leadership experience, will benefit our patients struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and co-occurring disorders.”
“I appreciate the confidence of Sean and the Meadows Behavioral Healthcare organization. Remuda Ranch has a solid treatment approach, a beautiful campus, and an incredible, caring staff, and I am committed to its continued growth and development to best support our patients and their families,” said Gurr. “I look forward to working closely with Tanja on a multitude of levels, with a focus on giving hope and healing to the women and young girls who come to us seeking recovery of their eating disorders.”
Remuda Ranch at The Meadows is an industry leader in treating eating and co-occurring disorders for women and girls through its inpatient, residential, and partial-care programs. To learn more about Remuda Ranch at The Meadows’ work, contact an intake coordinator at 866-390-5100, or visit http://www.remudaranch.com.
Since 1990, Remuda Ranch at The Meadows has been a leading eating disorder and co-occurring treatment center. In that time, over 10,000 women and girls have trusted their care to Remuda Ranch at The Meadows . Through its approach and clinical excellence, individualized treatment is offered by a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, primary care providers, registered dietitians, therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses that provide assistance and support 24 hours a day. Along with treating eating disorders, Remuda Ranch at The Meadows addresses co-occurring issues, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and trauma. Remuda Ranch was acquired by The Meadows in 2012 and is accredited by The Joint Commission.
What if you could create the perfect meditation space in your home?
Carving out a private enclave for meditation doesn’t have to be tough, whether you’re living in a studio-sized condo or a spacious estate with a dozen spare rooms you’ve never used. With a few simple tips, you can transform any space into a private nook where you can disconnect from daily stresses, internal dialogue and negative experiences.
What is a Meditation Space?
A meditation space is a sacred spot where you can release stress, find serenity and center yourself. Sacred doesn’t necessarily mean religious or spiritual; in this context, it means you only use the area for meditation, yoga, rest or stillness. It’s your own personal retreat within your home, and you can designate a corner, a partitioned space, or even an entire room to it as long as you feel good about your choice.
Exceptional Spots for a Meditation Space in Any Home
This is your space, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all spot that works for everyone. Ideally, you’ll be able to walk through each room in your home and narrow down your choices to rooms you absolutely love – those that make you smile, relax you, and give you a sense of peace. As you search for your perfect meditation space, be mindful that:
• Facing a southeast corner will bathe you in early morning light, which may be perfect for dawn meditation. • Facing a northwest corner will let you bask in the sun’s waning rays, which could be ideal if you’re an evening meditator. • Facing due east emulates Buddha, who sat beneath the Bodhi tree and meditated directly toward the early morning sun.
Where to Meditate in a Small Home
If you don’t have much room to spare, a terrace, patio or corner of a room in a condo or townhouse might be the perfect spot to set up your meditation space. Add a privacy screen or hang billowing curtains from a single point on the ceiling to shut out the world while you connect with your inner self, or clear out a closet for instant (and expense-free) privacy. Although it’s tough to find spare square footage in a condo, apartment or studio, you can make extra room by:
• Swapping out your sofa for comfy chairs • Installing a loft bed in a room with high enough ceilings • Storing non-essential accessories and furnishings rather than trying to cram them all into your space • Using wall cabinets rather than freestanding bookshelves in your décor
Where to Meditate in a More Spacious Home
Create your private paradise in a quiet corner, in an enclosed room or the garden to find your inner peace. One of the keys to successful meditation is carving out a distraction-free environment where you can get comfortable.
Spots to Avoid
Steer clear of high-traffic areas or those where distractions are likely to pull you off the path to Nirvana. Try to avoid the kitchen, the living room or anywhere too close to a lavatory, the front door or a space that faces a street. Your home office may drag your mind toward work, and a place that makes you want to nap rather than meditate (like your bedroom) might be a little too relaxing.
Meditation Room Ideas
The more peaceful, relaxing and beautiful your meditation room is, the more time you’ll want to spend there. You’ll feel it pulling you in before you start your day, each time you need a break and when you wind down for the night.
The Perfect Room Décor in a Meditation Space
Designing your Zen meditation space for self-help and personal development requires you stick to a few principles:
• Keep your space clean and clutter-free. • Only include items you love and that contribute to your happiness and peace. • Add natural elements where possible, such as living plants and stones.
The Bare Essentials
You don’t have to dedicate an entire room and a month’s salary to creating your meditation space. The simplest – and sometimes most effective – meditation spaces feature only the bare essentials, such as:
• Meditation cushions or a soft spot to sit • Natural light • Something with personal significance, like bells, crystals or affirmation stones • Fresh air
If you can, spring for a serene color palette in the room. Neutrals, which are the most popular (think earth tones and off-whites), are what you’ll find in monasteries and professionally designed meditation spaces, but here’s where you can make it interesting. Dark colors make a room feel smaller, which is ideal if you want to feel enveloped in your space, and pastels lend an airy, open feeling to any room, which could be perfect if you prefer a sense of freedom while you meditate. Bright, glossy white that produces glare is generally off-limits, though, because it’s too harsh for the serene environment you’re trying to create. Pro tip: If natural sunlight hits the wall and makes you squint, the paint color is wrong for your meditation space.
Your meditation room can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. A few carefully chosen elements can turn any space into a soul-nourishing haven. Consider adding décor such as:
• Attractive incense burners • A fountain for the sight and sound combination • Singing bowls • Decorative cushions • A Zen sand table • Aromatherapy diffusers • Adjustable lighting • An altar • Candles
Bare wood floors can add a sense of authenticity to your meditation room, and they can make the room appear (and feel) larger – but they’re not necessary as long as you have the proper posture. A plush area rug or tatami mat on top of carpet can carve out a private space where you can meditate, practice yoga or rest without costing you a fortune.
Best Plants for Meditation Spaces
Most people find that having at least one living plant makes a huge difference in the quality of a meditation space. They’re essential for pulling volatile organic chemicals out of the air and allowing you to commune with natural, earthy elements. Plants that thrive in low light and contribute to Zen include:
Few things are more distracting than clutter, so your meditation room needs to be light on things that can counteract your Zen. Avoid electronics (the TV has to go!) except for music players or electronic aromatherapy diffusers, and banish toys, paperwork or other distractors that will prevent you from connecting with yourself.
Bonus Tips for the Perfect Meditation Room
• Buy plug protectors in case you’re tempted to bring in electronics (other than that music player). They’ll serve as a gentle reminder that technology is unwelcome in your space. • If your window has a bad view, use Japanese rice paper or privacy glass decals to shut out the world without compromising your natural light. • This room is your escape, so nothing that pulls you back into your everyday existence belongs there.
What’s Your Dream Meditation Space Like?
With a little planning and a dash of inspiration, anyone can create a spectacular meditation space – and we’d love to hear about what you’ve already done.
Written By: Alejandra Roca To read original posting click here. To learn more about how The Meadows uses meditation, click here.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder as well as a past trauma experience, what could you expect when addressing that trauma in treatment? First, you should understand that no matter which type of trauma therapy you and your clinical team decide is best suited for you, you would notice that it gets worse before it gets better. By this, I refer to the fact that since you are working on processing a traumatic life event, it is very normal to experience the same emotions you felt during that time which then increases your defense mechanisms. Oftentimes, people will try to avoid trauma therapy because it is emotionally very difficult and can create heightened physical discomfort. However, in order to heal the wounds, you will need to work through the trauma and not around it. A quote that I like regarding this process is, “The only way out is through.”
There are many benefits to completing trauma therapy while in a residential eating disorder treatment program such as Remuda Ranch at The Meadows. First, because it is difficult to process trauma, which could increase emotional instability and eating disorder thoughts and behaviors, it is imperative to have round-the-clock supervision. The caring staff at Remuda Ranch are by your side 24/7 to provide support and keep you on track with your recovery. Additionally, so often when you only work on one issue at a time, the other issue heightens and vice versa. Therefore, working on your trauma and eating disorder concurrently at a specialized treatment center like Remuda Ranch will build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.
How We Can Help
At Remuda Ranch at The Meadows, we work to meet the needs of the individual patient. Our goal is for patients to process the traumas and recognize the impact on their lives, which may manifest in any number of ways including, but not limited to, eating disorder behaviors. We see patients as complex individuals with common needs of nurturance and respect. Our staff strives to support each patient in learning to live in peace with others, with food, and with themselves. We find that a solid foundation in recovery is possible using the multitude of resources made available to those who seek treatment at Remuda Ranch.
For more information, please call us at 866.390.5100.
Edle Aasland LPC, Program Director, Remuda Ranch at The Meadows
Is it any wonder why girls and women struggle with feeling comfortable in their own skin? There is such a deep and contradictory connection between the messages they receive about their bodies, their emotional expression, and how to be sexual and relational. Girls and women are set up to be at odds with themselves inside—to question their own experience and reality within.
Those messages are tiny ruptures in the attachments girls and women have with the people conveying them. They’re conveyed through words or examples. Subtle hurts, that develop insecurities. They may be layered on top of even more abandoning or abusing experiences from family members, friends, teachers, coaches, spiritual authorities, leaders and authority figures, intimate partners, bosses, colleagues, and strangers.
1 out of 3 girls will be sexually abused before they reach age 18 (dosomething.org, 2018)
1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 has been sexually harassed at work (timesupnow.com, 2018)
80% of 21-year-olds abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder (dosomething.org, 2018)
The “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements of today are reflective of what many girls and women have long known; that it’s difficult to move through the world without having your body, sexuality, identity, and more be objectified or used in some way. These movements encourage individuals to step out of isolation, into shared truth and support and are messages that are useful for all.
Research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) shows that women who experienced these messages, abandonments, and/or abuses when they were younger, are very likely to struggle with being sexual and relational as adults.
“Among individuals with a history of adverse childhood experiences, risky sexual behavior may represent their attempts to achieve intimate interpersonal connections. Having grown up in families unable to provide needed protection, such individuals may be unprepared to protect themselves and may underestimate the risks they take in their attempts to achieve intimacy” (Hillis, Andra, Felitti, & Marchbanks, 2001).
These childhood experiences can develop into adult intimacy issues ranging on a spectrum from attachment disorders (over- or under-connecting with others) to sex and love addiction issues (confusing sex with love, being compulsively sexual, fearing and avoiding sex, inconsistent boundaries in and around sex, and more). Girls experience early life attachment ruptures and carry them into womanhood. Adverse childhood experiences shape how women see themselves, see the world around them and see themselves in relationship to the world. They may find themselves with unconscious, seemingly body-driven urges to over-connect with some people, and under-connect or wall off with others. They may even find themselves seeking validation and closeness from people and situations that could cause further hurt, as they strive to fill unmet needs from childhood. Sometimes the only way for a woman to feel a sense of power and control over the world that has exploited her is to become the exploiter of herself—of her body, emotional expression, and how she is sexual and relational. This is often how eating disorder and sex addiction issues arise.
In sex addiction, women essentially reenact the trauma they’ve survived, or try to avoid more of that trauma, by using their bodies.
A woman may use the sex appeal she’s been taught to develop, to build intrigue with a sexual or relational partner, and have a brief encounter seemingly without strings attached by remaining emotionally walled off in an attempt to avoid possible hurt. She may do this repeatedly.
For the same intention, a woman may get involved with a partner who’s already involved in a primary relationship, lending itself to limited emotional entanglement for her.
Or a woman may feel over-connected emotionally to a long-term relationship partner who gives her more affection and attention than she can handle. It feels engulfing and unsafe but she doesn’t want to make a fuss like she was taught. So she may need to get away to breathe and act out in an affair which seems simpler.
Or a woman may find masturbation as a way to soothe herself, without having to be relational with others—especially if she has a negative body image—yet find herself needing more frequency and intensity to feel the same degree of soothing. She may need to use a substance or another process to take the edge off being sexual because she feels scared, ashamed, or overwhelmed.
And so many other examples.
These types of sexual and relational experiences are just an illusion of power and control, of course, because in trauma reenactment and addiction, women are not operating from the frontal cortex of the brain where logic and intentionality live. Instead, they are very much out of control or hijacked, by the limbic brain that holds implicit memories, drives, distorted perceptions, and survival modes of fight/flight/freeze. They’re unable to decipher what their body and emotions truly tell them. All the messages, abandonments, and/or abuses they’ve carried are a barrier to their true needs. Women with this lifelong set-up are bound by the type of soothing and relief that sexual and relational acting out seems to provide, however brief. This brings susceptibility for unsafe sex, sex with unsafe partners, exploiting others and being exploited by others, infidelity, and more. At the root, it is a woman’s best attempt to feel comfortable in her own skin, while actually sacrificing that very body which is her home.
Devastating as this cycle is, there is hope.
Just as women’s realities within are shaped by hurts, their realities can also be shaped by healing and recovery.
Ironically, healing and recovery for women’s sex addiction is rooted where the seeds of the hurts began—in the body, emotional expression, and sexual and relational attachment templates. Working slowly, and with a strong, safe, and qualified support system, women can explore the early messages, abandonments, and/or abuses they’ve carried. Expert therapists, somatic and experiential practitioners, 12 Step fellowships, and groups of women who have walked this path themselves are so valuable; this is a somatic healing process, using the body’s inner wisdom as a guide—attuning to grief, heartache, suppressed anger, and a core of shame and worthlessness that is often old and familiar. Experientially, this history can be moved through to bring shifts from the inside out. Honoring and acknowledging what has happened. Using experiential processes to move carried toxicity out of her worldview in a fully embodied way. Developing healthy attachments that provide repair. And addressing real and tangible boundaries to change her future. This is a recovering path built on a woman’s newly developing trust in herself and her reality within. This is a path that allows a woman who has survived struggle to overcome the messages and hurts and find comfort in her own skin as well as recognition that she is deeply worthy of that comfort and the boundaries to protect it. This is freedom from the inside out.
Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy is a five-day intensive therapeutic workshop offered at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows designed to cultivate this healing and recovery. Women are supported as they work through the roots of their sexual and relational struggles, where the seeds of the hurts began. Identifying traumatic messages, abandonments, and/or abuses, and how they have sacrificed their own bodies and spirits through sexual and relational patterns in attempts to manage it all, is at the heart of this workshop. The process is led by an experienced therapist in a small group of up to six participants to maximize the healing power of walking alongside others and moving out of isolation toward shared freedom. For more details, call 866-582-9850.
One particular adult patient named Jill came to equine therapy for an individual session soon after arriving on campus. Like Nip, she too was new to the program and still adjusting to her surroundings and the different expectations requested of her. When Jill initially arrived at the session, she was quiet and withdrawn, but willing to experience what equine therapy was all about. I suggested that she acclimate herself to the barn and introduce herself to the horses. I observed that she was instantly drawn to Nip; primarily his large size and gentle nature. She immediately noticed Nip’s twitch and commented that she too had a nervous twitch of picking at her fingernails, especially when meeting new people.
When Nip first arrived at Remuda Ranch, he too appeared anxious and unsure of himself and his new surroundings. To help Nip acclimate to his new home, together, Jill and I decided to create his own treatment plan to help him adjust and feel more confident in his environment. Jill suggested walking Nip around the property and slowly introducing him to the other horses.
As Jill led Nip around the campus, I noticed that she allowed him to take his time as we explored the different areas. We walked at a slow and gentle pace, which allowed both Nip and Jill to practice mindfulness and connection. During our walk, Jill began sharing personal information about her interests and hobbies. As she felt more comfortable, she began to open up about experiences in her life that have been difficult. I was encouraged by her vulnerability and held the space and validated as she shared more about herself. As we walked, Nip reflected Jill’s courage. He became more comfortable and willing to take risks by checking out the various places and he even seemed interested in meeting the other horses. Together, Nip and Jill were helping each other.
With time, Nip became acclimated to the herd and his surroundings. He developed trust in another horse named Oscar and soon they became friends. Jill too eventually adjusted to the program, made some close friends in her community where she received support and was able to open up about her struggles. She would not have been able to experience these gifts without her willingness to work through her anxiety and allow people into her life.
Although we are wounded in relationships, we are also healed in relationships. When we allow ourselves to connect with healthy and safe people and animals who allow us to be ourselves, we can blossom wherever we are, just as Jill and Nip were able to do.
We Can Help
At Remuda Ranch at The Meadows, these noble creatures play a crucial role in eating disorder treatment and recovery. The equine therapy program at Remuda Ranch helps ease eating disorder sufferers into trusting relationships. Our patients often emerge from treatment with a lasting bond with “their horse” and even check in on them long after they have successfully recovered and left treatment.
For additional information about the treatment of eating disorders, please call to speak to a Counselor at 866-390-5100.By Kristen Zollars, LPC, Director of Equine Services for Remuda Ranch at The Meadows