All too often we focus on the negative aspects of our relationship with food, and our bodies. We forget that we may have developed some of our attitudes and actions for reasons that, at the time, were the best coping strategies we could come up with. Eventually we may outgrow these strategies or they may become inappropriate and, at times, self destructive. We intellectually know that it is time to let them go, but process takes time. In the meantime, it is important not to vilify yourself for what you have done to take care of yourself the best way you knew how. Thanking your body, fat and all, is a healing action. Thanking your food and what it did to help you is also a healthy part of the process of change.
Writing these notes, is a tangible ritual that concretizes this process and allows for the client to consider moving forward. Continue reading »
This month I want to address something that arises for folks living in parts of the country where the weather is beginning to become more inclement and lulls many of us into a more sedentary mode.
One of the tenets of the Health at Every Size(r) paradigm is incorporating joyful movement into our lives that is NOT done to lose weight. When weight loss is the goal of moving our bodies and we don’t see the imagined results reflected on our real life scales, we tend to lose motivation to continue to engage in those activities. If, however, we choose opportunities to move our bodies based on enjoying the movement, we are inclined to continue. Call it simplistic, but we humans just like doing what we like doing! And the secondary gain is a healthier body whether weight is lost or not. Continue reading »
A predictable issue in October is the seasonal change and the obvious shortening of the days. The fall equinox arrives and there is less daylight. Frequently this means less outdoor time and a decrease in physical activity for kids and adults. Even for those who are not diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder may find a change in mood with a change in the weather and a tendency to relapse into disordered eating patterns.
This is the perfect time to revisit the Health at Every Size(R) Tenets!
- Find pleasurable indoor physical activities that you can engage in that are NOT weight loss motivated.
- Stay in tune with your mindful eating and listen to your internal cues of hunger, appetite and satiety.
- DO NOT JUDGE yourself if you are “under the weather.” It is normal for people to want to slow down during the darker hours.
And remember the third Wednesday of the month is Annual Love Your Body Day. Try to give yourself permission to honor and appreciate your body at least one day this month, if not more! Here is one way to do that…
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The following video was sent via the Art Therapy Facebook page and is an art piece that is being featured at the Notre Dame School of Art. It’s a creative blend of improvised piano and painting and a great illustration of what can happen when two talented people – pianist Sunny Promyotin and artist Erica Orth – come together and collaborate on an empty canvas to create a unique musical art experience. It’s interesting to watch them improvise and sub-consciously create something unique that is based in the moment – with Sunny improvising his piano notes based on the painting and Erica simultaneously improvising her paint strokes based on the musical notes she is hearing. It’s a riveting back and forth between two artists and mediums that results in an artistic form of communication and conversation. Continue reading »
The following expressive arts therapy idea is called Mapping Out Change and is by contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares an art therapy idea or activity to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Some of these activities may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. Learn more about eating disorder therapy here.
Why This Idea?
New classes, new books, new friends, new schools, new campus, new roommates…it must be September! September is a month that for many is fraught with changes. Change can be great for many people and welcomed with open mind, hearts, and feelings of excitement and anticipation. But too much change may be overwhelming and result in feelings of anxiety and loss of control. Feeling out of control may instigate some impulsive actions in order to regain a sense of control. It is helpful to have a “map” of what changes are ahead and to identify ways to manage the changes that are not self-destructive or ineffective. Continue reading »
Everyone understands that music is capable of helping those that are suffering. Recent numerous studies have also shown that music therapy can actually improve recovery times for surgery as well as help reduce pain throughout the entire process of having surgery performed and even through recovery.
The University of Kentucky published a medical-research study that shows the benefits of classical music before, during and after surgery. Patients were more relaxed, had a more pleasant experience and recovered faster than those that were not exposed to music at any point during their surgery. Continue reading »
The following art therapy idea/activity is called Declaration of Independence and is by contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares an art therapy idea to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Some of these directives may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. Learn more about eating disorder therapy.
Title: Personal Declaration of Independence
A copy of the Declaration of Independence, parchment paper (or regular paper if parchment paper is not available), pen and ink, magazines, scissors and glue sticks. Continue reading »
Last Updated June 30, 2013
New information for the 2013-2014 Calendar below.
For those who may be interested, we received information about a Call for Artists from someone at the American Cancer Society of Clinical Oncology. Also, there is no fee to submit artwork!
I work at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a non-profit organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. I would like to inform you that ASCO is currently seeking artwork submissions for our annual Expressions of Hope wall calendar. Cancer has a profound effect on all the lives it touches, and we invite anyone who has been affected by cancer – patients, friends, families, caregivers – to share their emotions through art and inspire hope in others.
The following art therapy idea/activity is called Crystal Ball and is by contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares an art therapy idea to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Some of these directives may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. Learn more about eating disorder therapy.
Title: Crystal Ball
Materials: Drawing paper, markers, pencils
- Ask the client(s) to draw a large circle on their paper.
- Explain that they are using a crystal ball to look into the future of the next three months.
- Ask them to draw at least one but no more than three changes in their routine that will occur over the summer and identify the feelings they predict will be generated from those changes.
- When the drawing is complete, discuss with the client/group healthy versus habitual ways to manage the feelings that they are predicting they will feel.
- If this is an Expressive Arts Therapy group, act out some of the scenarios described in their crystal ball drawings and role play healthy ways to manage the anxiety and stress that these changes of routine generate.
Why Do This: Why not? (Just kidding) Frequently one of the underlying issues of disordered eating has to do with control. Transitions can be a trigger for stress which often results in an increase in disordered eating and or negative thoughts about one’s body. Predicting the challenges and identifying healthy coping strategies helps to regain a sense of control over the situation.
The following post was written by Dr. Deah Schwartz
My Mother My Shelf
Mother’s Day: Although many folks consider Mother’s Day a contrived “Hallmark” Holiday, others take the day more seriously and sentimentally. For those who have experienced the death of a mother recently, this day can be more triggering than expected. For others who have adopted some of their body image issues from their mother’s own self-hate or overly judgmental opinions about their kids’ bodies, Mother’s Day can result in an increase in negative self-image or disordered eating. Some of you may remember the book, My Mother Myself: The Daughter’s Search for Identity written by Nancy Friday. In my family we coined the phrase, “My Mother My Shelf” referring not only to the inherited protruding behind that is a “hallmark” of the women in our family, but also the metaphorical shelf loaded with the collection of negative comments and unreasonable expectations about our bodies. One of which was that somehow we would miraculously be able to get rid of our shelves if we were just “good enough.” There was never ANY consideration given that perhaps we should learn to accept ourselves and our shelves as part of what made us unique and not feel that it diminished our value.
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