Observing an Eating Disorder Recovery Group

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Observing an Eating Disorder Recovery Group

I attended an eating disorder recovery support group session on 16th august 2016 at 6.20 pm. The meeting was held on a Tuesday at Baptist Medical Center South, in the Daisy Room. (904) 540-1639, 14550 Old St. Augustine Road and lasted an hour. I observed twelve people attending the meeting excluding the facilitator, and ten of them were women. A majority of the members were in their mid-forties and above with just two ladies who were on their twenties. The races of the attendants were balanced with seven whites and five African American. Judging by their looks and dress codes, the members were all dressed smartly and expensively. This illustrated that 100% of the attendants were from wealthy or well to do families. 

The meeting was opened by a word of prayer from a lady who seemed to be in her late fifties. She volunteered after the facilitator motioned for a volunteer. The facilitator briefed the meeting on their recovery goals using SMART model. These goals would help them remember to make their goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. These goals increased their chances of achieving the goals they have set for recovery and treatment. In the middle of the meeting, the facilitator helped the group in applying what they were learning to their current lives. As they were finalizing, the nature of discussion changed where everyone was to state what they have learnt, how to apply it, and the changes to expect. 

The facilitator mode of setting the group was giving the members a chance to come up with recovery solutions and later guide them on what to do to achieve their SMART goals. Their eating disorder road was admitting their problem first and rediscovering who they are beyond their weight, body image or eating, habits. She taught those strategies that are essential: trusting themselves, listening to their body and feelings, enjoying life again, and loving, trusting, and accepting oneself. Among the attendants was a lady who gave a testimony of her battle with anorexia. She fought it secretly for seven years and later opened up to her friend about her embarrassment who latter helped her to seek medical help. Her story was inspiring to other members and they asked her questions on how she managed.

The therapist helped the members on ways to deal with feelings of isolation and shame that are caused by eating disorders. She used cognitive-behavioral therapy targeting the unhealthy eating behaviors and the negative and unrealistic thoughts that fuel them. Members highlighted different triggers to the unhealthy eating habit. He helped them to be aware of how they use food to deal with their emotions. She also taught them about relaxation techniques, and nutrition and health weight management.

The group provided motivational support by highlighting ways through which members would boost their self-image. Self-worth is not determined by the physical appearance but by other qualities. He also taught them healthy eating habits and explained to them the importance of eating disorder treatment. Group members encouraged each other through testimonies on how they have succeeded in fighting their emotions through positive thinking and it has helped them correct their poor eating habits.

They were also provided with emotional support with dos and don’ts. They were encouraged to fully experience every emotion while allowing themselves to be vulnerable with people they trust. Another do was using people for comfort rather than turning to food. They should accept and be open with emotions while allowing the on and off nature of emotions without fear. They were discouraged from allowing people to humiliate them for expressing their emotions. They were not to focus on food while experiencing painful emotion or pretending not to have emotions when they do. These dos and don’ts will help them boost their self-worth.

The group was taking advantage of cognitive behavioral therapy where they used the SMART code in setting their goals. They are to set goals that are measurable and not vague like decrease a certain number of kilograms in a week. In measurable, the set goal should be followed with a number. To ensure the set goal is attainable, the members should ensure that the goals should be within the realm of physical possibility. Realistic and timely suggests that timeframe affects the level of realistic. The members were helping each other to come up with specific ideas to improve their eating habits.

The members learnt that at present they should set goals like currently I eat at least once a day when not hungry. Tomorrow are will eat only when am hungry and stop while full. This goal is the assignment or task that everyone should undertake and the reviews would be revealed during their next meeting. Another effectiveness of the group is their regularity in listening and talking will help them in putting their individual problems in perspective. Discussing with others their experience will help them know they are not alone and this will positively influence them to change. The members come from different cultures and have different beliefs, personalities and backgrounds. This makes people to view and tackle issues differently and every member has a chance to develop strategies on facing different concerns. 

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