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2 posts from April 2012

04/24/2012

Why a Team Approach?

JakiBy Jaki Hitzelberger, MA, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

Surrounding yourself with a team of people who are knowledgeable, who support you, who understand and care, and who work towards helping you help yourself to a better, healthier life – that is an important part of our approach at White Picket Fence Counseling Center. 
 
One of the trainings on the treatment of eating disorders I recently attended featured Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, FAED, Director of the University of North Carolina Eating Disorders Program. Dr. Bulik has published over 400 scientific papers and chapters on eating disorders. Her new book is The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like with Who You Are (Walker, December 2011). She is also author of Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop (Walker). Her research includes treatment, laboratory, epidemiological, and genetic studies of eating disorders. I found the information presented to be very applicable in my work with clients.
 
Dr. Bulik touches on many ways to make treatment more effective, including the importance of a team approach for recovery. In addition to meeting with the individual who has eating concerns, it is necessary to include participation of the counselor, physician, psychiatrist, dietician, family and friends in the course of treatment. All members of the team must work together to support the individual through communication and understanding. I believe in Dr. Bulik’s team approach philosophy and think it is important to work closely with the client and other practitioners in the field (my colleagues).
 
Depending on the individual in therapy, working with the family is another important piece of our team approach atWhite Picket Fence Counseling Center. We understand that the home environment and support from family provides the individual with strength throughout treatment. We also acknowledge that the word “family” is not always meant in the traditional sense. For some, family encompasses different important people in their lives, such as friends, extended family, or mentors.
 
Dr. Bulik’s research shows that couples counseling is also highly effective in the treatment of individuals who have eating concerns. Part of recovery involves helping couples re-build the connection that may have been damaged due to ongoing and sometimes secretive eating disorders. The UCAN (Uniting Couples in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa) approach involves re-teaching the couple relationship skills such as sharing thoughts, expressing feelings, and problem solving. I find it helpful to add working to break through the barriers shame and guilt unduly provide.
 
Dr. Bulik’s research sheds light on many significant issues with eating concerns. It supports and affirms our approach at White Picket Fence Counseling Center, where our goal is to provide a holistic experience to recovery. We believe in the importance for all individuals with disordered eating patterns to receive the holistic support and treatment that will allow them recovery, both physically and emotionally, as well as socially – with fulfilling relationships.
 
I invite you to take advantage of our workshops and counseling services and utilize them as part of your support team through your personal journey.  We know that this is YOUR journey and we are honored to be a part of it. 
 
My best to you,
 
Jaki Hitzelberger, MA
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

04/18/2012

Have you been feeling stressed lately?

Stress. It’s everywhere. Like a bad penny, it keeps turning up, affecting your mood, your personality, your effectiveness, and often causing anxiety or irritability on the job, at school, or at home. It’s not a pleasant feeling when you want to enjoy life, but can’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to live your life stress free? Now you can. Through education and identification, we can help you better cope with stress and rescue you from this daily demon.

As a professional, I needed to find a way to reduce stress in my own life and studied and researched stress and methods of coping with it. That’s when I discovered SIT – Stress Inoculation Training. It is a prescribed program of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that can help individuals cope with stressful situations. This methodology helps us to better understand the nature and cause of stress in our lives and teaches effective coping mechanisms to release and cope with stress effectively.

SIT is a treatment that is flexible and can be tailored to fit your needs. The goal of SIT is to enhance your artillery of coping skills and increase your confidence in applying these skills by employing three phases of intervention:

1st Phase: Conceptual Education
2nd Phase: Skills Acquisition and Consolidation
3rd Phase: Application and Follow-through

How does SIT work?

1. Conceptual Education

The first phase of SIT focuses on enhancing awareness and understanding of what is causing your stress, how it is impacting your life, and how well you are or are not able to deal with it or cope effectively.

2. Skills Acquisition and Consolidation

The second phase of SIT helps you learn about and acquire the coping tools and the necessary skills you need to add to your current skill arsenal. In this phase, you will also learn about and rehearse the coping skills you need to combat stress so that your responses become more natural in the face of immediate stressors.

3. Application and Follow-through

The final phase of SIT provides opportunities for you to practice your newly acquired coping skills in increasingly stressful situations. We all know that practice makes perfect. It can turn a learned response into a natural habit. Through guided practice, you will become more confident and better able to handle stress naturally and effectively.

I’ve tried this on my own and with groups of individuals like you. It works! SIT is a widely successful intervention in helping us cope with stress in a healthy manner. If you are interested in learning more about SIT and want to live a happier, healthier, stress-free life, please join us in our upcoming workshop on Monday, May 7, 2012. You are welcome to call me today to set up your appointment and make this the first day in the best of your life.

Best regards to you,
Erika Bent, B.A., Graduate Student Intern
UCF Clinical Psychology Masters Program

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