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3 posts from May 2012


Obstacles to Growth

It’s May, and you know what that means -- it’s time for spring cleaning. 
It’s time to take inventory of the good-for-you things in life and remove obstacles to your personal growth. Create space so you can easily open your heart to the beauty that surrounds you. Refine your skills at nurturing the peace within.
How to create this space? Start with removing the weeds, trimming the branches making way for fresh, new growth. It’s helpful to physically clear clutter in your dwelling. Begin with brief periods of time dedicated to mindful de-cluttering of a drawer. Notice how that feels…and if you are encouraged by this action, carry on!
Clearing physical clutter can sometimes parallel internal “mind clutter.” What’s bugging you? What’s missing from your life? Is anything holding you back from being who you hoped to be? What’s keeping you from becoming a brilliant flower in life’s garden? 
Here are some steps:
  • List 3 -5 thoughts that seem to be taking over
  • Share each one with a supportive person or therapist (ask that they simply listen without feedback or advice)
  • Take one cleansing action in your physical space
  • Be near flowers (Leu Gardens or your garden, a bouquet of flowers, or a picture of a flower)
  • Do something for someone else (random act of kindness)
  • Take a quiet time and set your intention to move into that "action space"
Just as a flower needs sunshine and rain, it needs the proper nutrients and nurturing to grow, bloom, blossom, and thrive. It’s time to dispose of unneeded vines in your life that may be choking you and inhibiting your ability to renew and recognize your true beauty. It’s the time to pull the weeds and nurture your inner flower with the revitalizing nutrients.
Make way for beauty…
YOU have that peace within


Planting the Garden Within

How are you doing?  Are you making progress in the direction you hoped for?  Or are you starting to get a bit discouraged?  Dealing with food and weight can be very “cunning, baffling and powerful” (to borrow from Alcoholics Anonymous). This is a l-o-n-g process and many give up way too early! All it takes to feel like you are struggling again is a couple of “slippery” days. Or some life-chaos and the all-or-nothing thinking leads you to believe you have failed – again. You start thinking if I am not a glowing success, then I am a lowly failure. We understand.
However, there is hope.
It just calls for a revitalization of that enthusiasm and commitment. May and June are an opportune time to dig into your program, your personal process of healing. There is something refreshing and re-energizing about feeling summer approaching. It is a time of hope, a time of promise, and a time of renewal. This time of year may be your cue to make a change or renew your dedication to that part of you that has been hibernating.
When everything in mother earth’s nature is budding with the promise of new life, it’s a favorable time to move closer to your true nature. It’s time to refresh the spirit within and reenergize the soul with a renewed sense of hope. 
The first step in planting a garden is preparing the soil - the “groundwork.” Just as we cultivate the earth, we develop our intention in this renewed direction. Before you can plant the seeds that will grow into thriving plants, you must plan and prepare, ensuring that the soil is ready -- rid of debris, and rich in nutrients. 
Can you identify any areas you may need to clear away? What groundwork is needed before moving toward your true nature? See if any of these resonate with you:
  • Clutter  
  • Negative thinking
  • Commitments  
  • Relationship troubles
  • Memories
  • Possessions that have outlived their purpose
What are you doing to prepare your garden within?  Are you ready to take the steps towards a richer life? Journal, if that is helpful. Create a vision board. Discuss your thoughts with understanding friends or family members and create your Garden Within.
And in case you want to talk to a professional, set up a counseling session.  If you want to meet with one of us at White Picket Fence Counseling Center, please email or call our office. We are offering a special program for May and June to help you achieve some movement and growth. We will help you with the design and implementation of your Personal Action Plan. Action Planning Sessions can help you set up and grow your plan. These sessions are structured as a series of 30- or 90-minute sessions for greatest effectiveness. We invite you to take that step to cultivate renewal in your life. Come on in…


IAEDP™ Symposium 2012: A Perspective

(IAEDP is the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals)

As a licensed clinician, supervisor of interns, and adjunct professor of psychology working in and focusing on the field of Eating Disorders and Food Addiction, I have to say, I love my job. I love helping people work on recovery from conditions and often debilitating eating disorders that preclude them from leading their happiest, healthy lives. This field of study is uniquely gratifying, and even more so when the work we do on a daily basis is not only validated, but enhanced by experts in our field who pose not only the very problems and concerns we routinely encounter as therapists, but who also offer the kinds of innovative solutions we seek.

What I found particularly exciting about this year’s symposium, entitled Journey Through the Looking Glass: Complex Issues/Creative Solutions, is the number of conference sessions that focused on Food Addiction education, which included not only presentations by researchers, but by treatment professionals who offered some inspiring perspectives, studies, and methods of treatment. The impressive number of presentations with supportive research maintaining that FOOD ADDICTION is a very real problem is extremely important in today’s world and one worthy of being further addressed and researched.

In addition to sharing my enthusiasm about these remarkable professionals, their sessions, and the ideas they shared with the professionals in attendance, there are some particular highlights worth mentioning:

  • In his keynote address, Dr. Mark Gold, Distinguished Professor, Eminent Scholar, Chairman McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida College of Brain Medicine, presented comprehensive research on the cause and potential treatment of addictions to foods and eating. His presentation was supported by Dr. Nicole Avena, PhD of University of Florida College of Medicine and Princeton University, who, like Dr. Gold, presented compelling research about the brain’s reward centers and the preference in rats for sugar -- over anything else!
  • Joel Robertson, PharmD, explored the relationship between potentially problematic brain chemistry and one’s body image. In addition to a variety of non-medicating options and methods of treatment, Robertson presented his idea that brain chemistry is affected by disordered eating, posing the notion that healthy eating can improve brain chemistry and become a successful treatment option.  
  • Kevin Wandler, MD and Elizabeth Dizney, PsyD, representing University of Florida’s Eating Disorder Recovery Center, presented  ideas about the relationship between eating disorders and a variety of today’s most prevalent addictions. They noted the importance of treating ALL addictions (food, drugs, alcohol, and shopping) in order to prevent behavior relapse.
  • Similar research was included by Carolyn Coker Ross, MD of the Ranch, and Dr. Kimberly Dennis, of Timberline Knolls, in their break-out sessions, Addiction, Food Addiction, Obesity and Binge Eating Disorder. Dr. Dennis provided insightful information about 12-step recovery programs to clinicians who may have received feedback from clients, but haven’t experienced these kinds of benefits directly.

Each of these outstanding presenters affirmed not only the importance of addressing the relationship between the brain and eating behaviors, but the relationship between the brain AND addiction, relative to specific foods and volume eating.

Beyond emotional recovery work (therapy), exercise, and eating at a slower pace, I would like to have seen more innovative treatment-related ideas. That being said, I feel a certain hope that if we continue the open dialogue about food addiction, discuss and share the effects it has on so many lives, talk about what has been helpful in the past and what we can do today and in the future, we can continue to improve the probability and success rate of the recovery process.

When the conference was over, I felt a wave of satisfaction that Food Addiction was addressed at such depth at the IAEDP conference this year, reaffirming confidence in my treatment approach and our work at White Picket Fence Counseling Center.

To address your questions, request information, or to schedule speaker engagements for Sandee S. Nebel, MS, LMHC, please contact her via the White Picket Fence Counseling Centre website.