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Psychological Surfing: Utilizing Self-Righting Resilience Strategies for Riding the Waves of Recovery

Friday, February 28, 2014: 10:50 AM-12:20 PM
Banyan/Citrus (TradeWinds )

Background: Supporting recovery from an ED requires constant balancing of the ebb and flow of progress, much like psychological surfing. Drawing from key concepts of crisis recovery fields, as well as client feedback and therapy effectiveness data, this workshop will introduce a model for application of resilience strategies to ED treatment.

Part I:  Learning about EDs from Disaster Mental Health (DMH) – outlining the impetus and connection for the workshop

1. How DMH has informed therapy

2. How DMH can inform ED therapy in particular

3. The pivotal role of resilience

Part II – Resilience Application to ED Treatment

Resilience Defined

     i. What Resilience is and isn’t

     ii. Characteristics of and variations in resilience

     iii. Introduction to Client Survey results to be shared throughout workshop

     iv. Workshop exercise – exemplifying resilience in action

Building and Supporting Resilience in Clients

1)    Introducing the SURFING acronym as strategies for building resilience

i) S – Stay Curious and Alert Strategy

(1) Steps for building curiosity, listening, mindfulness

(2) Questions and applications

(3) Video excerpt and discussion

ii) U – Uninhibited Centering Strategy

(1) Steps for balancing the change using both action and inaction

(2) DBT and ACT applications

(3) Video excerpt and discussion

iii) R - Reframing Strategy

(1) Methods of reframing and examples of reframes

(2) ED application and examples of reframes in particular

(3) Video excerpt and discussion

iv)   F - Finding Strengths and Growth Strategy

(1) Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth

(2) Factors facilitating growth and thriving following trauma

(3) Questions for acknowledging growth

(4) Video excerpt and discussion

v) I – Interconnectedness Strategy

(1) Social support and connection research

(2) Relational resiliency and cultural influence applications

(3) Video excerpt and discussion

vi)   N – Notice the Small Stuff

(1) Addressing hope and humor

(2) Therapeutic lifestyles changes

(3) Video excerpt and discussion

vii) G – Gravitational Respect Strategy

(1) Lead in to the process of applying strategies of resilience for self

(2) Video excerpt and discussion

Part III:  Therapist Self-Care and Resilience

1. Self-Care as Therapist Responsibility

2. Vulnerability Factors and Crisis Burnout

            i. Red flags

            ii. ED work as additional layers of complication      

            iii. Video excerpt for discussion

3. Practicing Self-Care

  1. Self-care models
  2. Creating personalized self-care plan
  3. ED work as creating additional layers for self-care plans
  4. Experiential exercise for practicing self-care and resilience

Supporting recovery from an ED requires constant attention to and balancing of the ebb and flow of progress.  Standing on the shore, we may gather information from tides of new theories and techniques; however, like any good surfer knows, we also need to enter directly into the waves to engage in the psychological surfing which brings about ultimate satisfaction and achievement.  The process can be unsteady, scary and frustrating but proper centering, attention to certain techniques and respect for gravitational pull can bring about success.

Drawing from key concepts of crisis intervention and trauma recovery fields, as well as client feedback and therapy effectiveness data, this workshop will apply concepts of resilience to ED treatment.  A 7-step model (using the acronym S-U-R-F-I-N-G) will be presented for building resilience in clients.  Practitioners will be equipped with specific strategies for empowering clients to tap into their own resiliency as it relates to eating and body issues in particular, including the development of increased optimism, the taking of decisive action towards change, and the reframing of crises as opportunity for posttraumatic growth.  There will also be focus on ways in which therapists too can tap into their own resiliency as they engage in the complex and emotionally challenging ED work. 

Instructional methods will include didactic information about current available research, including results of the presenter’s informal survey with clients on the connection between ED recovery and resiliency.  We will also utilize video excerpts and experiential exercises for further reinforcement of concepts and additional opportunity for participant discussion and involvement.

Primary Presenter:
Sandra Wartski, PsyD

Sandra Wartski, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who is in a group private practice in Raleigh, NC and specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, affective disorders, and crisis work. She is passionate about ED Prevention and advocacy, speaking frequently on this topic in her community. Dr. Wartski has published articles in the field of Eating Disorders and completed her dissertation on eating disorders but also enjoys writing about general psychotherapy and treatment issues as well. She has served as the NC Disaster Response Network Coordinator for over 15 years and is now President-Elect of the NC Psychological Association.

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