Background: This experiential workshop explores those unique transcendent moments in the treatment of eating disordered clients, the life changing “Ta Das” experienced by both client and clinician. Although we cannot insert transcendence into a treatment plan, clinicians can learn how to create situations that deliver “pregnant possibilities” and biopsychospiritual transformation.
1. Overview of workshop
2. Key cornerstones fostering transcendence:
- Self awareness, mindfulness, and spiritual mindedness
- Attunement with “the heart”
- Risk taking
- Our role as “stage hands” and servants to facilitate a connection between clients and their sources of healing
3. Listening to our hearts: What ? Why? How ?
- What: discussion of neuroscience of the heart, intuition, and life guiding messages
- Why: Stories and examples of “not listening” and “listening”
- How: Fostering connection to the heart through reflection, writing, imagery, discussion
- The parallel process of clinician and client learning to listen to their hearts
4. Creating a sound, safe, and active therapeutic relationship:
- The relational model
- The importance of self care including honoring self, nonjudgment, and compassion
- Fostering our own “presence” and a higher level of “truly listening”
- Walking the talk: Integrity, Example, Modeling
- Managing boundaries: Within ethical guidelines but without a guideline of fear
- Fearless and significant “engagement”
- Case discussion of pivotal moments and clinical decisions
5. Stacking the Deck
- Which clinician beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and practices, in session, decrease the possibility that transcendent experience will occur; AKA, “What not to do”?
- What increases potential for transcendent experiences to occur ?
- How experiential interventions and methods “stack the deck” in favor of transcendent experiences for the client
- The notion of “willingness,” and how experiential intervention requires specific ways of “being willing,” which parallel “ways of willingness,” important to transcendence
- Small group discussions leading to whole group discussion
6. Rituals for readiness:
- Assess the clients’ personal beliefs about change, transcendence, and spiritual experience
- Understand how these experiences have looked, felt, and functioned in the past
- Understand the clients’ view of potential for these experiences to occur in the present
- Be conscious: Understand how our beliefs impact our work
- How clinicians and clients can best prepare for sessions to increase the potential for therapeutic transcendence: Planning, forethought, time, effort, ritual
7. Group sharing of transcendent experiences
8. Experiential activities with the participants
This training expands last year’s presentation in both breadth and depth, providing an intensive exploration of those core elements which invite transcendence in the treatment of eating disorders. This experiential workshop elucidates those unique moments, the “Ta Das” experienced by both client and clinician, when a patient shifts before our eyes and hearts to a stance of openness, motivation, and willingness to take risks to change. These intimate and deeply spiritual experiences are difficult to verbalize and cannot be found in treatment manuals or textbooks. Presenters and participants will discuss how significant, life altering change happens and what clinicians can do to invite, nurture, and contain these “pregnant possibilities.”
We will explore transcendence and related phenomenon such as spiritual experience, recovery moments, insight catalysts, genuine relationships, life altering connections, processes of internal and external change, and the changing of the heart. Both clinician and client need to have the self-awareness, breathing room, and safety environment necessary to recognize these moments, as well as the confidence and trust to take risks and proceed. Clinicians’ self-care and artful management of boundaries allow us to project and protect our “best self” to, and with, our clients.
We will examine research in neuroscience now confirming that the heart functions like a second brain, processing experiences involving knowing, stance, choice, and decision, while sending information to higher cortical centers of the cranial brain. We will adapt this research to the clinical arena, blending nonverbal, right brain, experiential modes of treatment with the relational model to help us to listen to and follow the heart, critical for both clinician and client. Didactic content, discussions, small group exercises, role play, demonstrations, and reflective and experiential exercises will provide participants with “real time” opportunities to not only understand, but to capture the essence of this powerful process.
Although we cannot insert transcendence into a treatment plan or a therapy session, clinicians can help to create situations which foster it. We will discuss and demonstrate the “principles” and “preparations” which both clinicians and clients can embrace to invite, create, and nurture the potential for transcendent experience.
Co-founder of Maine & Weinstein Specialty Group and an expert in eating disorders, Dr. Maine is author of: Treatment of Eating Disorders: Bridging the Research- Practice Gap with McGilley & Bunnell; Effective Clinical Practice in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, with Davis & Shure; The Body Myth with Kelly; Father Hunger; and Body Wars. She is: senior editor of Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention; vice president of the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, and Action; Founding Member and Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders; and a Founder of the National Eating Disorders Association.
Michael Berrett, PhD, is the cofounder, corporate president and co-clinical director of Center for Change, a treatment program in Salt Lake City dedicated to eating disorders. He has published extensively on spirituality, including the seminal book, Spiritual Approaches in the Treatment of Women with Eating Disorders, with colleagues P. Scott Richards and Randy K Hardman.
, Beth McGilley, PhD, FAED
Beth Hartman McGilley PhD, FAED, is a psychologist in private practice in Wichita, Kansas, specializing in the treatment of eating and related disorders, body image, athletes and sports performance, trauma, and grief. A Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders, Dr. McGilley has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years in addition to writing, lecturing, supervising, and directing an inpatient eating-disorders program. She is an editor for Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, and co-editor of Treatment of Eating Disorders: Bridging the Research-Practice Gap with Margo Maine and Doug Bunnell.
and Adrienne Ressler, LMSW, CEDS
Adrienne Ressler, an eating disorders and body image specialist, serves as National Training Director for The Renfrew Center Foundation and immediate past-president/Fellow of iaedp. She has extensive training in gestalt therapy, psychodrama, bio-energetic analysis and Alexander Technique. Published in The International Journal of Fertility and Women’s Medicine and Social Work Today, she has contributed the chapters BodyMind Treatment in Effective Clinical Practice in Treatment of EDs, Holistic Interventions to Heal the Shattered Self in Bridging the Research/Practice Gap and Experiential and Somatopsychic Approaches to Body Image Change in the first Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance.