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Castlewood: Residential Eating Disorder treatment center for anorexia nervosa, compulsive binge eating & bulimia nervosa treatment; St. Louis, Missouri.
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Treatment of Process Addictions: Sex, Food, Co-dependency, and Other Forms of Self-Injury
St. Louis Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA), October 2009
Mark Schwartz, Sc.D. Castlewood Treatment Center for Eating Disorders800 Holland Road636-386-6611www.castlewoodtc.com
Recovery is not just the absence of symptoms…it is the presence of a full life as evidenced by the ability to be human. A truly recovered life will reflect spontaneity, freedom, the ability to breathe, to have wants, needs and desires, knowing that the quest for perfection is an unattainable illusion. Having the ability to embrace the feminine, having close intimate relationships, and it is being aware of the tears in your eyes (whether out of intense or subtle sadness – or out of the joy – or from a flicker of utter gratefulness) and then to allow your tears to flow freely. It is a life in which decisions and choices are made more from self and less from a shame and fear based prison. It is a life where you fully experience pleasure, joy, and passion and believe and know it is good to desire and enjoy sex…
On March 9th, 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice released results of a new study which showed that if our present rates of incarceration continue, one out of every twenty babies born in the U.S. today will spend some part of their adult lives in State or Federal prisons.
California, for example, is now spending more on its criminal justice system than on higher education. Though we have been greatly concerned about the government spending on the U.S. Health Care system, which many deem to be in crisis, we have not noticed that the cost of the criminal justice system is three times the cost of the nation’s entire health care budget.
If the current rate continues, according to the New York Times, the number of people incarcerated will soon overtake the number of people attending colleges and universities in our country. Already, one in three African-American men in our country are under the supervision of the criminal justice system.
If there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But, the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being, and who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
To think about my father raping me and his sweat dripping on my small body only begins to turn me to stone. While all this happened, I was stone; I was dead; I was gone, yes, gone far beyond imagination. Far into a world where I walked around like a ghost. I was in this world where life passed me by. I only hoped to come out – and come out alive. But, as it seems, I am alive, and I did come out alive. But my question is, am I alive, am I living? I feel like I’m not. But the truth is, I live on other people, I live – depending on other people to see me to the end. Now, where does that leave me? The cutting makes me real; it helps me fulfill the need for pain. Because without pain, I don’t think I would think I was real.”
“Compulsions serve as clues to the deeper stories of our lives, and individual’s history of emotional woundedness.”
A compulsion covers up an interior emptiness. It indicates the presence of a control mechanism – a way of escaping something that is ultimately unescapable and unavoidable.
Compulsions represent attempts to compensate for low self-esteem and powerlessness.
Nevertheless, the need to repeat also has a positive side. Repetition is the language used by a child who has remained dumb, his only means of expressing himself. A dumb child needs a particularly empathic partner if he is to be understood at all. Speech, on the other hand, is often used less to express genuine feelings and thoughts that to hide, veil or deny them and, thus, to express the false self. And so, there often are long periods in our work with our patients during which we are dependent on their compulsion to repeat - for this repetition is then the only manifestation of their true self.
- Alice Miller
Richard Gordon, 2000
The number of people in the United States who use the World Wide Web is estimated at 158.3 million, averaging six accesses per week, six sites per visit, and spending an average of three hours and 22 minutes per week online (Nielsen-Net Ratings, 2001). This translates into over half of all American households and reflects a trend that grew by 58% over a 20-month period (Department of Commerce, 2000). The amount of information and opportunities is overwhelming, with an estimated one billion unique web pages available in January, 2000 (Inktomi, 2000).
It puts you in control, binds your anxiety, makes you invincible and allows you to serve only one master.
Where part got the idea that it had to coerce and shame her into dieting, working, being nice – usually a parent monitoring and scorning – part like a single parent – those are inner censors and tyrants that control us, keep our noses to the grindstone and do not risk any behavior that brings us the slightest embarrassment.
Feeling of exposure inherent to the experience that can accompany extreme amount of utter worthlessness. Feeling exposed results in the individual critically scrutinizing the minutest detail, heightening the awareness of being looked at and seen. The feeling of exposure can produce rage.
Parents who are intensively over-involved with their infant cause the child to develop a false self based upon compliance. Care-giver doesn’t validate the child’s developing self, thus leading to alienation from the core self. Parenting practices that constitute lack of attunement to the child’s needs, empathetic failure, lack of validation, threats of harm or coercion and enforced compliance, all cause the true self to go underground.
INTER-PSYCHIC INTIMACY(between the couple)vs.INTRA-PSYCHIC INTIMACY(within the individual)
The difficulties encountered during the complex process of social adjustment, poor flexibility and resilience in facing life’s painful events, the possibility of building a sense of self that is coherent and integrated, of producing a fluid and coherent narration, ultimately psychopathological suffering itself, seem to point to the attachment pattern as an important aetiopathogenic factor.
Metacognition means treatment of one’s mental contents as “objects” on which to reflect, or in other words “thinking about one’s thinking.” Distinct skills contribute to its characterization, such as the ability to reflect on one’s mental states, elaborating a theory of the other’s mind, decentralizing, and the sense of mastery and personal efficacy.
This occurs when the Self of the client is able to witness the stories of parts from a compassionate position. Ask the client to identify an activated part (usually associated with extreme behaviors, thoughts, or feelings). Ask the client where in the body the part (position of Self) indicates that another part is blended with the Self. Ask the blended part to please step aside and let the Self work with the activated part (this may include asking more than one part to step aside).
Please write at least one page on what it means to you that you were raped. Please consider the effects the rape has had on your beliefs about yourself, your beliefs about others, and your beliefs about the world. Also consider the following topics while writing your answer: safety, trust, power and competence, esteem, and intimacy. Bring this with you to the next session.
Start over and write the whole incident again at least one more time. If you were unable to complete the assignment the first time, please write more than last time. Often, the first version reads like a police report with nothing but facts. Add more sensory details as well as your thoughts and feelings during the incident. Also, this time, write your current thoughts and feelings in parentheses (i.e., “I’m feeling very angry”). Remember to read over the new account at least once before the session. If there was a second incident, please begin writing about that event.
Please choose two of your stuck points and answer the questions on the Challenging Questions Sheet with regards to each of these stuck points. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper so that you can keep the list of questions for future reference.