Friday, November 5, 2010

Inviting Others Into Recovery

One of the most challenging aspects of recovery is that often clients feel very isolated and alone in their journey. The many everyday challenges that may seem effortless to others become a great source of anxiety. A dinner party, a holiday celebration, or an afternoon of shopping are no longer anticipated with a sense of excitement in connecting and enjoying others. These situations become events that end up being filled with anxiety and worry as there are so many possible triggers and moments of being uncomfortable. What will they be serving at the dinner? Will others notice if I am not eating? Will my friends ask what size I am? The everyday activities that one used to look forward to and enjoy are now racked with worry and uncertainties that seem too much to bear.

I often encourage clients to open up with their friends and families in sharing what they are needing in these situations to feel supported. I often hear that they worry about being judged, feeling foolish or simply not being understood. While often we can feel supported by those not struggling with an eating disorder there is a great gift of having the support of another on the same journey.

Group therapy is an environment where clients can share with others who have thought the same thoughts, had similar feelings and can relate in a very personal way. There is a great sense of relief and comfort that comes from knowing that one isn’t alone and has others walking on the same path of recovery. Perhaps another client a few steps further that can offer what has worked for them in a particular challenge. Maybe another that is struggling in ways that the client has already overcome offers a reminder of progress and a chance to support another.

While it may take some time to feel comfortable sharing in a group setting there is a great sense of understanding, compassion and company that truly supports the recovery process. This may be a place to share what others may not be willing to hear or are able to understand. It may be a place to get a sense of encouragement and hope in moving through the challenging times. Group therapy is yet another tool to consider in recovery and a real opportunity to have a sense of community, compassion and support through recovery. Consider joining the Monday evening Women’s Eating Disorder Therapy Group as another source of support in your recovery.

Jennifer Schurman, MA, LPC

Jen sees individuals, couples and families for therapy as well as leads the Monday evening Eating Disorder Therapy Group. She can be reached at (773) 929-6262 x 20 if you would like more information.