Our next HET in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote will be available from 21st of March 2018 to 9th of April 2018
“Life isn’t about finding yourself, Life is about creating yourself” George Bernard Shaw
Everybody needs a holiday. When you suffer from Eating Distress this can be a little more complicated. There is extra ‘luggage’ going with the person. From our work we can often see that many people in recovery from ED find holidays very challenging, and can have a setback after their return, and many family members come home disappointed.
A couple of years ago we started to organise Holiday Enhancement Therapy (HET). HET is an intensive programme, personally designed for each person’s needs, and to enhance their recovery stage. There are many benefits in providing an HET in Lanzarote. This programme can allow people to focus on recovery in an indirect manner, and in a way help people to forget therapy, but not to forget what has been learned about recovery. It creates opportunities for the person to get absorbed in the culture, and different lifestyles around them.
It can aid a person’s recovery, and help to provide or demonstrate real freedom of both body and mind. It helps people to open and use more their senses. The aim would be to highlight what living is, what beauty is around them, and most importantly within them, and encourage and promote their own independence to enjoy their holiday, to enjoy living. This in turn will allow them to use this learning, in their own environment, on their return home. The added bonus is that they can have the benefit and assurance of an Eating Distress Practitioner on hand to continue with recovery, challenge the condition, and to provide hope, and motivation. People can see, in a real situation, recovery in action, not just in theory, in a therapy room. The Eating Distress Practitioner leads by example and assists people to do it for themselves.
People in recovery and their family are learning to have a fun, communicate and enjoy themselves, without the ED interference.
From organising several of these trips, which some people and their families attended several times and founded it very helpful in their recovery process. Many attendees realised that instead of their ED condition, they brought home luggage full of powerful learning, which helped them to enjoy their recovery process more.
HET – How it can help to speed up Recovery?
From our experiences we learnt that HET could become an another successful tool in recovery from ED. Working on recovery away from familiar ‘condition friendly safe’ environments can be easier to challenge thoughts, as not as many anchors and associations with the condition can be as easily made in unfamiliar ground.
There are many benefits in HET. This program encourages people to open their senses. The aim would be to highlight what living is, what beauty is around them, and most importantly within them, and encourage and promote their own independence to enjoy their holiday, to enjoy living, and then use this learning in their own environment on return home. The added bonus is that they can have the benefit and assurance of a ED practitioner close by to continue with recovery, challenge the condition, provide hope, motivation, inspiration, lead by example, walk the talk, and help people to do it for themselves.
Why intensive work?
There is evidence, and as well basic common sense, that would suggest that the more you challenge something, the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. Take for example studying for an exam, the more you study the better the results you get, and with study its not about quantity, but about the quality of the study you do. Intensive programs are basically the same concept, and for many can be a critical form of intervention, and support for both client and family. For many it may be a necessary intervention tool at the beginning of therapy, when the condition as at its strongest, and the person has little awareness, hope or motivation for life. For some, intensive therapy is more beneficial for finalizing recovery, and this brings about the concept that recovery is individual, and needs to be tailored to what each person needs, and what works best for them.
Intensive therapy is not a quick fix, but a boost, a good start and an additional tool in a person’s recovery. Anything that offers hope has the potential to heal.
Intensive programs can help show to a person what recovery really is. That it is learning how to deal with life, and all its issues and problems, in a constructive way without turning to food or starvation. Learning to get a lot more out of life than the limitations of the condition.
Recovery is learning how to balance life with other things, like friendships, work, hobbies and interests. Recovery is learning to make better choices in ones life and finding out who the real self is. Intensity can help begin this process.
Having therapy sessions abroad can help people to discover the surrounding beauty, and this can then progress to discovering the beauty that lies within. The combination of the different environment, people and supervised assistance. The use of individual therapy, and support can be an extra intensive boost on the road to full recovery.
Using this setting could be the perfect opportunity to address some of the following:
- Nutritional Therapy
- Restoration of Positive Body Image
- Relearning to Sense Hunger & Fullness
- Expressive Therapy
- How can we relate more effectively?
This program can allow people to focus on recovery in an indirect manner, and in a way, help people to forget therapy, but not to forget what has been learned about recovery.
Creating opportunities for the person to get absorbed in the culture and different lifestyles around them.
HET programs are structured, and personally tailored according to the person’s specific needs. Every attendee will be provided with a personal ‘Recovery Workbook’, designed to their requirements.
From people who attended previous trips:
The Road To Freedom In Lanzarote
I am sitting here in the airport looking out at the sea, sun and palm trees, feeling a little sad that my adventures are over.
But really they’re not really over. They’re only just beginning.
Because I am coming home with a case full of wonderful memories and fantastic learnings. I now want to bring Lanzarote home and apply all of those learnings and free moments at home. However, I also want to be gentle with myself and give myself time to apply all my learnings.
I look up and see a palm tree. I am reminded of a learning: every time you see a palm tree, say 3 nice things about yourself. At home I think I’ll substitute palm trees for a different kind of tree!
When I look at the sun, it is impossible to think negative thoughts about myself and my body. Even though the sun sometimes goes behind the clouds, it doesn’t mean it isn’t still there. I am working hard to get many sunny moments for me.
Some of my learnings that are coming to mind are as follows:
My fears are a creation of my imagination. I am imagining things happening that will never happen. They are fabricated and false. They come from the same place as my dreams. Why not focus on my dreams instead? Recovery is all about refocusing and redirecting my thoughts. I am the master of my thoughts and I am also the master of my fears.
Recovery means valuing myself and my body, and that means being fussy bout how I treat it and what I put into it. The more recovered I am, the more fussy I will be about what I put into my body.
When faced with food choices, as I was every day on holidays more so than in my normal surroundings, always check in and ask the body what it wants. Eat with my body, not my mind. Don’t be a dictator by not giving my body a choice. Visualise how the different foods will make me feel. Then make my choice, Full stop. Focus on taste and give myself time. My body wants and needs regular nutrition, and the more I eat, the more my body needs. When eating, visualise the molecules of the food being turned into energy for my brain, to make new skin cells, to renew my bones etc. When condition thoughts and drama starts in my head; STOP. Just stop. Breathe. Stop breathing for a second. Hold my nose. Feel my feet on the ground. Ground myself.
Regarding gauging fullness: give my stomach a voice and a choice. If my stomach could talk right now, what would it say?
If I choose to think about something a certain way, I can unchoose it.
Always think about how I will feel tomorrow. What can I choose that will give me a nice time now and a nice time tomorrow?
I have a PhD in scaring myself. But there is always a solution.
Food is fuel for my Treasure Box. It’s a necessity. Enjoying it is a bonus.
People’s ignorance is an opportunity to build my strength.
Having a relationship with myself is the most important thing. The more I invest in me, the better the relationship with somebody I will have. Because I will always have me to turn to.
Don’t judge my feelings. They are just telling me something.
Never have regrets. See everything as a learning. When I am older, I will not regret anything that happened or that I did in my life. I will see them all as colourful chapters in my interesting life. And they were all opportunities to learn. Everything happens for a reason.
When the negative, body-bashing thoughts come, instead of trying to change them to positive thoughts about my body, think about something else instead; the clouds, the sun, the palm trees, count the leaves on a tree out loud. I need to be so kind and gentle to myself when I am feeling down, that means I need extra doses of kindness. Kindness to my body and kindness to my mind. Reassure myself. Do it aloud. Say my name.
Trust myself and what I’m learning. Trust the process of recovery and trust my body and trust Marie, Jacqueline and Andrea. Why not just do exactly what they tell me? I am paying them for advice, why not take it and do exactly what they say? It will get me to freedom sooner.
Photos and anchors are an important part of recovery. Use photos as anchors; anchors to remember key messages, that I can do it, and to remember free moments. That free moments are possible and are within my grasp at any time. It’s just a matter of changing my thoughts. I can feel free in every moment.
I have learned so much and had a wonderful week. I’m a bit tearful now that it’s over. But I have to remember, it has only just begun.
By Happy Days
“This week was a turning point in my recovery. I learnt so much about myself and about life. Being away in a different environment, with support ,really showed me how far I had come and how far I could go. I saw a taste of what life really was and I realized I wanted it and I wanted it badly. What I learnt in that week would have taken me months to learn”.
“On this trip, I felt free, grateful and alive. It’s worth it to all those who may be afraid to go. We all have the same fears, no one thing exclusive to you, each of us understands and helps each other to conquer our fears”.
“It helped my confidence in talking to people. It helped with my independence as it was the first time I was abroad without family”.
“I learned how to use my senses. It helped my body image. I learned to look at the beauty around me which helped me to stop living in my head all the time“
“It has been the most powerful week in my recovery, even though really emotional! It turned recovery into a special journey. I have been on several programmes abroad and each one I have benefited from immensely, and in ways I am continually learning about myself and about life, appreciating every day and how far I have come and having compassion for myself. In all areas of life intensity is beneficial because its only logical that the more you put into something the more you will get out of it, so why not use this philosophy for recovery. “
“I had so many fears before going to Lanzarote. My practitioner kept reminding me, FEAR – false evidence appearing real … But I wasn’t sure that I believed her. My fears did not feel false, they felt real. I even considered cancelling going. But I didn’t and am I glad I went. The big realizations I had was that my fears come from lack of self knowledge. Its like there was a whole part of me that was invisible and taking the risk of relating to other people, and working on my relationship with myself made it visible, and I am now actually excited to be me. I am curious what else I will learn about being me. I no longer fear the future! And I believe in full recovery and I know it is there for me too.”