At the White Picket Fence Counseling Center we offer informational sessions for the friends and families of people with eating disorders. We teach them about what's helpful to say – and not to say – to their loved one who is in recovery. As much experience as I've had myself in working with clients with these struggles, I know that it's reassuring if I can also provide resources from organizations and agencies.
Sometimes other people can just say things better.
If you're someone who tends towards negative, self-harmful thinking, you can practice using other people's words until they become more natural to you. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Word-a-Day – Create a pile of cards or pieces of paper that each contains one positive word or principle, e.g., commitment, acceptance, freedom, comfort, adaptability, abundance, progress, harmony, detachment, non-attachment or security. Each morning, choose a word and strive to weave it into your thoughts, words and actions for the rest of the day. If that seems too long, try it just for an hour. I use this with my clients, and sometimes we'll just try it until the end of the session.
- Meditation books – There are meditation books based on topics, methods of recovery, types of goals and more. Find one that inspires you and read it every morning or whenever you think of it throughout the day. Take a moment to write one line in your journal about how you personally interpret the reading. Or just write down your favorite word or phrase from the reading.
- Professional help – One of my most important roles as a therapist is to help people reframe their language as a way of reframing how they see themselves and their situation. For example, you may find it a relief to see your sadness as grief rather than depression. This kind of help can be very valuable and can help you take more initiative for choosing your own experience of life.
We have many resources that can help you continue this work. Please contact us for more ideas and recommendations.