Finding the Right Trauma Treatment in Arizona

We need to slowly make our way to the heart of our wounds, develop an embodied and experiential consciousness of how they play out in our lives, and find new and healthier ways to relate to them. We cannot do this alone.”

Dr. Daniela F. Sieff, PhD, Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma: Conversations with Pioneering Clinicians and Researchers

Emotional trauma—and the scars it can leave—is one of the most common causal factors that can contribute to the development of disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and distorted body image.

According to data accumulated from 2013’s National Survey on Children’s Health, nearly half of all children in the US—almost 35 million children—have experienced at least one type of serious trauma that could negatively affect  their future mental or physical health as adults, and approximately one-third have experienced two or more.

Arizona Scores Poorly for Childhood Trauma Exposure

Arizona ranked in the worst group—states with a proportion of children with two or more traumatic experiences that was significantly higher than the US average.

What does this mean?

It means that there is a real need for trauma counseling and therapy in every part of Arizona—from large cities like Phoenix or Tucson, to suburbs like Glendale and Chandler, to rural areas across the state.

Advances in Trauma Therapy

Luckily, behavioral science has advanced considerably in the past few years, giving rise to several types of trauma therapy that can be tailored to the individual.

Dr. Terence M. Keane, PhD, a Boston University psychologist serving as Director of the Behavioral Science Division of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, said, “The advances made have been nothing short of outstanding…Having this many Evidence-Based Treatments allows therapists to use what they’re comfortable with from their own background and training, and at the same time to select treatments for use with patients with different characteristics.”

Here are some trauma treatments that have proven to be effective, according to the American Psychological Association:

  • Prolonged-Exposure Therapy—In a carefully-controlled and gradual manner, the therapist helps the patient in recalling memories of traumatic experiences, enabling the patient to regain control of their emotions about the past trauma.
  • Cognitive-Processing Therapy—The therapist helps the patient correct any mistaken beliefs they may hold as a result of the past trauma—that the event was “their fault”, they “let it happen”, they are no longer safe, etc.
  • Stress-Inoculation—Through counseling, the therapist teaches the patient several anxiety-reducing techniques, such as breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and positive self-affirmation.
  • Cognitive Restructuring—The therapist helps the patient how to work past distorted or dysfunctional thinking such as blaming, labeling, overgeneralization, minimizing/maximizing, or “all-or-nothing” thoughts.
  • EMDR, or Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing—The patient is guided by the therapist through this adaptive coping mechanism, and over the course of several sessions, the goal is to weaken the effect of negative emotions.

During a typical therapy session, the patient will be asked to recall a past trauma, while simultaneously engaging in lateral eye movements corresponding to the therapist’s finger movements, rhythmic tapping, or musical tones.

Over time, the thoughts are shifted from negative past traumas to more positive experiences, which are then associated with the movements. The patient can then learn to cope by initiating the physical movement whenever needed.

  • Medication Therapy—There are several medications that are useful in trauma treatment, specifically for treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, and nightmares. Typically-prescribed drugs include Zoloft, Paxil, and Prazosin.

The takeaway is this—if you live in Arizona and need counseling or some other therapy for trauma, there IS help and hope available to you. Recovery from past trauma is uniquely personal, and so must be your treatment strategy. If you need help, the trained professionals at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling will work with you to help restore your peace of mind.



2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 April 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

The Starvation Study

The Starvation Study:

Please Read Full Article Above as our article will discuss it.

The Starvation Study of 1944


Though this study was completed in 1944, its findings are still as poignant now as they were then. In modern society many men and women find themselves constantly concerned with “dieting” or restricting food, which is why this study is as salient as ever. The practice of restricting food hinders our lives and bodies in several significant ways. The Starvation Study article points out that the test subjects were observed to have obsessive behaviors, loss of sexual appetite, and dull moods as side-effects of the 1600 calorie a day diet they were put on. While this small amount of calories may have been associated with starvation in the past, it is worth noting that some modern diets prescribe even fewer calories for daily consumption. Even scarier were the behaviors observed once the rationed diet phase was over. Some participants began binge eating dangerously and many reported never feeling “normal” about food again.

Are We a Part of the Ongoing Starvation Study?

This is a current issue because men and women are still starving themselves to achieve what they think is the “right” body type or shape. And the trade off? Quality of life suffers.

Think of the happiness and freedom that a truly healthy lifestyle can bring about. Not from dieting or weight loss, but rather intuitively eating nutritious foods that feed your mind and body and even eating some foods just for fun. Don’t you love the amazing mood boost that comes from moving your body in an enjoyable way instead of just exercising to burn calories? It begs the question, is The Starvation Study, still going on today willingly for many people? We think so. We think it’s time that we all speak out against a diet industry that doesn’t work and in fact, brings about poorer mental health.

One Final Thought

“Perhaps the most chilling correlation: the postponement of living. How often do we put off something until we’ve lost the weight? That familiar inertia is obvious. But what this study indicates is that it might not simply be our desire to wait for a thinner body to start dating, take that trip, or pursue a career goal. It may also be the hunger itself keeping us at home, alone and waiting.”


2016-04-15T21:41:05+00:00 March 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

How to Use the Body Positive Idea To Facilitate Your Recovery

There’s a new movement occurring across the nation, including in Phoenix Arizona, that may affect you. It’s one that has been suppressed for many years. Luckily, some brave souls have stepped out of the mold to bring a new aspect of healing to light.

It’s called body positivity, and basically, you’re given permission to love your body no matter what size you are.

Being Shamed, Shunned and Neglected in Phoenix Doesn’t Have to Happen Anymore

For many years, those that were overweight or obese have been shamed to the point where they can hardly stand to look in the mirror. What they see in their reflection is someone that is unhealthy, someone that looks ugly, and someone who is not worthy of receiving good things in life.

Health practitioners have been supporting this bad idea for decades, blaming overweightness and obesity for a number of health disorders that affect the nation. The list of disorders includes diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic ovaries, high cholesterol, joint problems, back problems and even stomach disorders. Their reasoning is that studies prove that being obese is connected to being unhealthy.

Many health practitioners in Phoenix Arizona and elsewhere even go to extremes, attempting to address a patient’s overweight condition when the patient did not come in for weight loss.

Consequently, the patient ends up being hit with overwhelming feelings of frustration and depression, which plug into his or her neurological pathways contributing to eating disorders, yoyo dieting, self-loathing. What this means is that the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings is ‘fed’ by the establishment.

The Media is Part of the ‘Collusion’, Thus Contributing to Eating Disorders

Of course, the media is constantly programming us all to be thin and beautiful and to fall for the myth that only those who meet these requirements are entitled to everlasting happiness.

What about you? Have you noticed negative ramifications from this type of ‘attack’?

What would happen if you suddenly changed your whole paradigm and simply started loving yourself, no matter what the number is on your scale? This is the whole idea behind the Body Positive Movement that fosters total body acceptance.

And it’s catching on. Women in Phoenix Arizona and other major cities in the U.S. are realizing that they really can feel OKAY with their body – and this does them some good.

Body Positivity Now Has Research Behind It

One researcher, Harriet Brown, has even documented how science, history and culture drive the obsession with weight in her book.  The central theory behind it is called Health at Every Size or HAES. This idea is basically that you should forget about reaching a certain body size and go for what works for your body.

And it makes a lot of sense. In fact, it brings up the fact that modern medicine really likes to treat everyone the same way – and ignores individuality. Insurance companies are geared towards physicians only treating patients one way, and doctors are chastised for thinking outside the box and/or going beyond medicine’s stymied view to really try to foster health transformation.

As a result, the alternative medicine movement has risen in power and social standing among patients of all ages.

There’s even a nonprofit association dedicated to the Body Positive movement, which may be found at The charity’s co-founder, Elizabeth Scott, is even offering an upcoming two-day training for health professionals on May 13-14, 2016 to initiate body positive campaigns across the nation via the community and in schools.

According to Ms. Scott, boosting body image is based on five core competencies:

  1. Reclaim health.
  2. Practice intuitive self-care.
  3. Cultivate self-love.
  4. Declare your own authentic beauty.
  5. Build community.

Results from an additional research study done at Stanford University on the whole model is expected to be released later this year.

So think about this body positive concept today. Why not give up society’s standards and move into a new time where what’s important is YOU?

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 March 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Why You Should Say NO to Dieting Forever

Look in any Phoenix newspaper or drive around and look at the signs in the windows of so-called “health food stores” you will see countless advertisements signs talking about “diets that work” or the next miracle that will help you lose weight.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, but if you suffer from some type of eating disorder, diets are not really the answer for you. The primary goal of most advertised diets is to get thinner, which is completely different from getting healthy. In fact, dieting for many of our clients, becomes a big hurdle to overcome when they tackle and heal from their eating disorders.

In her book, How to Love Your Body: and Have the Body You Love, actress and model Yana Gupta explained her personal battle with an eating disorder, saying, “So you can have a diet book that teaches you how to lose weight, but it will never be enough if you can’t look in the mirror and like yourself. That’s what my eating disorder taught me. How we eat, what we eat, and the way we look, it all happens in our head.”   *

In other words, if you have a deeply-ingrained negative self-image, no amount of dieting (or perceived control) is going to fix that.

How Do You Let Go of Dieting if You have an Eating Disorder?

If you know that diets don’t serve you, then perhaps it’s time to give them up forever. This may not be easy and for those with eating disorders. In fact, it may require some professional help and guidance. Once you realize that your size and shape are not the real issue, you can start looking for ways to get healthy that are not driven by the arbitrary dictates of a restrictive, ultimately futile diet. After all, don’t we all want to feel good and be happy? Here are some tips to get started on giving up dieting forever.

  • Concentrate on your HEALTH– Talk to a nutritionist or eating disorder professional and find out what “healthy” should be for you as an individual. We don’t believe that size or weight charts are truly indicative of health (in fact, you’ll find several studies that agree with us).  You may need to find a physician that will be able to recognize health at various sizes. Please be wary of folks that reference BMI and other commonly accepted forms of health measurement, as these tools are not always accurate.
  • Don’t Do it Alone–Get the help you need from professionals who specialize in treating someone with an eating disorder. Counseling, therapy, nutritional guidance, and ongoing support can help you set and meet your goals. It’s not easy to break dieting habits that you’ve used for most of your life. But in the end, these habits do not serve you.
  • Focus on Movement and Mobility–No matter what size you are, moving your body in an enjoyable way is an excellent way to get fit, have fun, and feel good about yourself. Movement is all that is required – no gym membership is necessary. Walking, swimming, dancing, and riding a bike are not usually thought of as “exercise”, but they will keep you energized and help you combat the depression and anxiety that often co-occur with an eating disorder. If you are moving for the “right” reasons, this can really contribute to your overall health and well-being. If you’re “exercising” for dieting reasons or if exercise is used as part of your disordered eating, this probably will not serve you well.

Quitting the dieting roller coaster may be more difficult than you know. Support is available. If you or someone you care about has an unhealthy relationship with food, get the help you need with Empowerment Therapy & Counseling, an outpatient recovery program specializing in the treatment of eating disorders in the Phoenix area.

Through intensive-yet-supportive, therapy, counseling, and nutritional support, the professionals at Empowerment Therapy & Counseling can help you regain your own sense of self-worth. Regardless of where you fall on the eating disorder spectrum, recovery is possible.

*Empowerment Treatment & Counseling does not endorse this book or it’s content.

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 February 26th, 2016|0 Comments

Four Tips to Love Yourself and Your Body

 There are thousands of people who suffer from some sort of eating disorder in the Phoenix area and elsewhere across the state of Arizona. In 2014, State Senator Katie Hobbs introduced a resolution to recognize National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, in order to call attention to the seriousness of this spectrum of illnesses.

Sen. Hobbs said, “Whether or not they are aware, most Arizonans know someone who has been affected by an eating disorder. The effects can be devastating to your health, and even deadly, but treatment does work.”

HELP Yourself LOVE Yourself During Recovery from an Eating Disorder

These types of serious health issues have very little to do with a person’s actual body size or shape, and nearly everything to do with a person’s self-image. Since National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2016 is concluding, here are some ways to have a positive body image and love yourself and the skin you are in.

  1. Focus on everything your body CAN do –Your body is a wonderful machine – letting you walk, run, dance, play, work, love, laugh, and a million other incredible things.
  2. Remember that you are MORE than your body– You are a whole person, and your real attractiveness comes from your intelligence, confidence, sense of humor, compassion, honesty, and all of the other little things that make you unique.
  3. You are worthy of compliments and praise– Write down a list of at least 10 things that you like about yourself, and refer to them often – even daily, if necessary. Get into the habit of looking in the mirror and giving yourself a compliment.
  4. Say NO to the haters–Don’t let yourself be defined by society’s or someone else’s opinion. When you can disregard the judgments of others, it is easier to develop a happy and healthy sense of self.

If you live in the Phoenix area and think you need help for any type of eating disorder, the trained and empathetic professionals at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling are here for you.

Specializing in the treatment of eating disorders in the state of Arizona, Empowerment Treatment & Counseling offers the counseling, therapy, guidance, and support you need to learn how to love yourself at any size or shape.


2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 February 26th, 2016|0 Comments

 The Process of Healing from an Eating Disorder

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is concluding, and there have been several observances happening here in Phoenix in recognition.  Hopefully, this is one of the reasons why you’re looking into getting help for you or someone you care about.

But if you’re like most people, you are not exactly sure what “getting help” involves. Recovery and healing from an eating disorder involves several steps –

  • The Intake: Determining the type and severity of your eating disorder – This is where you speak with a specialist and your current circumstances are evaluated. Knowing your starting point is essential for a successful journey of recovery. Based upon this information your individualized treatment plan will be created.
  • Treatment and help for any immediate health concerns attributable to your eating disorder – Eating disorders can be hazardous to your health – even fatal. Medical personnel will evaluate your current health status and make sure that you are physically safe and healthy before counseling or therapy begins.
  • Education about different types of help for specific eating disorders– group therapy versus individual counseling–Knowledge is the greatest weapon you have your battle against this illness, so you will be educated about why you might be feeling and acting the way you are.

Group therapy will allow you to draw strength and inspiration from others facing your same issues, and then individual counseling will focus upon your specific situation.

  • Addressing any co-occurring disorders– Eating disorders are often caused by – and can cause – other medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder. For a successful recovery, any conditions that are present must also be treated at the same time.
  • Ongoing aftercare – After you “graduate” from your recovery program, whether residential or outpatient, it will still be necessary to receive periodic “adjustments” to your state of well-being. This can be done with regularly-scheduled professional counseling, ideally with the same program that helped you during early recovery.

More About the Process of Eating Disorder Treatment in Arizona

Everyone’s personal journey of recovery from an eating disorder will be, by nature, unique unto them.  What is most important is that you find a program and a team of specialists that you feel comfortable with, so you can start regaining your physical and emotional health TODAY.

The perfect time to recover from an eating disorder is always RIGHT NOW. If you or someone you love are battling with a negative body image that is creating and unhealthy relationship with food, contact the experienced, caring professionals at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling.

Empowerment Treatment & Counseling has the resources to give you the support you need today and the life skills you need tomorrow. If you live in the Phoenix area, contact us today, so we can help you regain control and restore health to your life.



2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 February 26th, 2016|0 Comments

Boundaries & Codependency Workshop: April 9, 2016

Do you have trouble saying no? Do you put others before yourself? Do you struggle standing up for yourself? If so, come join us for a half-day workshop and educational session on how to address codependency and learn healthy boundaries.

Drawing The Line In The Sand

How to set boundaries and manage codependency

April 9th, 2016  9am-12:30pm

$105 per person. Bring a friend and pay just $95 each.

Snacks Provided

Anyone Is Welcome To Attend

Empowerment Treatment & Counseling

Caryn Attianese, MA, NCC, LPC, CEDS and Cindy Elms, RDN

5940 W Union Hills Dr. D-200

Glendale, AZ 85308

Call 480-326-9421 or email by April 1st to reserve your spot: Space is limited

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 February 25th, 2016|0 Comments

The Severity of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are about much more than how much a person weighs or the self-image they have. Eating disorders can be the result of serious emotional or physical trauma that takes a team of qualified professionals to help patients work through to be healthy again. Eating disorders are the most deadly of all psychiatric disorders. Eating disorder counseling is available for both those suffering from these conditions and their family and loved ones.

The Severity of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages. To understand the severity of eating disorders, it is helpful to first know what kind of eating disorders exist.

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, living in Arizona and every state throughout the country. To understand the severity of eating disorders, it is helpful to first know what kind of eating disorders exist.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is perhaps the best known eating disorder, but few people understand how devastating it can be. Anorexia is characterized by having a very low body weight and a distorted image of body weight. People with this eating disorder typically restrict their calorie intake so that they eat very little and lose a dramatic amount of weight. People with this eating disorder may also exercise excessively and abuse diet pills, enemas or laxatives.

The physical effects of anorexia nervosa can include a slow heart rate, low blood pressure, fainting, fatigue, hair loss, and osteoporosis. Those who suffer from this eating disorder are also at an increased risk for heart failure. Left untreated by a qualified eating disorder counselor and other health professionals, anorexia nervosa can easily cost a person their life.

Bulimia Nervosa

Like anorexia, those suffering from bulimia nervosa have a distorted body image. Those suffering from this eating disorder may secretly eat very large quantities of food in one sitting and then try to purge themselves of those calories by forcing vomiting. Others may force vomiting after each meal or even small snacks. Those suffering from bulimia may also misuse laxatives, diuretics, enemas and diet pills.

The health effects of bulimia can include an electrolyte imbalance that can lead to other health problems, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, tooth decay, peptic ulcer and pancreatitis.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating is the third distinct eating disorder, and like bulimia nervosa, it involves bingeing, but does not typically involve purging afterward. Those with binge eating disorder feel an uncontrollable urge to eat large quantities of food in a very short period of time. These binging episodes may be followed by periods of intense guilt and shame.

Some of the health consequences of binge eating disorder can include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, elevated triglyceride levels, Type II diabetes mellitus, and gallbladder disease.

Eating disorder counseling services by Empowerment

Besides the severe damage that eating disorders can do to a person’s physical health, they also have a long-lasting impact on mental health. Those with eating disorders get caught up in a cycle of shame and distorted body image that can be hard to break. Many become isolated as a result, which can further feed their self-hatred. Obsessive tendencies also become part of an eating disorder, including rituals around eating food or exercising. Soon, the eating disorder may become the primary focus, taking over every aspect of the person’s life.

Relationships with friends, family and loved ones suffer as the person suffering from the eating disorder becomes unable to participate in healthy expressions of love or friendship.

It is essential that those suffering from an eating disorder get the help they need as soon as possible, before the disorder has a chance to inflict further physical and emotional harm. Empowerment Treatment and Counseling provides services for people suffering from all types of eating disorders, as well as their family and loved ones. We offer treatment and counseling to help those suffering eating disorders to heal. Our eating disorder counseling aims to uncover the emotional wounds that are behind the disorders in order to heal them. Every dietitian and counselor on our team has extensive training and experience in helping people overcome eating disorders. Contact us in Arizona today to learn more about our eating disorder counseling and how you or a loved one can be freed from the life-threatening grip of these serious conditions.

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Empowerment Treatment & Counseling
5490 W Union Hills Dr. Building D Suite 200
Glendale, AZ 85308

Phone: 480-326-9421

Phone: 928-231-9412

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 June 30th, 2015|0 Comments

Caryn & Cindy Invited to Speak at BEDA!

Our counselors invited to speak at Binge Eating Disorder Association Annual Conference

Caryn Attianese and Cindy Elms from Empowerment Treatment and Counseling Center for Wellness have been formally invited to speak at the Annual BEDA 2015 Conference, where they will share their personal experience and professional knowledge on eating disorders with individuals from around the United States. The conference will take place in early November in Hollywood, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale.

The Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) is focused on providing awareness and education, diagnosis and prevention, and treatment options for BED. Binge Eating Disorder affects people of all ages around the nation, and it is the most common type of eating disorder. Not only does BEDA offer clinical knowledge and treatment to individuals struggling with BED, but for almost 10 years, BEDA has promoted healthy body image and lifestyles with a framework of support, community, and clinical insight from highly-reputable professionals around the United States.

BEDA 2015 National Annual Conference Speaker Choice in Glendale, Arizona

At this annual #BEDA2015 conference, visitors, members, and speakers are invited to reserve a room at the luxurious Hilton Diplomat Resort & Spa. The Binge Eating Disorder Association is also hosting their first annual Scholarship Fundraiser to financially support new and returning members!

Check out the Binge Eating Disorder Association website to learn more about speakers at BEDA, available resources, and for more information about the Annual BEDA Conference registration. You may also contact our supportive Arizona counselors to speak about diagnosis and treatment of BED.

Empowerment Training & Counseling
5490 W Union Hills Dr, Building D Suite 200
Glendale, AZ 85308
Caryn: 480-326-9421
Cindy: 928-231-9412

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 May 29th, 2015|0 Comments