23 04, 2016

Finding the Right Eating Disorder Therapist in Arizona

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

“One of the most difficult challenges in approaching eating disorders is understanding what is actually happening in the minds of these sufferers. Our understanding must begin with an appreciation of the complexities of our normal relationship with food. From this starting point, we can begin to unravel the interwoven psychological and physical abnormalities that define these eating disorders.”

~ Drs. Jim Kirkpatrick, M.D., and Paul Caldwell, M.D., CCFP(C), Eating Disorders: Everything You Need to Know

If you live in Arizona, it is entirely possible that someone you know and care about is struggling with an eating disorder. Even when they agree to get help, there are so many so-called “experts” in the state that finding the right eating disorders therapist can be difficult.

How Serious Is the Arizona Eating Disorder Problem?

According to a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Arizona ranks #2 for teenagers who have attempted to control their weight by “purging”, with an incidence rate that is twice the US average.

Those statistics mirror the pervasive scale of the complete problem in Arizona –

  • One out of every five teenage girls in Arizona ages 13 to 18 and one out of every 10 teenage boys intentionally starve themselves daily to maintain or lose weight.
  • One out of every five female adolescents in Arizona will refuse to eat on any given day because they feel “too fat”.
  • Nearly a third of teen boys in Arizona are dieting at any given time, and 10% of those intentionally starve themselves daily.
  • One out of every 10 under age Arizonans either use laxatives or make themselves vomit so they won’t gain any weight.

 By any measure, it is easy to see that there is a need for the therapy and counseling that come along with recovery from such disordered eating. But because the spectrum of eating disorders is so wide and can manifest in so many different ways– binging, purging, laxatives, starving, bulimia, anorexia – finding exactly the right sort of help can seem daunting.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist in AZ Will Have the Proper Level of Education

Because of the seriousness of this disorder, you first want to look for help from a professional with the proper level of education– ideally, someone with a Master’s Degree or above, preferably in psychology, mental health counseling, or a related discipline.

The Right Arizona Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have Specialized Training

Not every “counselor” is necessarily adept at treating individuals suffering from disordered eating. It takes extensive education and specialized training to understand the nuances of treating the various illnesses on the eating disorder spectrum.

The best eating disorder therapist should have completed post-graduate work that included addiction issues with a focus on aspects particular to the treatment of eating disorders.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have the Proper Certifications and Licenses in Arizona

To make sure that your therapist has met established professional standards, you will want to look at their certifications and licensing.

Desirable certifications and licenses include:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • National Certified Counselor
  • Certified Addiction Specialist
  • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist in Mental Health (CEDS)
  • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Nutrition (CEDSN)

The Right Eating Disorders Therapist Can Tailor Treatment to the Individual

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to mental health that will work for 100% of patients 100% of the time. Every person has their own unique needs, and the best therapists are adept at utilizing multiple treatment strategies.

The Right AZ Eating Disorder Therapist Will Offer Trauma Therapy

Although eating disorders are not definitively caused by bad life experiences, traumatic incidents and one’s life can contribute to dysfunctional behaviors and interfere with healing. The best therapists will help you deal with past traumas so you can recover faster.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have Extensive Experience with Disordered Eating

This illness is about more than just symptoms – is about people and personalities. Your therapist needs to have a proven track record of helping people just like you.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Work with Other Services

At its worst, disordered eating can be life-threatening. The best therapists will work closely with other medical professionals to ensure that your total health and well-being is protected.

If you live in Arizona and you or someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, contact Empowerment Treatment & Counseling today. Located conveniently in Glendale, they have the RIGHT professionals to help you, whether you live in the Phoenix area or anywhere else in the state.

23 04, 2016

Finding the Right Trauma Treatment in Arizona

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

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.



22 03, 2016

The Starvation Study

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

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.”