5 04, 2017

Eating Disorder Recovery & Families

2017-03-31T18:26:52+00:00 April 5th, 2017|0 Comments

Individuals living with an eating disorder (ED) are not the only ones affected by their ED. The family of the affected individual can also suffer greatly while navigating their loved one’s illness. The often devastating effects of the illness can reverberate throughout a family and have a tremendous impact on the people who love the individual.

What can family members do to move through this time in healthy ways?

  • Get support for yourself – Find a therapist, practice self-care regularly, and do not blame yourself for your loved one’s eating disorder. Mindfulness and meditation may help you find calm moments each day, create space in your thoughts, and also keep you present in each moment.
  • In your mind, separate your loved one from his or her ED. Your loved one is not their eating disorder. They each have unique personalities and behaviors, and can be easily identified. This disconnection of the two allows space for love, compassion, hope and patience for your loved one and his/her recovery to be felt and shared, while also granting freedom for the intense, negative emotions that you feel toward the eating disorder.

Family members have an opportunity to play a unique and significant role in their loved one’s recovery. However, this can be daunting task, especially at the beginning.

What can family members do to best support their loved one in recovery?

  • Help your loved one find a treatment team that is experienced in eating disorders. This team should include, at minimum, a licensed counselor with eating disorder experience and registered dietitian. A medical doctor and possibly a psychiatrist may be helpful and/or necessary as well. Health professionals that are not properly trained in eating disorders can do more harm than good, even though they may have the best intentions. Interviewing the professional in advance can be a beneficial first step.
  • Educate yourself – There are many resources available to you such as the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), and quite a few good books you can use as resources (“Life Without Ed” by Jenni Schaefer is a great place to start). These can help you begin to understand what your loved one is going through with his or her eating disorder and how you can best support them. Attend any family support groups that your loved one’s treatment facility offers – these can be a huge asset, both as support for yourself and as education.

Above all else, hold tight onto HOPE. Don’t give up. There may be bad days. There may be horrific days. There will also be days full of life, light and goodness. Watch for them; be on the lookout. Note them in your gratitude journal.

Amanda Going has personally supported a loved one with an eating disorder and is the amazing Office Manager at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling Center.

If you or someone you know needs help, talk with your health care provider or give us a call!  We have a caring staff of seasoned therapists in our Phoenix/Glendale, Arizona offices who have experience in helping people heal from the past, find meaning and joy in the present, and embrace hope for the future.  (623) 810-1663

29 03, 2017

Bringing Mindfulness Into The Workplace

2017-03-29T14:47:40+00:00 March 29th, 2017|0 Comments

When we spend too much of our energy thinking about the past or the future, it’s easy to slip into mood patterns that get in the way of contentment and joy.  Too much worrying about what might happen in the future can create feelings of anxiety, and too much dwelling on the past can lead to feelings of depression. The practice of mindfulness is one of staying present in the moment by focusing on immediate sensory cues such as what we see, hear, taste, and feel right now.  The practice of mindfulness may also include exploring your currently state of mind by noticing what you are thinking and feeling emotionally, right now.  A practice of mindfulness is a powerful tool used by therapists in the fields of trauma and eating disorders (among other specialty focuses) to help individuals develop powerful insights and break free of the chains of anxiety and depression, and there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain!

Our team of competent, compassionate therapists in Glendale Arizona regularly help people learn to use a practice of mindfulness to overcome a variety of issues in their personal lives, but what about while at work?  Since many of us spend a considerable amount of time every week in a work environment, wouldn’t it make sense to bring mindfulness into the workplace?

Global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh says we can take to bring mindfulness to our work with powerful results!  Here are 15 things, taken from an article which originally appeared in The Huffington Post, you can do to bring mindfulness into your workplace:

  1. Start your day with 10 minutes of sitting in meditation.
  2. Take the time to sit down and enjoy eating breakfast at home.
  3. Remind yourself every day of your gratitude for being alive and having 24 brand-new hours to live.
  4. Try not to divide your time into “my time” and “work.” All time can be your own time if you stay in the present moment and keep in touch with what’s happening in your body and mind. There’s no reason why your time at work should be any less pleasant than your time anywhere else.
  5. Resist the urge to make calls on your cell phone while on your way to and from work, or on your way to appointments. Allow yourself this time to just be with yourself, with nature and with the world around you.
  6. Arrange or find a breathing area at work where you can go to calm down, stop and have a rest. Take regular breathing breaks to come back to your body and to bring your thoughts back to the present.
  7. At lunchtime, eat only your food and not your fears or worries. Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Change environments. Go for a walk.
  8. If you enjoy tea, make a ritual out of drinking it. Stop work and look deeply into your tea to “see” everything that went into making it: the clouds and the rain, the tea plantations and the workers harvesting the tea.
  9. Before going to a meeting, visualize someone very peaceful, mindful and skillful being with you, even if only imaginally. Take refuge in having this person “there with you” to help stay calm and peaceful.
  10. If you feel anger or irritation, refrain from saying or doing anything straight away. Come back to your breathing and follow your in- and out-breath until you’ve calmed down.
  11. Practice looking at your boss, your superiors, your colleagues or your subordinates as your allies and not as your enemies. Recognize that working collaboratively brings more satisfaction and joy than working alone. Know that the success and happiness of everyone is your own success.
  12. Express your gratitude and appreciation to your colleagues regularly for their positive qualities. This will transform the whole work environment, making it much more harmonious and pleasant for everyone.
  13. Try to relax and restore yourself before going home so you don’t bring accumulated negative energy or frustration home with you.
  14. Take some time to relax and come back to yourself when you get home before starting on household chores. Recognize that multitasking means you’re never fully present for any one thing. Do one thing at a time and give it your full attention.
  15. At the end of the day, keep a journal of all the good things that happened in your day. Water your seeds of joy and gratitude regularly so they can grow.

Kimberly Mahr is a licensed clinical therapist working in Phoenix, Arizona who specializes in working with people suffering from mood challenges, grief, relationship issues, eating disorders, trauma, and more.

If you or someone you know needs help, talk with your health care provider or give us a call!  We have a caring staff of seasoned therapists in our Phoenix/Glendale, Arizona offices who have experience in helping people heal from the past, find meaning and joy in the present, and embrace hope for the future.  (623) 810-1663


15 02, 2017

Explore The Connections Between Food, Body & Feelings

2017-03-13T13:37:06+00:00 February 15th, 2017|0 Comments


  • Do you find it hard to love your body?
  • Are you done with fad diets?
  • Do you think you “should” exercise, but you’re embarrassed to go to the gym?
  • Have you considered the relationship between food and feelings?
  • Do you eat certain foods to help you feel better?

Join our EMOTIONAL AND BINGE EATING PROCESS GROUP which begins March 29th and meets weekly on Wednesday nights from 6:00-7:30 in our Glendale, AZ office.

If you live or work in the greater metropolitan Phoenix area, please join us and connect with others who share your struggles, and begin to move towards healing and wellness. Topics covered will include nutrition, body image, movement and more!

Call our office for details: 623.810.1663.

26 05, 2016

My Journey of Healing from Trauma in AZ

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

Sometimes the past just won’t let you go.

I had finally broken free from an abusive marriage – I got a divorce, moved back to Arizona, and to all outward appearances, was moving on with my life.

I wish it was that simple.

I Was Stuck Because the Pain From My Trauma Would NOT Go Away

Even after almost a year of regaining my “freedom”, I still felt bogged down and burdened by so many uncontrollable negative feelings –

  • Shame –How had I ever let myself be treated like that?
  • Guilt –Had it all been MY fault?
  • Regret – I had wasted almost 4 years of my life.
  • Self-esteem – Had I DESERVED it?
  • Depression –Who could ever love me now? I was “damaged goods”.
  • Anxiety – I was afraid all the time.

Except for work, I almost never went anywhere or did anything. I was such a mess that my family started to worry about me. Finally, my sister said I should call a place that had helped a friend of hers.

Trauma Therapy in Phoenix Was NOT What I Expected

To be honest, I had ZERO idea of what trauma counseling would entail. Sure, I guessed that I was supposed to talk to someone about what was bothering me, but I wasn’t sure how they were supposed to help me.

I actually felt kind of silly and guilty seeking professional help just because I was unhappy after my divorce. Wasn’t that how I was SUPPOSED to feel?

When I met my therapist, she surprised me by NOT immediately prying into my past. Instead, she only seemed interested in how I was feeling right now and how I was dealing with those feelings – was I eating, was I sleeping, was I self-meditating with alcohol or drugs, etc.

She said that above all else, she wanted to make sure that I was safe.

That took me by happy surprise. It actually made me feel like my well-being was a priority to someone. I hadn’t felt that in a very long time.

I Found an Arizona Trauma Treatment Program That Worked for ME

Of course, we eventually got to my personal history and how it was still affecting my life. Over the next couple of sessions, my therapist assisted me in setting up step-by-step goals that would help me let go of the burden that I was carrying around.

Best of all, she knew several therapy techniques that each helped me in their own way, and which allowed me to progress at my own pace, with no added pressure.

  • I could tell MY story –I learned how to process each painful experience as something that had HAPPENED, instead of as something that was HAPPENING. My trauma was in the past and didn’t have to control my present or determine my future.
  • I could have REAL emotions–When I was married, I learned to keep everything bottled up, or else risk becoming an even greater target. I was taught that whenever I felt old feelings overwhelming me, it was all right to cathartically release that negative energy by crying or even yelling.
  • I could be MINDFUL of my own feelings– I learned that by having better awareness of my own physical and mental states, I could identify problematic feelings and take positive action before they got out of control.
  • I could allow myself to be HAPPY– I came to understand that I was not to blame for my traumatic experiences, and more importantly, that I was worthy and deserving of a happy life.

I’m glad I decided to seek trauma counseling in Arizona. I feel blessed that my therapist at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling approached my recovery from trauma with such patience and understanding. It has taken time and has required a lot of hard work, but I feel more like a complete person than I have in years.

And for that, I’m grateful.

26 02, 2016

Four Tips to Love Yourself and Your Body

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

 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.