Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 10/09/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Blog

Expressive Therapy, the Brain and Eating Disorder Recovery, Part 3

by Caroline Leibman, MA, BC-DMT, NCC

Authentic Movement
Authentic Movement is another expressive therapy group which offers a self-directed form of moving that invites a deep attunement to and dwelling within the body. Patients are invited to close their eyes and follow movement impulses, as well as stillness that arises in the here and now. They are asked to focus on the sensations, emotions and images or thoughts that emerge naturally in their bodies. They may enter the movement impulses, or witness those impulses in stillness. Moving with eyes closed invites a deeper listening to the self, while encouraging the practice of mindfulness, being in the present moment, and maintaining self-awareness. A movement pathway offers a unique gateway for unconscious material in the body to be made visible, and therefore made more conscious, emerges.

A common example of this happens with resistant patients who are struggling to engage with treatment. In these situations a patient may be given a prop to work with, such as a large, soft, exercise ball. When presented with this they may reject the ball, toss it back to the group facilitator and verbalize, “This is stupid.” In doing this the patient is inadvertently opening a door for therapy and expressing, through the body and movement, the anger that is pent up inside. An experience clinician will utilize this opportunity to help the patient become more skilled at expressing emotions and making mind/body connections.

This process allows for a patient to come into a deeper awareness of what s/he is experiencing in the body on three levels: imagination/cognition, body sensation, and emotion. Again, the neocortex, limbic area, and sub cortical lower brainstem are accessed. Authentic Movement fosters a re-inhabiting of the body that encourages intimacy, compassion, and a deep appreciation of self as well as a gentle /loving way of being connected to the body that is not based on self-imposed restrictions. Authentic movement facilitates the re-experience of the sacred/spirit found in the body, which is often eclipsed by the eating disorder. This form invites an increased awareness and expression of thoughts, feelings, and sensations related to the present moment that directly connects to themes in a patient’s eating disorder treatment and recovery.

Psychodrama
Psychodrama is an expressive therapy that allows for a patient’s inner world to be made more tangible. Whether one is the protagonist, a role player, or an audience member, psychodrama invites an action based experience that impacts all group members. Inner and outer worlds of the patients become clearer. Cognitions, belief systems, emotions, and the somatic, sensory level of experience are accessed not only by the protagonist for the group, but also for group members as well.

A frequent psychodrama exercise is to act out a feeling that contributes to the patient’s eating disorder by either having a role player or prop serve as a stand in for that emotion. In doing so, the patient can “see” the emotion (such as anxiety) more clearly and the next step of the psychodrama often dramatizes how the eating disorder behavior (also dramatized through a person or prop) comes in to relieve or mask that uncomfortable emotion. This increases mindfulness and open doors for further exploration in therapy.

Role players, role doubles, and peer coaches allow for a wide choice of active involvement for all group members. Basic theatre skills like role/character playing, character improvisation, role amplification, and story re-enactment allow for the drama of the protagonist to unfold from beginning to completion. Techniques like “role-reversing” and the “empty chair” promote the deepening of the psychological material and greater understanding of the patient’s issues. Appropriate safety and containment are also maintained.

Psychodrama group highlights internal and external family systems — the roles and dynamics of these systems. Psychodrama themes can include the genesis of the eating disorder and what the patient needs for healing. Psychodrama invites “dialogues” with the eating disorder to problem solve, quell symptoms, and enhance self-understanding. This therapy also allows for emotions stored in the body to be released safely; the opportunity for movement, sounds and words to be expressed safely in the here and now. It also allows for corrective experiences for posture and gesture that invite self-empowerment. In addition, Psychodrama can also illuminate distorted self-belief systems, intergenerational lies, and implicit family rules and their contribution to eating disordered patterns of behavior.

This is an exciting time as research in neuroscience is advancing our understanding of the role of the triune brain in engaging the mind and body for balance and integrative healing. It is also exciting to be a part of the ever-evolving field of expressive arts therapies and their potent healing benefits for our patients struggling with eating disorders. We are confident that our expressive therapy groups at McCallum Place and Cedar Springs Austin are timely and effective. They offer healing and a greater chance for a lasting recovery.

Caroline Leibman is a board certified dance/movement therapist and a nationally certified counselor who holds an MA in Education from Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her graduate work in Dance/Movement Therapy as well as a Professional Diploma in Dance and Movement Studies at the Laban Centre, London, England. She trained in Authentic Movement at the Authentic Movement Institute in Berkeley California, and with Janet Adler, PhD. Caroline offers a blend of verbal and body-oriented therapies integrating Jungian thought, creative arts therapies, mindfulness, and spiritual practices to promote healing. She has a background in working with issues of trauma, eating disorders, depression/loss, and anxiety.