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Reversing Short or Long Eating Disorder Relapse

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I'm in the middle of attending a great conference at UCLA this week end. It's "Adult Attachment in Clinical Context: Applications of the Adult Attachment Interview." Superb and gifted researchers and clinicians are gathered to discuss and share information on the latest neuroscience findings, the reasons why humans bond or do not bond well with each other, how human relationships can harm and heal, and the powerful healing force of human love, compassion, stability, flexibility and reliability.

As I participate in this conference, surrounded by clinicians dedicated to learning and fostering healing, I feel richly held. I am free to let my mind relate what I'm hearing and learning to people who, in some way, live with the experience of eating disorders. Here's what I've come up with after two days of the conference. Perhaps more will emerge after tomorrow, the last day.

Changing Our Brains: The joyous or painful or frustrating reality is that we humans can destroy, create, and change neural functioning in our brains. In other words, we can improve. We can deteriorate. We can change – for better or worse. The research coming out of neuroscience provides evidence that particular circumstances over time can alter brain activity and even brain structure. See Dan Siegel’s work and Allan Schore’s writings.

Power of Love and Kindness: The good news is that a durable, kind and informed relationship with a trustworthy and stable person over a considerable period of time will actually create conditions where a person’s brain can change for the better. This is one of the great and wonderful powers of long term, in depth psychotherapy with a trustworthy and focused psychotherapist. This is also why loving, trustworthy, stable, reliable and empathic parents produce secure, loving and self confident children. This is also why a loving, trustworthy, stable, reliable and empathic aunt or uncle or grandparent or teacher or neighbor can contribute to building a secure base in a child who has problematic parents.

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If you or someone you love has an eating disorder and are looking for help, please call the National Eating Disorders Association’s toll-free, confidential Helpline. 800.931.2237. (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org) Recovery is possible.

July 13, 2009 - 9:32am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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