Welcome to EDFA’s wrap up for the months of April and May!
Today I’m wanting to send all our incredible carers a message of strength that this too shall pass, and hope, because tomorrow the sun may just peep through! Always remember to have compassion for yourself because you are doing the very best that you can. There will be times when you will feel like you’ve messed up, done it all wrong or just want to get off the treadmill! Know that you are THE best person to support your loved one through their eating disorder. The power of love and connection cannot be underestimated. Continue to reach out and find strength from others who have been there, who want to help you through the tough times and who know that you will get through this challenging life experience, intact and whole!
I love working with the EDFA team and with our members. I met Christine Naismith and Violeta Bozinovski at an eating disorder conference in Melbourne in 2015, two years after my daughter was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. In each other, we found connection, strength, empowerment and hope and I suddenly felt less alone in my journey as a carer.
It’s amazing to think that this connection, and the drive, compassion and passion of a number of like minded parents around Australia resulted in the creation of a carer support group in Flemington, Victoria, and in the creation of EDFA. We could not have achieved this without the hard work, passion and dedication of all our EDFA volunteers and team members.
Kindness and compassion
I believe that if carers truly understand the mindset of a loved one experiencing an eating disorder, then they will be better skilled to understand and support that person. Eating disorders are complex, intense and frightening illnesses and it is a steep learning curve to understand how to be an effective and compassionate carer. I also believe that kindness and compassion for all families on this caring journey is critical. Parents do not cause eating disorders and individuals who are blind-sided by these debilitating biological brain-based illnesses, do not cause them either.
Together, we can support, empower and nurture each other through what many describe as the toughest journey of our lives.
I help co-ordinate the education support programs EDFA runs, as well as day to day administration, including working alongside our social media volunteer, Ruby, who brings our words to life by creating all EDFA’s warm and visually appealing tiles for our social media posts.
Being able to source and provide up-to-date and vital information for our members is an honour and a privilege. EDFA realises that not one size fits all when it comes to treatment for eating disorders and we aim to provide valuable information for everyone, no matter where they are in their caring journey or which treatment modality their loved ones are currently undertaking.
What’s on at EDFA?
It has certainly been a busy two months for EDFA!
Table Talk from the Inside
On the 1st April our education session titled “Table Talk from the Inside” was an interview-style chat with two young ladies who are currently experiencing an eating disorder. Jan Clarke of the BRONTE Centre facilitated the session and carers were privileged to hear all about what it’s really like living with an eating disorder. Such important and valuable information for all carers to hear and learn from. This session was recorded and is available for members to view in the Member Only Resource section of the website after logging into your account. Most of EDFA’s education sessions are recorded for our members.
On the 15th April, TEDx speaker, Dr Laura Hill presented to EDFA carers live from Ohio, about TBT-S, a new, rigorously researched eating disorder brain-based approach to therapy for older adolescents and adults. The therapy is designed to support an individual’s current treatment modality, using TBT-S principles and carers as supports. The session was enlightening and informative and Dr Hill generously answered all members questions in her usual, beautiful and insightful way. So grateful for her wisdom and knowledge in this field of research and for sharing the latest in eating disorder treatment with EDFA carers.
Siblings’ Support Group
We held our second and third national Siblings’ Support Group on the 8th April and 13th May facilitated by Jan, Olivia, Julia and Georgia, which were well attended and increasing in numbers as more siblings come on board. All siblings are put into age appropriate break-out groups. This group is a safe space for siblings living alongside a loved one with an eating disorder, to come and feel validated, less alone and learn important skills to navigate tough feelings and situations that arise.’
Small group family education
Our online “Learning to Live With, Through & Beyond an Eating Disorder” small, tailored group family education series sold out within the first few days and ran over four weeks in April and May. Jan Clarke of the Bronte Centre facilitated the sessions and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We plan to run more of this series for carers, so look out for future advertising on our social media pages. Whether you are starting out as a carer, feeling stuck, just treading water, needing extra guidance and new ideas, feeling like the family is in chaos, feeling overwhelmed and unsure or wanting to up-skill yourself as an ED carer, these sessions are small, personal and tailored to suit your family’s needs, no matter how diverse.
TBT-S Online Training Session
EDFA hosted a TBT-S online training session for clinicians on the 22nd April presented by Dr Walter Kaye UCSD on the neuro-science underlying TBT-S. We are privileged to be able to continue to bring regular TBT-S training to Australian clinicians. We note that TBT-S is currently being piloted as an Australian first at the Geelong Clinic’s (GC) RISE 8-week day program which commenced on the 21st April. This is exciting news for older adolescents and adults experiencing an eating disorder and their families. A great initiative by GC introducing TBT-S therapy in practice for Australians!
strive Bulimia Carers’ Support Group
We were proud to commence EDFA’s first national online strive Bulimia carers’ support group on the 22nd April. This is a skills and support group for those caring for a loved one with BN.
Our usual online strive carer support groups continue to run for all families monthly. Find your state group via our “What’s On” EDFA Events website calendar.
On the 6th May we held an information session on how sensory approaches can support eating disorder recovery, presented by Alex Hillman, OT and senior eating disorders clinician and lecturer in occupational therapy. What a fabulous session and adjunct to consider for our loved ones experiencing an eating disorder. Thank you Alex for an informative and inspiring presentation!
Emotion Focused Family Therapy
On the 20th May we had a valuable and insightful session on Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) presented by Debby Krahe, Psychologist, Counsellor & Trainer. EFFT can be such a game-changer for caregivers and their loved ones and we were thrilled to be able to bring information about this powerful therapy to EDFA carers!
Our new strive4Men support group commenced on the 27th May. This group is for all males, and those who identify as male, who are supporting a loved one with an eating disorder. The group is a safe space to connect with other Dads, partners and siblings who would like to connect and share learnings and experiences.
What’s coming up in June and July?
Wednesday 2nd June is World Eating Disorders Action Day.
We ask everyone to do something small to raise awareness, break down stigma, advocate for positive change or educate around eating disorders. You can add the EDFA frame to your Facebook profile pic by selecting ‘edit profile pic’ then ‘add frame’ & choose WEDAD2021 then save. Anything you post, please use the tags #WEDAD2021 #Equity4eatingdisorders #Passthebaton4eatingdisorders #NoShameNoBlame
Look out for advertising on our social media pages for the following EDFA events coming up for our members!
Medical Hypnosis for SED/ARFID Thu, June 3, 8:00pm – 9:30pm (AEST)
strive Siblings’ Support Group Thu, June 10 & July 8, 7:30pm – 8:30pm (AEST)
Carer Fatigue & PTSD by Dr Genevieve Pepin Thu, June 17, 8:00pm – 9:30pm (AEST)
strive ARFID Parent/Carer Support Group Thu, June 24, 7:30pm – 9:00pm (AEST)
Music Therapy for Eating Disorders by Alex Hillman Thu, July 1, 8:00pm – 9:30pm (AEST)
Break Binge Eating by Jake Linardon Thu, July 15, 8:00pm – 9:30pm (AEST)
strive Bulimia Nervosa Parent/Carer Support Group Thu, July 22, 7:30pm – Fri, July 23, 9:00pm (AEST)
Strength for the journey to all families and their loved ones. We’re always here to support you and you know where to find us!