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Recovery blog

Hannah Beaver, LCSW Thank You and Goodbye! September 18, 2018

It is with the most heartfelt appreciation and gratitude that I write this post to all of you wonderful and courageous individuals, as I close the chapter on my time with The Renfrew Center. It has been an hon...

Andrea A., Renfrew Alumna Vulnerability Rising September 10, 2018

The most challenging aspect to my recovery is learning that I am not in control and, in fact, I cannot control everything around me, despite what my eating disorder says. It has been grueling to surrender control...

Susan M., Renfrew Alumna Alumna Recovery Story August 27, 2018

I've been in successful recovery of my eating disorder for over 10 years. I'm compelled to share my story with those that are struggling now because, in the midst of the fray and tumult of my eating disorder, the...

Elizabeth Black, MA, LCPC, Team Leader at The Renfrew Center of Chicago Self-acceptance August 20, 2018

Self-acceptance is to acknowledge things as they are, even if we prefer they were different. Two commonly held beliefs that interfere with self-acceptance include 1. That we cannot accept things we do not love or...

Julia C., Renfrew Alumna Putting My Health Before My Career August 13, 2018

I was a teacher for eight years. During that time I was very focused on my work and over that time my mental health started to deteriorate after years of being underappreciated at a poorly run school. Each year m...

Catherine, G., Renfrew Alumna Recovery is the Air I Breathe August 06, 2018

Inspired by the colors of emotions and the ever-changing road to recovering from an eating disorder, I created a picture to represent my journey to health and peace. The swirling colors stand for the sometimes ov...

Denisse Collazo, Renfrew Alumna The Quest of Discovery July 31, 2018

What does discovery personally means for me? This past year of my life I've been on a quest to learn who I am meant to be without an eating disorder. In my mind I had this idea of treatment and recovery being ...

Hannah Beaver, LCSW, Alumni Coordinator Change: It's Not So Bad! July 23, 2018

In last week's recovery webinar, I had the pleasure of discussing one of my favorite topics: how to manage life changes while staying on track. Change is a beautiful part of life, yet it can also feel incredibly ...

Rachel Tenny, MA, LPC, Primary Therapist & Alumni Rep at The Renfrew Center of Charlotte How Do I Keep Moving Forward In Recovery During The Chaos... July 09, 2018

While summer is a time of fun and relaxation, it can also be a time when eating disorder urges or behaviors can increase. Here are some tips to help you continue your progress in recovery during the summer if ...

Hannah Beaver, LCSW, Alumni Coordinator Independence For All! July 02, 2018

As we approach the 4th of July, it's hard not to think about independence and freedom. These concepts are clearly connected to the holiday, but they also feel incredibly relevant to the process of recovery. When ...

Amanda Pitchko, LAC, Primary Therapist & Alumni Rep at The Renfrew Center of Southern New Jersey 2018 Summer Workshop Recap June 25, 2018

Last week, I had the pleasure of facilitating this year's summer workshop at the Mount Laurel site. This year's theme focused on identifying ways individuals have gained independence from their eating disorders. ...

Jenn P., Renfrew Alumna Breaking Free From Restrictions June 18, 2018

This painting is featured in Renfrew's 2018 Art Calendar. From the artist: "It's me against the eating disorder. A constant struggle for control, a desire to be thin, and a way to numb my emotions. This piece sym...

Shalini Wickramatilake, Renfrew Alumna How My Employer Supported Me Through Treatment and Recovery June 11, 2018

The very first person to help me consider the possibility of seeking extra support for my eating disorder wasn't my therapist, doctor, husband, mom, or best friend; it was my boss. I work in public health, and I ...

Hannah Beaver, LCSW, Alumni Coordinator 2018 Reunion Recap June 05, 2018

Wow, what an amazing reunion weekend! Thank you so much to everyone who was able to attend. It was so wonderful getting to see all of you in Philadelphia, and for those in Florida, I hope you had a great time. It...

Jennifer K., Renfrew Alumna 'Celebrating Our Victories!' - 2017 Reunion Testimonial May 29, 2018

I had the privilege of sharing my story at the 2017 Renfrew Alumni reunion. Speaking to 75+ alumni and their families was a deeply profound and unforgettable experience. Three years ago, I admitted to residential...

Sarah B., Renfrew Alumna Altered Book May 21, 2018

Art therapy and my Altered Book played an important role in my recovery. It allowed me to start envisioning emotional situations such as vulnerability, defiance, and transcendence that I was as yet unable to verb...

Tara S., Renfrew Alumna 'Leaning In' - 2016 Reunion Testimonial May 14, 2018

When I arrived at Renfrew Philadelphia for the 2016 reunion, it seemed both familiar and foreign. It was a place that I needed at a certain time and have since outgrown. I felt slightly out of place, but in the b...

Regina Papa, Renfrew Alumna Perfectionism May 07, 2018

One day I turned to my husband and said "You know, I'm not so much of a perfectionist anymore." Not only did I state it but I was confident about it. Yet, there was a truth I had yet to discover. I have been a...

Cynthia M., Renfrew Alumna 'I can take on the world!' - 2017 Reunion Testimonial April 30, 2018

"Within her was an ocean, With choppy shores And dangerous riptides; Dark and nebulous skies painted a picture Of a sailor lost at sea. Floating adrift and deep in thought, She wondered when her...

Hannah Beaver, LCSW, Alumni Coordinator Let's Talk Kindness April 23, 2018

Kindness is a fairly simple concept to understand, and even pretty easy to apply when dealing with others, yet for some reason, when it comes to treating ourselves with kindness, it becomes a HUGE challenge. Self...

Chelsey R., Renfrew Alumna 'My First Renfrew Reunion!' - 2016 Reunion Testimonial April 16, 2018

My first Renfrew Reunion is one for the books. The day started off with a light breakfast, catching up with the staff and introducing ourselves to the group. Many of these women traveled many hours to attend this...

Jewels G., Renfrew Alumna Pouring Who You are Into the World April 09, 2018

This painting is featured in Renfrew's 2018 Art Calendar. From the artist: "when I was creating this, I felt like I was really pouring myself into the world. I want everyone to know it is okay to be yourself and ...

Hannah Beaver, Alumni Coordinator NEDAW might be over, but the awareness doesn't need to end April 02, 2018

Every year, I find myself with great excitement looking forward to NEDAW! There is something really special in being able to witness so many strong individuals band together to spread awareness about something so...

Joanna K. Mercuri Recovery Testimonial March 26, 2018

In January 2014, at 5 a.m. on a frozen Tuesday, my fiancé and I drove a rented car from New York City to Philadelphia, where I would be entering residential treatment at the Renfrew Center. By then, I had already...

Artists from The Renfrew Center of Philadelphia Emotions March 19, 2018

This emotion board was created across several art therapy groups At The Renfrew Center of Philadelphia. Each contributing artist selected which emotion they wanted to focus on and found materials that would best ...

Adrienne Ressler, LMSW, CEDS, F.iaedp, Vice President, Professional Development, The Renfrew Center Foundation This Is ME February 26, 2018

Renfrew's 2018 Eating Disorders Awareness week theme, "This is ME", grew out of our belief that recovery allows for the re-emergence of each individual's authentic or true self, which has been overshadowed by th...

Regina Papa, Renfrew Alumna Motherhood & Recovery February 19, 2018

Miles walked. Calories consumed. Calories burned. My mind attached itself to numbers - calculating, obsessing and planning all day long - for far too long. From a young age I always believed I was put on this ...

Amanda L., Renfrew Alumna Body Apologies February 14, 2018

This image is featured in our 2018 Art Calendar. In this piece, the artist is apologizing to her body for mistreating it. This is a powerful exercise to directly address the body and take steps towards healing th...

Julie H., Renfrew Alumna Gratitude February 05, 2018

I saw so many posts about 2017 being the worst year for many of my friends, and for the first time in years, that wasn't the case for me. I can't help but recognize how tumultuous this year has been for me, and a...

Rebecca Schneider, Renfrew Alumna Alumna Recovery Testimonial January 29, 2018

January 23rd is the one year anniversary of my discharge from The Renfrew Center of Florida for residential treatment. I'm in a completely different place than I was last year. At this point last year, I was s...

Allison Guenther, Renfrew Alumna What Are Your Values January 22, 2018

We've all heard it before, recovery isn't a straight trajectory. It's a squiggly line with dips and loops, generally trending up in the direction of progress. It's very hard to see that however, sitting alone, we...

Sue M., Renfrew Alumna The Voice January 15, 2018

While working with my treatment team, both in and out of Renfrew, I came to learn that I had a loud, critical and powerful voice in my head. With their help I was able to stop this voice and take back my life. ...

Renfrew Alumni Resilience January 08, 2018

These images are featured in our 2018 Art Calendar. The focus of this group was on resilience. Participants identified examples of healing in nature, history and the body as well as collective struggles and indiv...

Shalini Wickramatilake, Renfrew Alumna The Joy of Stillness January 02, 2018

Steps. Miles. Days. My life had been reduced to simple arithmetic. All I cared about was the tally at the end of the day of how many steps I'd taken, the number of miles I'd run, and for how many consecu...

Megan Coral, MS, LMFT New Year, Happier Me December 27, 2017

Each new year brings new resolutions which often means people resolving to lose weight. I cannot count the number of people who have explained that their eating disorder began as a new year's resolution that wen...

Hannah Beaver, LCSW 5 Tips on Approaching the New Year in a Healthy and Posit... December 18, 2017

The New Year is often seen as a time to start fresh, put the past year behind you, and set goals and wishes for the next 365 days--all of which may sound great to some, but unfortunately, to many others, it can f...

Lisa Luse, LCSW-C Tips for You and Your Family this Holiday Season December 11, 2017

The holiday season is upon us and for those recovering from an eating disorder this can be an especially stressful time; the meals, the outfits, the parties, the politics, the memories from previous years, the ch...

Sarah Bateman, LCSW Holidays and Special Occasions: Finding the Right Tools f... December 04, 2017

Eating three balanced meals a day plus snacks can be hard enough to manage. Even for people doing well in their recovery, there are decisions, conflicting or negative thoughts, planning, scheduling and financial ...

Melanie Smith, LMHC Accepting Recovery November 27, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes someone can make when pursuing their recovery is being resolved that they can do it without experiencing some uncomfortable feelings and struggles. The reality is that struggles happen...

Hannah Beaver, LCSW Thanksgiving with an Eating Disorder: 3 Tips to Help You ... November 22, 2017

With the holiday season comes great joy but, for those in recovery, it can also be stressful. Below are tips to help you get through the upcoming holiday meal and enjoy time spent with your loved ones. • Ident...

Sondra Rosenberg 2018 Art Calendar November 20, 2017

Expressing The Voice Within - The Renfrew Center Foundation's 2018 Art Calendar is now available. Each piece of artwork in this calendar was selected because it contains a deep truth that is illuminated in beauty...

Cindy K. Alumna Testimonial November 13, 2017

When I was a teenager back in the 70's, places like Renfrew did not exist. People didn't talk about eating disorders and mental health, or when they did, they did so very quietly. Now in my mid-50's, I look back ...

Jamie B. Brain on Numbers November 06, 2017

This painting is featured in Renfrew's 2017 Art Calendar. From the alumna, "In my eating disorder, I give so much power to arbitrary numbers, setting unrealistic goals that only enhance the constant rumination of...

Susan Kleinman, MA, BC-DMT, NCC, CEDS,Dance/Movement Therapist for The Renfrew Center of Florida Leaning Into Life October 15, 2017

Before you came to Renfrew, you engaged in various eating disorder behaviors that you thought helped you cope with life stressors. You were leaning away from life. While at Renfrew you learned the importance of l...

Adrienne Ressler, LMSW, CEDS, F.iaedp, Vice President, Professional Development, The Renfrew Center Foundation Beat the Body Image Blues October 09, 2017

"It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, or concern must be to live while we're alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a façade des...

Rachel Karitis, Alumna I Am Not My Eating Disorder October 02, 2017

I am not my eating disorder. Over the course of my life, I have loved it, hated it, ignored it. For a long time, I thought we were inextricably intertwined. We are not. My DSM code is not tattooed on my skin, ran...

Megan Coral, MS, LMFT from The Renfrew Center of Northern New Jersey Social Media and Body Image September 25, 2017

Social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter - to name a few) seems to be everywhere and most of us belong to at least one network. We can't look at a picture, read an article, or check the weather without an ...

Jenny Alovis, Alumna Ana, Not This Time September 18, 2017

You've been around the block, And you've been around the world, Stealing people's hearts and putting them through hell, You know how to knock me down, And you think that I can't hold back, But you ain't se...

Julianna S. Growth September 11, 2017

This painting is featured in Renfrew's 2017 Art Calendar. From the alumna, "my inspiration comes from words, whether it be favorite quotes, listening to other people's stories, or just my own thoughts. This is o...

Hannah Beaver, LCSW, Alumni Coordinator Change in Season, Change in YOU September 05, 2017

As summer winds down, we often find ourselves exposed to the various changes happening all around us, whether it's through the changing colors of nature, or the plethora of "back to school" messages, it's hard t...

Nadia A. Break It August 14, 2017

This painting, which is featured in Renfrew's Art Calendar is about each new day creating a new opportunity to break the habits that keep us stuck in our anxieties and depressions. With each new sunrise, beams...

The Renfrew Center The Renfrew Center of Pittsburgh is Now Open! June 27, 2017

This location is Renfrew's third in Pennsylvania and 18th nationwide The Renfrew Center announced today the opening of its Pittsburgh, PA, location at 201 N. Craig Street, 5th Floor. This facility is Renfrew's 1...

Anonymous The Only Safe Space June 05, 2017

This painting, which is featured in Renfrew's Art Calendar, is about how eating disorders cloud the mind to hide mental pain and negative emotions. From the artist, 'after a history of abuse, my eating disorder...

Tzivya Green Dear ED May 30, 2017

Dear ED, I can't erase you. You are my past. You are 9 years of my past. You uncomfortably tangled my heart and unkindly controlled my body. I close my eyes and try to forget but you left a mark. I can tear a ...

Concetta Troskie, RDT, R-DMT, LPC-Intern Spontaneous Vulnerability: Eating Disorders and Creative ... January 23, 2017

Eating disorders communicate non-verbally. Each behavior driven by the eating disorder has a symbolic message and meaning that desperately wants to be understood. In this way, eating disorders are a call for help...

Tiffany Phillips, MA, LMFT, Alumni Rep at The Renfrew Center Nashville Gifts to Self This Holiday Season December 20, 2016

'Tis the season to be stressed out and over-scheduled. Recovering from an eating disorder is a challenge at all times of the year, but during the holidays, it can be incredibly difficult. While you are busy s...

Laura Minch, PsyD, Team Leader at The Renfrew Center of Atlanta Brain Becomes Boss October 10, 2016

I love learning about and talking about the brain because it dictates everything that we do….every moment of every day (what we think, who we interact with, how we experience emotions). It also changes when we a...

Nina Gilbert, LMSW, RYT 200, Primary Therapist at The Renfrew Center of Nashville The Body Connect October 03, 2016

There is a pitiful lack of scientific research that "proves" the power of yoga for healing from an eating disorder. However, for a practice that has been around for 5,000 years, we might make a reasonable guess ...

Tiffany Phillips, MA, LMFT, Alumni Rep at The Renfrew Center of Nashville Grace and Kindness September 26, 2016

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum Most of what I really need To know about how to live And what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top...

Emmi Barnoski, MSW, LSW, Alumni Rep at The Renfrew Center of Chicago To Disclose or Not to Disclose-That is the Question! September 19, 2016

Sometimes the opportunity arises to talk about the fact that one is in recovery from an eating disorder. It can occur at school ("Where were you last semester?"), at work ("Why do you need to take a medical leave...

Nicole Bertucci, LMFT, Alumni Rep at The Renfrew Center of Los Angeles Even When All Feels Lost, There Is Still Hope September 12, 2016

One of the things I hear my clients say the most is, "I can't imagine life without having an eating disorder." They can't imagine a day where they won't choose food based on its calorie content or when they can g...

Jessica H. Heart September 06, 2016

This sculpture, which is featured in Renfrew's Art Calendar is about a close friend of a Renfrew alumna. Her friend was very upset about the complication of a shrunken, weaker heart. She made this piece for her...

Lara Pence Urges & Needs August 08, 2016

Some of you may have participated in groups at Renfrew during which you reviewed the different types of needs that we have. Let's think about it again – since I've got your attention. So we have our basic needs –...

Lara Pence What Will You Vote For August 01, 2016

It's no surprise to anyone that we are in an election year. Individuals across the nation are campaigning for their preferred new president. And in a few short months we will be asked to cast a vote. While headin...

Lara Pence The Body as a Container July 25, 2016

The body has often been marginalized as a shape, a form, a canvas on which judgments and opinions are projected. However, the body, our bodies are so, so much more. Our body is a truly an all-powerful vessel ...

Lara Pence Are You Forgetting to Have Fun July 05, 2016

We have a tendency to take on the seriousness of life throughout our day and forget how important it is to have fun. As a society, we have become more attached to outcome and less grounded in process. We focu...

Lara Pence Self-Assessment for Success June 27, 2016

Often we rely on the assessment of others to dictate how we are doing, feeling, or whether we are succeeding. We learn this early on – it's the grades from teachers, the accolades from coaches, the acceptance let...

Lara Pence From Head to Hand June 20, 2016

Sometimes, the process of writing can unleash emotions and provide an opening for understanding that was once difficult to access. I often recommend that my clients take time to write – whether that's in a journa...

Whitney Russell, MS, LPC-S from The Renfrew Center of Dallas Breathe May 16, 2016

The journey of recovery takes many forms and shifts in all different directions - goes left, right, up, and down. How we describe the journey can also be depicted in different forms. This poem describes the tumu...

Lara Pence A Word on Gratitude May 02, 2016

We are often encouraged to be grateful for the things that we have, for the people in our life, for the experiences that we encounter. While all of us certainly have the language to speak the words, "I'm grateful...

Lara Pence Authenticity at Its Best April 25, 2016

The term authenticity is thrown around in the recovery process as if it's something you can catch, like the flu or a baseball. You catch it and you're golden (although that wouldn't quite be true if it were the f...

Lara Pence Tapping into our Internal Awesome April 18, 2016

As a society, we spend a considerable amount of time, energy and money on things that others tell us will make our life 'better'. Self-help books, gym memberships, workshops designed to enlighten, 'clean' cookboo...

Lara Pence Supporting Your Recovery April 04, 2016

It's not easy to tell others that you need help. Asking for help is something that society often tells us is weak and riddled with vulnerability. Weakness, absolutely not. Vulnerability, for sure! But what's so w...

Lara Pence The Encouraging Voice March 28, 2016

I was once told by a wise supervisor that one of the goal's in therapy is for the therapist's voice to be internalized by the client. The therapist becomes the voice of reason, rational thought, encouragement and...

Lara Pence Focusing on the Good March 21, 2016

It's hard to focus on the good sometimes. As a society we are so good at picking out the bad, the what needs work, and the fixable. It can sometimes feel like our eye is trained to see the "what's wrong with this...

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