Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

Posted on Aug 03, 2017


Jen Tolman Ph.D

Director of Specialty Services

Dr. Steven Hayes, the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT--a values-guided approach to thinking about oneself and how we relate to the world) suggests the reason people come to therapy or treatment is because they notice a gap between how they are living their lives and how they WANT to be living their lives; the purpose of therapy, therefore, is to narrow that gap.
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Body Image: The Messages We Receive

Posted on Jul 11, 2017


Alexandra Reveles

Doctoral Clinical Assistant

What is body image? Are you happy with your body image? What influenced the development of your body image? These are an example of some of the questions posed to patients in the body image process groups that are held weekly at Avalon Hills. As you might guess, when patients first arrive at Avalon the answers to these questions contain a host of negative words. Patients often say they hate their bodies, but are not always sure why they feel that way. Some can pinpoint messages they heard growing up that began the questioning of their bodies and others have no idea what influenced their body image ideal.
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Chad Speth

Primary Care Provider

Eating disorders effect virtually every organ and organ system of the body. From the hair, skin and fingernails to the vital organs such as the heart, brain even the lungs. Most of the effects on the body result from the behaviors associated with the eating disorder.
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Lauren McCullam

Dietitian

How many times have you been scrolling though social media or other websites and seen a tag line similar to this, “10 Foods You Should Never Eat,” or “Seemingly Healthy Foods that are Bad for you?” Unfortunately, we live in a society where nutrition misinformation is flowing at us from every side.
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Jill Jensen

Case Manager

There are many areas of work for each individual pursuing recovery. One of the most difficult obstacles for many of our patients is body image acceptance. Body image is often one of the last areas to change and sometimes one of the most challenging. At Avalon Hills, we approach body image work from many angles. One of our interventions working towards body image acceptance is the shopping challenge.
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Avalon Hills

Eating Disorders Specialists

Until the later 20th century, much of the scientific community subscribed to the idea that once fully developed, the human brain was static—fixed in its current state and incapable of being changed. However, as scientific methodologies evolved, new research began to indicate that the human brain was in fact plastic—able to be changed throughout the course of individuals’ lives as a result of their environment and experiences.
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Lesle Dickey

Director of Nursing

At Avalon Hills we provide nursing staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our nurses work as a cohesive team, which enables us to be fully present for the needs of our patients. Over the past several years, our team has been fortunate to work closely with Dan Siegel, internationally-renowned expert in Interpersonal Neurobiology, to better understand the inner workings of our patient’s minds. Throughout our time with Dr. Siegel we have discussed in depth how we can foster a secure attachment with your loved ones.
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Tags : Seen, Safe, Soothed, Secure
Category: Medical

DeeDee Parry

Admissions Coordinator

I have been working at Avalon Hills for 11 years. I started in the Direct Care Department which was an incredible experience. I got to see with my own eyes how the program worked, how it helped our patients, and what things were especially difficult. As I transitioned into the admissions department I was able to use that knowledge to help educate patients and families so they understand what to expect in the treatment process. I really appreciate being able to help patients and family members through their questions as they make the life changing decision to admit to residential treatment.
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Make peace not war…

Posted on Apr 04, 2017


Rachel Rood

Lead Dietician

A common response I often hear when people find out that I’m a dietitian is: “you must eat so healthy!” And I feel like I do, but probably not in the way that they are thinking. I love fresh fruit, a good quinoa salad and grilled fish, and I also enjoy french fries, ice cream and brownies. I strongly believe that all foods can fit in the definition of a “healthy” diet, which boils down to the basic nutrition principles of balance, variety and moderation.
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Hannah Sawitsky

Therapist

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the brain and how it impacts and is impacted by human behavior. Right now, my brain is reviewing memories, making sentences out of ideas, and controlling my fingers as I type on the computer. These tasks rely on the functioning of individual neurons (brain cells) as well as the larger structures they form in the brain and connections throughout my brain that allow it to function as a whole. Not only is my brain using its existing framework to create my thoughts and behavior it is also constantly forming new connections and adjusting its functioning based on experience. This is called neuroplasticity, a concept that describes the human brain as “changeable, malleable, modifiable” (Doidge, 2007).
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treat to outcome

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