Recovering Through Relationships

Monday, Sep 21  •  


Eating disorder recovery does not occur in isolation. Full recovery is achieved through relationships with one’s self and others. Treatment is most successful when patients are able to develop a relationship with themselves beyond their eating disorder. This relational work instills the hope and motivation needed for the recovery journey and the inspiration to continue to thrive once clients leave treatment.  

Developing Self-Compassion

In most scenarios, individuals with eating disorders are dealing with an underlying issue that can cause a feeling of shame and isolation. As part of our recovery program, we believe in developing and better understanding the importance of self-compassion. Self-compassion allows individuals to treat their own self tenderly, while also allowing action. Self-compassion allows our patients to operate from a place of authenticity and vulnerability to provide a true foundation of relationship with self and others. 

Self-compassion can be broken down into 3 components:

  1. Mindfulness: Mindfulness in self-compassion is recognizing our own emotional pain. The mindful step in self-compassion allows us to separate from our pain rather than being merged with it. 
  2. Common Humanity: Common humanity is reminding ourselves that we are not alone in our pain. Others may not be going through the same situation, but feeling emotional pain is part of the human condition and connecting through that pain is part of healing. 
  3. Self-Kindness: Self-kindness is simply talking to ourselves the way that we would talk to a friend who is struggling. It is ok to tell ourselves, “This is hard. This feels lonely.” 

Healing Relationships With Others

In addition to a relationship with one’s self, relationships with others are important in the recovery process. Families and loved ones are also impacted by the eating disorder and often feel helpless in their loved one’s recovery. Healing these relationships can help build a template for how to work through future relationship conflicts. Our clients learn ways to be present in relationships without their eating disorder and form relationships on a healthy foundation. 

New Relationships With Others

Recovery offers an opportunity for creating new relationships with authentic connection. Those affected by eating disorders often suffer in silence, causing a separation between their own self and those around them. Through the treatment process, clients develop relationships with their peers who are sharing their recovery journey. When these relationships are developed with authenticity and recovery-focus, they can serve as a foundation for a life of recovery outside of treatment. 

Relational aspects of recovery have been integrated into our treatment because relationships with our own selves and with others are integral to who we are as humans. Incorporation of relational work into treatment provides our clients with a foundation for a full recovery.