What Is Group Therapy And How Does It Help Eating Disorder Recovery?

Today we’re sharing a look into each of the groups we run at The Recover Clinic. Group therapy, alongside individual therapy, is part of the holistic treatment we provide for eating disorder recovery here at the clinic. We believe that recovery is possible by getting to the root cause(s) of the problem and by tailoring treatment programs to you. So while not all groups will be suitable for you, each one has been designed from our wealth of experience working with clients.

Individual & Group Therapy

Each program we offer treats the mind, body and soul, not just the physical symptoms of eating disorders. This involves using a combination of one to one therapy, group work and nutritional support. Our groups focus on different themes to allow you to target the areas in your life that you feel you need the most support. The program is changed and adapted in line with your progression.

Art Therapy and Creative Group

Art therapy group uses the arts and the creative process alongside the therapeutic relationship, to support and encourage the expression of emotions. It offers a safe space to explore the deep process that the arts and using them can evoke.

It is not necessary to be artistic or have had previous art therapy experience – we all have creative ability, but often have not been encouraged to use it.

Every image made or word written helps us in the process of articulating feelings, and in bringing meaning to our past or current situations. Images can often help us to see life and feelings from different perspectives and aid us in understanding how unresolved or difficult feelings from the past are often connected to the present. The expression surrounding what is made and the creative process allows us to explore this further in a contained and regulated manner, which enables exploration and change.

In these groups you’ll take part in activities and exercises that will help you use your imagination to think in a different, more creative way about your…

  • eating disorder
  • identity
  • relationships
  • future

This often leads to greater insight, reflection and self-awareness.

Body Image Group

This group is a chance for you to examine and challenge your view of your physical self.

Poor body image is a common symptom of eating disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). The constant self-criticism can make you feel anxious, worthless and depressed.

Our feelings towards our bodies emerge as we grow older and are a combination of social messages and learned beliefs. If these feelings become destructive, it is important to identify them and learn how to challenge them.

Through this group you will look at how to…

  • focus on the positive – get rid of the blame and shame and celebrate the best bits about you and your life
  • dress to impress (yourself) –  express your sense of style, find clothes that make you feel good to boost your confidence and self-esteem
  • live by your own ideals – you don’t have to conform to what society says is beautiful – what do you think beauty means – inside and out?
  • reach self-acceptance – accept your body for what it is and what it allows you to do. Love it and care for it.

As you explore these ideas, our therapists will offer you the role model of a woman who is confident in her own skin but sensitive to the challenge of being a woman.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

What is CBT?

CBT helps change patterns of negative thought and can be a way for you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts.

In this way you break vicious cycles of negative thinking: when you change how you think, you change how you feel.

Core Group

Core group focuses on the core self.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder or Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), it’s likely that you have a damaged or fragile sense of self.  If you have been unwell for some time, you may not even know who you are without your illness.

This group looks at core personal beliefs, issues and character traits and helps you to find your true identity as you work through recovery.

Dreams Group

“Dreams give information about the secrets of the inner life and reveal to the dreamer hidden factors of [their] personality” – Carl Jung (Modern Man in Search of a Soul).

Carl Jung believed that dreams communicate the unconscious material to us through their symbolic language and that through the study and exploration of these symbols, one can bring unconscious material into consciousness. Symbols can hold a universal meaning and at the same hold immensely personal connotations.

This group offers a safe space where you can share and explore their dreams and the symbolic nature of them, facilitating unconscious material to be realised and integrated into the conscious part of their psyches.

Food Groups

The aim of our Food groups is to undo the damage caused by the false belief that dieting and food labelling are effective tools for a healthy lifestyle.

Within the group, we create a normal, healthy and fun environment in which you can learn.

If you join this group, you’ll be working towards making totally independent choices about the food you eat and we will give you the support, guidance and advice you need to do that.

Mealtimes at the clinic are a chance to catch up, share outside experiences and interact in a social way.

Life Coaching

Life Coaching is a chance for you to examine the barriers that hold you back from being the person you want to be.

You’ll work on being more compassionate towards yourself, in a world that encourages us to be competitive, and fearful of others.

Together we will explore the barriers, competition and jealousy that we find in society and help you to reach a place where you can observe this negativity and move on from it, where you can shine without fear.

Meditation Group

Our Meditation group offers you a safe space where you can get some distance from the thoughts and ideas that fuel eating disorders.

Eating disorders are negative, thought-based illnesses. If you’re suffering from one, you’ll find your body and brain go into overdrive to keep up with the battle you’re waging against yourself.

Meditation gives you a chance to

  • relax
  • step back
  • challenge your thoughts

When you meditate you become more aware of the sensations in your body. This is so important if you’re suffering from an eating disorder as it helps you to reconnect with your body, listen to its needs and in the end, heal it.

Mindfulness meditation teaches us how to challenge destructive and negative thoughts and develop feelings of self-compassion.

Through this group, you can hope to find a new perspective on life and tools for nurturing yourself.

Movement Therapy

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder your relationship with your body becomes difficult and damaged.

Movement sessions address this complicated relationship and focus on the connection between mind, body and emotions.

Through Movement Therapy you can create a healthier self-image and a sense of physical freedom and safety.

What Movement Therapy is and isn’t

  • It is not a dance class or a competition
  • There is no choreography to learn
  • A person who has never danced can be helped by it as much as a trained dancer
  • It offers clients another ‘language’ through which they can express themselves.

Nutrition Group

This is a chance for you to develop a healthy relationship with food…

In our Nutrition Group, we talk about how to relate to food and health in a healthy and kind way. We discuss thoughts and feelings around food, and common eating disorder food fears and rules.

We talk about messages in the media around food and health; how to view these with the cynicism they deserve, but at the same time, how to take interesting pointers from the media without it becoming a destructive rule.

Other sessions focus on practical skills, including: cooking and supermarket shopping, and thinking about your well “individual food personality”.

We understand that talking about food in a group setting can be very daunting for people suffering with an eating disorder. Therefore, we aim to make the sessions comfortable and safe, and we always provide lots of support.

Psychodrama Group

Psychodrama is an integrative psychotherapy that engages participants holistically, paying attention to behaviour, thoughts, emotion and body.

In this group you will participate in guided dramatic action that will help you creatively explore your…

  • Eating disorder
  • Relationships
  • Identity
  • Body image
  • Issues of everyday life

What Psychodrama is and isn’t:

  • It is a creative method that involves physical, cognitive and emotional movement of participants, rather than sitting and talking, as in more conventional therapies.
  • It is not a drama class
  • Any person can benefit from psychodrama and you do not have to be an actress to participate.

Self Care Group

In our Self Care group we find ways to develop a more compassionate and nurturing relationship with ourselves.

Self care is an umbrella term for taking responsibility for yourself but taking care of yourself: this includes basic physical human needs but also emotional ones.

Many of our clients are unsure what self care means, and confuse it with being selfish. This group is a chance to dispel these myths.

Sex and Relationships Group

This group helps you to look for patterns in your relationships and learn how to make your relationships work.

It is a very safe and gentle space where you can explore what healthy relationships look like between

  • family members
  • colleagues
  • romantic partners

The group recognises that sexual relationships can often be especially difficult to navigate – and can be a factor in the development of an eating disorder.

We work hard to make this group a place where you can feel comfortable sharing aspects of your sexual experiences and history to understand your relationship with sex.

What is a healthy relationship?

In this group we look at how to…

  • set boundaries and expectations
  • communicate well and have ‘difficult’ conversations
  • handle conflict and develop empathy
  • understand how love ‘works’ (challenging assumptions)
  • gain control in situations where you previously felt out of your depth.

Social Eating Group

Sufferers of eating disorders often feel anxiety and fear of criticism or humiliation when in public or social eating situations.

They fear being judged in both body shape and size, and for how and what they eat.

The Social Eating group aims to facilitate a graded approach to eating meals in the community. The group uses the experience of outings into the community, for example visiting restaurants, to enable each individual to adjust and adapt to eating away from the clinic, whilst addressing their anxiety and fear.

Social Issues Group

Our Social Issues group gives you the time to develop an attitude towards yourself and others that doesn’t judge, and address social situations that make you anxious, for example:

  • dating
  • family gatherings
  • work
  • university

You can bring up social situations that have been difficult for you in the past – and get the group’s thoughts on where things went wrong and how you could have handled it differently.

You can also share your worries about future events, and seek advice on how to prepare for and deal with them.

Soul Group

Soul, Âme, Ψυχή, Aatma, Alma, Ziel, 靈魂, Anima…

Just as there are many different ways of scribing and sounding ‘soul’, there are many different ideas around its meaning, it’s relevance and even it’s existence.

This group offers a safe space for you to explore the diverse historical and cultural contexts behind the term soul and in doing so, are able to expand their consciousness and challenge their own views. You will be able to discuss your own interpretations and associations of the word soul, what it means to you and how you might use it to aid recovery.

Spiritual Group

Spiritual group is a time to explore your beliefs about yourself, about the world, about the existence of a higher power and what that might be.

It isn’t about a particular religion, although there will be the chance to discuss and debate religion if this works for the members of the group.

Through this group you will start to

  • develop a more intimate relationship with yourself
  • question the external forces that influence you – from friends and family to education and religion
  • talk about what it means to be a woman in today’s world
  • find out who you really are
  • move towards a place of love and happiness.

Women’s Group

This group explores sexuality and femininity in all its forms, with an emphasis on helping you to make contact with your ‘inner woman’: the creativity, love and intuition that lies within you, dormant, waiting to be awakened.

You might call it your conscience, or gut instinct – we know it is there but too many of us ignore it.

Here you will find yourself in a supportive space where you can share your experiences of being female and deepen your understanding of you as an individual and of your gender.

Get In Touch

Whatever the level of support you are looking for, we can help. Call us today on 0845 603 6530 or fill in our short contact form. For daily support, you might also like to follow us on Instagram.

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