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Life Coaching Empowers Eating Disorder Survivors

December Event Introduces Eight-Week Sessions to Those in Need

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mary Tantillo, Ph.D., R.N., C.S., associate professor, School of Nursing

The period of time following treatment for an eating disorder can present individuals with some unexpected challenges. Many just coming from an acute care setting find the support and structure they’ve relied on no longer there. They can feel lost at a time when family and friends are expecting them to return to life as normal. But normal after an eating disorder must be reconstructed.

A program offered through the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders (WNYCCCED) and the University of Rochester Medical Center School of Nursing helps people transition through that difficult time following treatment.

Beginning in January, an eight-week life coaching group will meet weekly for an hour at a time. Members of JOURNEY (Just One Person Understanding Recovery Nurtures and Empowers You) will have the opportunity to talk with a certified coach and each other about where they would like to take their lives and formulate steps to get there.

A 90-minute introduction to eating disorder life coaching and the JOURNEY group program will be given at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18,at Pittsford Community Library, 24 State St., Pittsford. The presentation will be led by Mary Tantillo Ph.D., R.N. C.S., associate professor at the University of Rochester School of Nursing and director of the WNYCCCED, and Cindy Bitter, certified life coach for the Center.  

“Life coaching is a great transitional living service,” said Tantillo. “It’s about developing a life without illness which can be a frightening proposition for people who have lived with illness for a long time. This isn’t about the symptoms or behavior. That’s what treatment is for. This helps people look at where they go next.”

Facilitated by Bitter, who has been recovered from an eating disorder for 16 years, the group focuses on goal setting as well as developing and practicing life skills and strategies that support recovery, healthy choices and lifestyle.

“When the time is right, life coaching can be a tremendous opportunity,” said Bitter. “Not everyone is going to be at the point that they can look ahead because for so long they’ve been living in the moment with the disease. But for those who are ready, we work with them and encourage them to imagine a happy future.”

The Dec. 18 introduction to JOURNEY is free and open to those recovering from an eating disorder as well as those who care about them. Call (585) 377-0079 for more details about the program.

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