Message from Dr. B. (Linda Paulk Buchanan): We’ve all had experiences that made us feel small. It’s a terrible feeling. It makes us feel like we should disappear or are unacceptable in some way. Maybe you’ve been bullied, been misunderstood; you’re the youngest child in your family or suffered abuse due to someone else’s wrongdoing. Whatever the case, just because it happened, doesn’t mean that you have to continue to feel small as a result. Be the full measure of who you are!
Message from Dr B. (Linda Paulk Buchanan): The last couple of weeks I’ve been writing about how our early beliefs affect our lives and cause ambivalence. If you have beliefs that make it difficult to create the life that you wish for, you may have developed symptoms such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse or eating disorders, just to name a few. I believe that most people’s thoughts, feelings, habits and behaviors make sense no matter how dysfunctional they seem in the moment. I often tell my clients that they make sense and that as we work together they will learn why their behaviors make sense. We use the concept at Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders of respecting the symptom, quite a feat when you consider that eating disorders result in more fatalities than all other mental disorders. This does not mean that we are advocating the choice to use the symptom, but rather to study the symptom and the surrounding urges, thoughts, and feelings in an effort to learn from them. Thus the symptom can tell us where the “ouch” is. When you find yourself doing something that you later regret, see if you can determine how it makes sense in light of ambivalence.
Of course eating healthy and movement are good, but diets are not the answer for anything. —- Dr. B.
Message from Dr B. (Linda Buchanan): Last week I wrote about the stories we tell ourselves that can be hurting us. These stories may contain false narratives (i.e., people will disregard me, my needs aren’t important, I shouldn’t have negative feelings) which are likely to produce ambivalence in our lives about how best to get what we think we need. Say, for instance, that you want to be married and have a family but you believe that people can’t be trusted and will eventually leave. You are experiencing two opposing needs: to have a family and to protect yourself from rejection. This second need creates a guardedness that may actually result in people leaving — which then reaffirms your belief that people will leave. Sound confusing? It is and can have life-crippling consequences. One of the saddest things I encounter in my work as a psychologist is to hear about the painful experiences people have lived through early in life and then watch as they create the same pain in their adulthood due to previously formed false beliefs. When you are ambivalent, see if you can identify an old script that you may no longer need or even truly believe.
Linda Paulk Buchanan, PhD, clinical director and the founder of the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders (ACE), was a featured guest on Atlanta CW69’s Focus Atlanta this past weekend! In case you missed it, the video is below. You’ll hear Linda discuss ACE’s recent expansion and the new intensive treatment options for individuals and families across Georgia impacted by eating disorders.
To read more about our exciting partnership with Walden Behavioral Care, click here.
Message from Dr. B (Linda Buchanan): If you are struggling with feelings of insecurity of any kind, it is probable that you are being influenced by a story that you developed in childhood. Stories such as, “My parent left because I'm not good enough so I better try to be perfect” or “People can't be trusted so I better not share my true feelings,” may have been guiding you ever since — sometimes without your awareness, and it may be ruining your life. All of us develop ideas about how the world operates and our place in the world as we grow up. We then weave these ideas into powerful narratives that guide us how to interact with our world and what to expect from it. However, it’s as if you are living according to a narrative written by a child who was attempting to make sense of your unique experiences — but from a child’s perspective.
One of the saddest things I encounter in my work as a psychologist is to hear about the painful experiences people have lived through and then watch as they create the same pain in their adulthood due to their previously formed false beliefs. The path out of this downward spiral is to become conscious of your story and begin reevaluating your beliefs so that you can have the life that was meant for you. This endeavor will take openness, curiosity and courage to think in new ways.
Message from Dr. B (Linda Paulk Buchanan): It's human nature to focus on the negative more than the positive... in all things. The negative captures our brain’s attention more easily than does the positive. As I’ve mentioned before it’s more important for survival to remember where the bear lives than where the daffodils grow. But when it comes to ourselves we can be especially distorted. When we look in the mirror, we are immediately drawn to look at what we perceive to be our negative qualities. Practice balancing this by intentionally thinking about and listing your positive features and qualities. If you have trouble coming up with any then you are stuck viewing yourself through negative lenses -- and I know some good therapists who can help with that 😀. Also consider accepting things about yourself that make you unique. You are YOUnique!
“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”
— Anatole France
Message from Dr. B (Linda Buchanan): In our society we are primarily focused on the goal of our endeavors. Of course this is sometimes necessary, but it is also necessary to notice the path along the way. There is a phrase that you hear in recovery that states sometimes it’s good to “just do the next right thing.” You may not know where that’s going to take you, however you know that the step seems right. Don’t slow down just because you can’t see the end of the path clearly. If you take steps based on your values and your wise mind, this will most likely lead you to a place you will want to be.
Message from Dr. B. (Linda Buchanan): I really was not planning to write about acceptance for the third week in a row, but after watching the Super Bowl it seemed appropriate. When I went to the gym this morning, the passage on their quote board read, “The true test of courage is accepting defeat without getting lost in it.” If you are a Falcons fan and are still feeling bad, it could be due to 1) the Falcons are very important to you or 2) you have a hard time accepting things that you can’t change. If you see yourself in the latter statement (whether or not it’s related to the Falcons), focus now on something that you can control -- such as smiling at the next person you see -- and notice what a difference it makes!
Walden Behavioral Care, LLC, which provides a full system of specialized care for individuals and families impacted by all types of eating disorders, announced the acquisition of the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders (ACE) of Dunwoody, Ga.
The joining of these two organizations brings more comprehensive, individualized and accessible eating disorder treatment to those across the Atlanta region. Leveraging Walden’s proven experience in establishing a regional, full system of care, ACE will build off its 23 years of treatment excellence, expanding its community-based treatment services and programming into additional, intensive treatment settings.
Specifically, it is Walden’s intention to create programming to meet the needs of individuals who require comprehensive, coordinated care. ACE will continue to provide treatment at the partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient (IOP) and aftercare program (Outpatient) levels at its Alpharetta, Decatur and Dunwoody locations.
Thirty million Americans have eating disorders, including hundreds of thousands throughout Georgia.
The combination of Walden and ACE establishes one of the region’s first full systems of care for adolescents and adults impacted by anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and other specific feeding or eating disorders (OSFED).
“This acquisition is about bringing together two organizations with a shared vision and commitment to providing high quality treatment and support as close to home as possible, through all levels of care,” said Stuart Koman, Ph.D., president and CEO of Walden Behavioral Care. “We’re honored to become part of the Metro Atlanta community, giving individuals what they deserve: the best possible chance for a lasting recovery.”
All ACE clinical and administrative staff will remain with the organization, including. Clinical Director & founder Linda Paulk Buchanan, Ph.D., and Clinical Director Rick Kilmer, Ph.D. Likewise, there will be no other changes to Walden’s staffing, locations or operations.
“Words cannot do justice for the high level of respect and admiration I have for Linda, Rick and their highly accomplished team,” added Koman. “This partnership is because of them. We’re excited to work together and build on the outstanding care they have become known for throughout Georgia and beyond.”
With the acquisition, Walden will now have 14 locations across Massachusetts, Connecticut and Georgia, including two inpatient units, one residential facility and 11 ambulatory clinics.
“Rick and I are so excited to join Walden – we immediately felt a connection with Stu, Walden’s staff and its treatment philosophy,” said Paulk Buchanan. “Our longstanding mission has been to provide intensive treatment to people with eating disorders, while minimizing disruption to their normal lives. By offering a full range of services for those in need, we now have an opportunity to build on that promise.”
Covington Associates, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Walden Behavioral Care. The Braff Group served as exclusive merger and acquisition advisor for Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders.
The ACE Blog features articles from the ACE staff to help increase awareness and education about eating disorders and to provide inspirational tips for healthy living year round.