Anxiety therapy in ED(6 Posts)
I am going to be working with clients in an eating disorder unit soon and would like to ask anyone who reads this what (if any) experience they have had of therapy to reduce anxiety in an EDU or hospital situation? Did you think it was appropriate for you and did you feel you gained anything like a lasting skill from it?
Last question - what unit based activity would you or someone you know like to do given a free choice? Thank you in advance for any replies.
OT? Professional here, so probably not quite the perspective you are asking for. There is a role for distracting activity on an EDU, especially during post meal sit downs - I have known clients enjoy knitting, crochet, origami, colouring. Concentration can be poor, so these activities help to build it. Its great to encourage people to be creative, and to be more expressive in their art, but this can be challenging if worried about making mistakes or losing control is an issue. Relaxation or mindfulness helpful, but equally challenging - using a 10 minute body scan relaxation is a good place to start, or stretching/yoga if permitted. Otherwise, anything that taps into peoples interests and enthusiasm - which will depend on the individuals and the group.
Yes, OT. I agree about creativity, SL, do you know if any clients have regarded learnt activity skills as transferable? I am looking at cost-effectiveness.
I would still like to hear from any service users if they have an opinion.
I had a range of therapies in EDU - CBT, emotion regulation, art therapy, nutrition, self-esteem, all sorts. Personally I find the emotion regulation techniques most useful for anxiety. A lot of people seem to find the mindfulness techniques quite helpful. And the art/creativity therapy was a good way of relaxing a bit, which also was positive for anxiety I think. Obviously it takes a long long time to change deep-rooted anxiety, but it has had some effect on me. I'm able to challenge anxiety a lot more now, go against it and 'act opposite'. And even just living in an EDU around 10 or so peers impacts anxiety - just the knowledge that you aren't hated, that people wanted to be around me and had fun with me.
For unit-based things, honestly anything was good! Creativity again - art things, colouring, card-making, scrapbooking, collages, mindmaps. Bananagrams was really popular in my unit, and a lot of people enjoyed joining in even if shy or quiet. Other board games. We even got Twister in my unit eventually, after much begging because we were bored and needed something more physical! (Obviously depending if appropriate). And against, these are things I keep up when I need distraction or when I am struggling at home as well, to keep my mind and my hands busy.
Livness thank you, I'm very grateful for your response on anxiety therapy. Can I ask if you took part in any goal-orientated activities (with a view to making a finished object) using a learnt skill? If you did, how did you feel about what you produced, for instance did the object/s remind you of your time on the unit in a positive or negative way?
I understand completely about keeping occupied to try to push out thoughts around ED. I have heard it said by service users that a person keeps living with the addiction, it's always there, it's how you live with it that determines to what extent it affects your life. How do you feel about that idea?
I hope your recovery is continuing in a positive way for you.
I can't think of anything specifically aimed to be goal-orientated in general, but some of the art therapy projects were. We could choose what we wanted to do each week - I often did things just for one session, but I made myself a play-swing out of clay (so that it 'worked' with string for the chains and a little seat etc). So it wasn't anxiety therapy, just an art project. But it was effective as art therapy. I used to enjoy going to the swings on my afternoon leave to relax, so I loved my little clay swing as a reminder of positive things, and I was really proud of it because I'd spent time working on it and creating it. I kept it up on my shelf at home until it eventually broke.
Definitely agree about the 'always being there' aspect of eating disorders. It is like an addiction. You can't get away from it, you can't not do it. You have to do it every single day for the rest of your life, and even if you recover to the point of being able to eat and maintain a healthy weight, I think the underlying thoughts and anxieties can remain (at least for a long time).
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