We all know the importance of the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a day to spend time with family members and express gratitude for that which is good in our lives.
As clinicians in the behavioral health field, we are also profoundly aware of the challenge that an extravagant Thanksgiving meal can present to those struggling with an eating disorder. Additionally we recognize that if complex family relationships are a factor in an individual’s addiction or disorder, “family time” might not necessarily be viewed as desirable.
Because we always strive to meet the needs of our residents and the families alike, Timberline Knolls is offering special holiday meals this Thanksgiving. These on-campus celebrations are extended to those residents who would like to be with their families and create a new, positive holiday experience.
Guests will be treated to a traditional holiday meal, including turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, etc. But, far more than food, we are providing specialized support for all involved. Because meal time has often proved so difficult for parents in the past, we invited them to participate in conference calls regarding meal support prior to the event.
In addition to behavioral health specialists, an eating disorder specialist, dietitian and diet technician will participate in each meal to provide support to our residents.
The adolescent meal will last one hour, the adult 90 minutes. We do not want to reinforce the “big meal” (binge) experience so typically associated with this holiday. In addition, we want residents to keep to their normalized meal schedule that they have maintained while in treatment.
After the meal, the adolescent residents will participate in a gratitude experiential with their families and adult residents will engage in regular visiting hours. Later in the day, those who specifically struggle with a food-related disorder can participate in an additional eating disorders anonymous meeting on campus. The day will finish off with a sack lunch dinner and holiday movie for all residents.
A goal of recovery is to transform unhealthy into healthy on many levels. Spending time together on Thanksgiving at Timberline Knolls, families begin to discover how to enjoy this day in a new, healthy manner.