The Ventura County Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (VC-CAMFT) is a non-profit organization of mental health professionals (https://vc-camft.org/about-us/) . We were honored to be featured in their latest newsletter. The full-page "Spotlight" article focused on the services we offer, particularly during this time of physical distancing. Also highlighted is a summary and "unpacking" of the recent "Neurobiology of Trauma Healing" webinar from our very own Co-Owner Susan Richter, LMFT, CEDS.
As a Registered Dietitian, I was trained very traditionally, prepared to work in a hospital, as the "expert". In my 17 year career, I have had a lot of time to find a perspective that makes sense to me and supports clients to find their way to a way of eating/living that does not cause harm.
I work using principles of Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size from a place of non judgement and compassion. There are no "good" foods, there are no "bad" foods. I do not even think of food as "healthy". I believe we, the human being, are healthy. Food can lend to our health, is necessary for survival, and food contains nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, fluid), so it is nutritious. All foods contain nutrients, so all foods are nutritious. I am not saying foods are equally nutritious (varying ratios of nutrients), but all foods provide the body with nutrients that it can use.
First steps are in an attempt to level the playing field of food. If we think of a certain food as "bad" or "unhealthy", and we eat it (we all know how many different directions we can take this!). Our culture sends all of us way too many messages regarding what we should/shouldn't do especially when it comes to food/body). My clients have full permission to eat what they want to eat, we work for the clients to reach this place for themselves. We want our clients to have adequacy, enough food, to allow for their brains and bodies to be ready for the work they do with all of us. If the brain is not nourished, there really isn't capacity to work on healing when the body is attempting to survive.
From adequacy we can see how a client's history may interfere with a positive relationship with food/body. We create a space that will allow clients to see that food is so much more than weight gain, nutrients, gluttony, etc. We also allow our clients to discover the messaging they have been receiving and be able to continue on with the belief or discard if it no longer holds true or serves them.
My belief is that when our clients can reestablish a connection with the wisdom of body, their relationship with food and body will be forever changed. When we can acknowledge/honor/respect the cues the body provides we are working with the body instead of against it. This is where the app Recovery Record comes in. We are working to reestablish connection with hunger and fullness cues and the nuance of the many levels of hunger/fullness. When we can identify if we are hungry, when we are hungry, how hungry we are or are not, we can also look at how we are feeling and determine if food is really the thing we need at that certain time.
We were all born into diet culture, we may not be aware of the messaging and the profits gained from those who create the messaging. The best way that I have heard it said is:
"We were all born into the culture without consent. I attempt to provide an alternative path for my clients. If in the end, my clients choose not to follow the path I have introduced to them, they can reenter diet culture giving consent"
The Health at Every Size component is that ALL bodies deserve respect. And that we cannot know anything about someone just by looking at them. Celebrating diversity, honoring differences, challenging assumptions (scientific and personal), valuing body knowledge and lived experiences, finding joy in movement, eating in a flexible, attuned manner valuing pleasure and honoring internal cues.
I hope that this gives a glimpse of how I work and how it contributes to the whole of our clients.
I am happy to connect with anyone who may have questions.
Happy Holidays to Everyone!!
In addition to the resources we offer at The New Beginnings Center, we also wanted to provide a list of other online mental health resources available during the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Being physically distant from friends, family, and our regular social structures can cause increased anxiety and loneliness. It is important that we care for our mental health under "normal" circumstances and even more so during these complicated times. Please make use of these websites and share with others who may benefit from this information.
None of us alone have the knowledge, experience and resources to end centuries of racism or heal the pain and trauma that has resulted from the hate, prejudice and white privilege woven through our governmental and societal structures. It is going to take all of us speaking out, listening up, advocating, creating and joining together to pave a future that closes the racial divide and heals the wounds of oppression.
We presented a two-part series entitled "All of Us. Together.” in order to learn about the origins of systemic racism and steps that can be taken to advocate for change.
Combating Racism: How To Be An Active Ally In A Society Plagued By Systemic Racism with Miaya Wright Allen & Emem Brown
We will discuss racism, its institutionalized and systemic manifestations and action steps to take in becoming well-informed as an ally in supporting African Americans
Showing Up for Racial Justice: Reflections and Resources for this moment with Nicolette Walker & Jonathan Horton
An introduction to the organization, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), sharing of resources for anyone new to social justice work and addressing “white supremacy culture.”
Our country is having a national discussion about systemic racism and oppression that is long overdue. None of us have all the answers alone. At The New Beginnings Center we do not have the all the answers, but seek out being proactive, starting conversations about privilege, white fragility, systemic racism and oppression, so we may learn from each other. Below you will find a list of resources that will help us all learn and grow together.
Surgery Redesigned produced this helpful flow chart to envision the process of becoming anti-racist. We thank them for producing this graphic and for making it available for sharing.
Anti-Racism Resources Document to Share with Family and Friends
This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
by Layla Saad
Thousands of people from around the world were galvanized by the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge, examining and owning responsibility for the ways in which they uphold white supremacy. Over 80,000 people downloaded her guide to the movement, Me and White Supremacy Workbook in the space of just six months. And now, that guide is a published book.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
by Robin J. DiAngelo
The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
An insightful article on the Medium platform which outlines helpful steps that each person can take to steer our lives and our world toward racial justice.
We join George Floyd’s family, friends, and community in mourning his death at the hands of the police. We also remember Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and the countless other people of color whose lives were brutally taken by the violence resulting from centuries of systematic racism and oppression.
We, at The New Beginnings Center, are grateful for the thousands of people from every facet of society who have marched in the streets and called for an end to the scourge of institutional racism. We join our voices with other justice seekers in demanding that those in power recognize in real, visible and demonstrable ways, that Black Lives Matter. It is our deep hope that the current voices of protest will not fade with the news cycle and that meaningful and lasting change results from this overdue national dialogue.
It is in a time such as this, that each of us are called to use our voices, resourcefulness and creativity in order to create a more just and equitable world. None of us alone have the knowledge, experience and resources to end centuries of racism or heal the pain and trauma that has resulted from the hate, prejudice and white privilege woven through our governmental and societal structures. It is going to take all of us speaking out, listening up, advocating, creating and joining together to pave a future that closes the racial divide and heals the wounds of oppression.
Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University, Dr. Cornel West said,
“None of us alone can save the nation or the world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.”
We have used this concept as the framework for our discussion about how we can be of service during this extraordinary time:
With deep sorrow for the injustice that has been, determination for a present full of voice and action, and commitment to a more loving and just future,
~The New Beginnings Center Staff
Our team of practitioners has created a free series of conversational and educational webinars to help you and those around you through this stressful time and return to what feels better. We understand that during this difficult time, our individual and collective resilience may be challenged, leading to increased anxiety, depression, chronic pain or other symptoms. Our brains and bodies are designed to manage stress and even trauma and be able to recover and heal if given adequate support. We will be offering education about how stress and trauma impact our mind, body, and heart, and how to heal them. We hope you’ll watch these webinars and share these resources with others.
Neurobiology of Trauma Healing: