Life in Balance

Through this online art blog/gallery we can encourage, inspire and share hope with one another…We invite who you to share your “NAPS” (News, Art ,Poetry, Songs) or inspirations. Email info@edoyr.com if you would like to share inspirations. Please note we can not post advice with regards to nutrition and exercise.


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Q&A with Michelle De Faria: Family Therapy

Michelle De Faria is doing her placement at Eating Disorders of York Region.

Michelle De Faria (above) studied in the postgraduate Addictions and Mental Health program at Durham College and is completing her placement at Eating Disorders of York Region.

Until August 10, she will routinely answer different questions pertaining to family dynamics (in other words, how a family works) in relation to mental health.

Today, Michelle talks about what makes a family and family therapy.

Question: What makes a family?

Answer: The textbook definition of a family is two or more people involved in an important relationship.

In laymen’s terms, a family is a team or a unit of support and love. They provide guidance. This group of people could be anyone, from a team to a group of friends to coworkers to classmates. A family is anyone you find comfort with, and isn’t limited to relatives or people on your family tree.

Question: What is family therapy?

Answer: Family therapy is professional guidance to help solve family struggles. A family can meet whenever it is convenient for them to discuss issues that may have come up. It is beneficial for all members of the family to attend and participate.

Eating Disorders of York Region’s Guidance for Family and Friends support group, for example, strives to improve understanding within the family and self-care. This model also emphasizes that family members are not each other’s therapists but instead can benefit from expert guidance (even if all family members are not present). This group is led by a psychotherapist.

Question: What are the benefits of family therapy?

Answer: Family therapy allows for an objective, outside opinion that invites all issues, emotions and thoughts into a safe space. For example, if a mother and daughter are in a dispute, but the daughter feels her mother is misunderstanding the root of the problem, family therapy could allow for an objective voice to see the dispute in a new light, perhaps giving a new perspective to both parties.

In family therapy, groups work as a team towards a specific goal. Using the earlier example, the goal for the mother and daughter could be to understand why both parties are upset and to find a compromise and/or a solution.

Family therapy also resets the various roles in a family (parent, sibling, child, etc.) to reestablish boundaries and rules. If the daughter in the example used prior is acting more as a parent than the mother is, then the therapy can attempt to reestablish roles.

Question: How can a family be replenished?

Answer: As the family grows together, schedules change and lives get busy. It is important to still spend time together, even when there is limited time. Here are some fun activities a family can do together:

  • Family vacations (even weekend trips are enjoyable) 
  • Family dinners (fewer and fewer families spend dinner together. Dinner may be the best time to ask about someone’s day)
  • Family outings (day or night trips)
  • Preparing meals together 
  • Weekly recreational activities (walks, board games, movie nights, etc.)
For more information on family therapy, please visit the National Eating Disorder Information Centre.


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Guidance and Assistance for Family and Friends of Those Striving to Overcome an Eating Disorder

EDOYR presents a four week program, Guidance and Assistance for Family and Friends of Those Striving to Overcome an Eating Disorder support group with Flora Svinarenko, BSW, MSW, RSW.  It meets for four Tuesdays starting on July 3 from 6:45pm to 7:45pm.

Support for family and friends is vital in the recovery of a loved one. A family member or a friend needs to be a strong, safe and consistent source of support and needs to take care of themselves in order to do so. It is good to know that you are not alone when you experience stress, frustration or anger: an eating disorder affects the whole family.

LOCATION: 300 John Street, Suite 300
Thornhill ON, L3T 5W5
(Major intersection Bayview and John)

You can register online, here.


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Q&A with Michelle De Faria: Daily Routines and Family Rituals

Michelle De Faria is doing her placement at
Eating Disorders of York Region.

Michelle De Faria (right) studied in the postgraduate Addictions and Mental Health program at Durham College and is completing her placement at Eating Disorders of York Region.

Until August 10, she will routinely answer different questions pertaining to family dynamics (in other words, how a family works) in relation to mental health.

Today, Michelle talks about daily routines and family rituals.

Question: What is a daily routine?

Answer: A daily routine involves daily behaviours or activities that a family would take part in to maintain balance and structure. This routine is important because it gives the family a sturdy foundation.  For example, bedtime, chores and mealtime are all daily routines.
Question: How might a family member who has a mental health issue affect a family’s daily routine?
Answer: A family’s daily routines can be interrupted by the symptoms the person struggling may experience. The daily routine can also be affected by how family members react. Over time, daily routines are sometimes structured around the individual struggling to accommodate his or her needs. For example, a mother may stay up passed her bedtime if her child with bulimia nervosa purges late at night. 
Question: What is a family ritual?
Answer: A family ritual is an activity or group of activities that a family would share. The family may partake in these rituals on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Family rituals may also take place during special occasions. They can be transmitted from one generation to the next or can be created at any time. Examples include, but are not limited to, family celebrations, family birthdays, family vacations, family reunions and holidays.
Question: How can a mental health concern affect a family ritual?

Answer: A mental health concern can easily interrupt family rituals. For example, a family might decline an invitation to a family reunion because a member with anorexia nervosa may experience anxiety and feel overwhelmed at the event. As the disorder progresses, more rituals may be disrupted. It is important to strive to keep these family rituals active to ensure a balanced family system. Stress, tension and sometimes resentment within the family could result if these rituals are disrupted. As a whole, the family will both acknowledge and feel the loss of structure and balance. 

The above post contains facts and suggestions found in Chemical Dependency: A Family Affair by Olivia Curtis, a textbook used in the Addictions and Mental Health program at Durham College.