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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Girls Circle Body Image and Self-Esteem Building Workshops start on July 11

Laura Connell, Girls Circle facilitator.

Starting Wed. July 11, Girls Circle comes to York Region with new workshops illustrating a research-based model that encourages girls to stay true to themselves.

“Through the research-based model of Girls Circle groups, I hope to empower girls by helping them see their true value which is more than skin deep. Girls deserve to celebrate and love themselves for who they are rather than what they look like,” says Laura Connell (right), Girls Circle facilitator in Richmond hill.

Each week at the Richmond Hill Central Library (located at Yonge St. and Major Mackenize Dr.), Connell will meet with and lead the six to 10 girls through a structured format. Girls will take turns talking and listening to one another about concerns and interests, Connell says.

Connell visited Eating Disorders of York Region last week to talk about expressionism, a style of art where the artist seeks to express emotional experience. Expressionism at Girls Circle will expand further with creative or focused activities like journaling, drawing, poetry collaging and the use of drama.

Guest speakers, in the fields of body image and self-esteem, are also welcome.

Girls Circle Body Image and Self-Esteem Building Workshops are for girls ages 11 to 14. For an early bird rate of $99, registrants will attend eight two-hour sessions every Wednesday from July 11 to August 29 from 6:30 to 8:30p.m. at the Richmond Hill Central Library.

For more information please visit www.mygirlscircle.com. To register call Connell at 4169039714 or e-mail her at girlscircle2012@gmail.com.


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Exceptional support group starts Tuesday July 10

Healing Emotional Eating: Using or Refusing Food to Cope is an exceptional support group facilitated by Marilyn Strauch M.A. (C) OACCPP Psychotherapist. It will take place starting on July 10 for four consecutive Tuesdays from 4:00 to 5:00p.m.

Those with eating disorders may restrict, overeat or emotionally eat in an effort to cope with uncomfortable negative emotions or to reinforce a positive mood. After each episode, there may be increased self-criticism around weight, body image and lack of control, in addition to long term negative physical conditions.

The group will be held at 115 Wertheim Court, Suite 511 in Richmond Hill, located east of West Beaver Creek and North of Hwy 7.

There are four spots left. Register online now.


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Life without Ed

EDOYR presents a six week program, Life without Ed, an eating disorder support group.  It will meet for six Mondays starting from July 9 from 5:00pm until 6:00pm. There will be no meeting on the long weekend.

LOCATION: Eating Disorders of York Region central office
15213 Yonge St., Ste. 15, Aurora, L4G 1L8
(just S. of Wellington, in the old post office building)
Register online, soon.


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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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Healing and Emotional Eating: Using or Refusing Food to Cope

Eating Disorders of York Region has a number of support groups coming up. See below for more information:

EDOYR presents a four week program, Healing and Emotional Eating: Using or Refusing Food to Cope with Marilyn Strauch M.A. (C) OACCPP Psychotherapist. It meets for four Tuesdays starting on July 10 from 4:00 to 5:00pm.

Individuals with eating disorders may restrict, overeat or emotionally eat in an effort to numb out or not deal with uncomfortable negative emotions, or to reinforce a positive mood. Unfortunately, after each episode, there is generally increased self- criticism around weight, body image and lack of control; in addition to long term negative physical conditions

LOCATION: Richmond Hill
115 Wertheim Court, Suite 511
(East off of West Beaver Creek, North of Hwy #7)

You can register for Healing and Emotional Eating: Using or Refusing food to Cope online.


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Writing to cope

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I’ve always been a writer.
In grade one, I kept a diary in a book with Tweety Bird on the front cover. It had a lock and key as well as confessions of my first crush.
In grade eight I had to write weekly journals for school, one being about a neighbour who passed away from Leukemia at the age of five. I was asked to share this one to my class. When I looked up from my notebook, everyone had tears in their eyes.
In high school, my journal’s front cover was decorated with City and Colour and Dashboard Confessional lyrics. On the inside, I wrote about high school frustrations, parties, friends, ex-friends, fights and stresses with family.
For the majority of my university career, I kept a blog, where I would write on a daily basis and communicate with my 100+ followers about how things were going, issues I felt like ranting about and my battle with confidence.
Photo by: Basykes
Last week, I felt the urge to start journaling privately again (in a notebook for my eyes only). So, I went out and purchased a notebook from the dollar store. I don’t just write about difficult topics or not-so-great days, but I also write about challenges, opportunities and my goal to stay positive.
It’s safe to say that for majority of my life, I’ve been writing to cope.
Sometimes, I keep feelings to myself. After a hard day at work, a family fight, a crushing realization or a difficult encounter, I really do not want to talk about the traumas I’ve experienced. As time goes on, though, I don’t feel relieved. Instead, I feel as if the things that have gotten under my skin are now in my blood stream preventing me from sleeping at night.
My thoughts revolve around the bothers that soon begin to eat away at my self-confidence, spirituality and sense of self.
After writing a journal entry about my day, including how I felt in each situation, however, I feel freed. I feel my chest change from the mass of a heavy paperweight to a light feather. I feel at peace and continue my day, or move on to the next one, with ease and a smile.
When traumatic or inspirational incidents take place, they fall into those two categories subjectively. What I feel is traumatic may not be on the same level as another person’s trauma, but the incident that may have disturbed me has subjectively become my own.
Writing down my thoughts allows me to communicate with my number one: Me. I can confide in my journal and myself because book binds, lined paper and pens don’t judge and neither do I. I know the thoughts and feelings I have and when I write them down, I am communicating with the one person who knows me best.
Most of the time, these journals become self-reflections. I’ll start off writing in an irritated or concerned tone and by my last sentence, I’ve mentally accepted the situation and found a way to look past it. I write down these re-evaluations, too.
The best part about journal writing for me, though, is when I go back and read entries from years, months, weeks, days or moments before. When I write, I keep in mind that my audience is myself. So, when I go back and read what I had written, I’m not only remembering how I felt earlier, but I’m also effectively coping with whatever experience I had written about (whether good or bad).
And when I close my journal and cap my pen, the tough moments or exciting revelations are still there, but this time, they don’t keep me from doing my best nor do they keep me up at night.
— Leviana Coccia