September 8th, 2010
Adventure therapy is an integral part of Mirasol’s residential eating disorder treatment program, including hiking, camping, and also caving! On November 2, Mirasol clients accompanied by therapists and support staff explored a cave in the mountains near in Tucson.
This is not your grandmother’s cave. There are no lights and no walking path or protective railings. There’s nothing to illuminate your path but a small red flashlight
and the support of those around you.
Mirasol Clinical Director Diane Ryan thinks it’s a great metaphor for treatment.
“This is a place where we really have to help one another,” says Ryan. “There are a lot of places where it’s tight, and there are drops you can’t see, so you need someone to say, ‘put your foot here, put your hand there’. It drives home that message about depending on one another in a really healthy way.”
“There’s always a moment when you’re not sure you’re going to make it out. So we really use all of the things that we learn in treatment about breathing, and trying to relax and clearing our minds, and focusing to get through those tight spots.”
It was an unforgettable experience for one Mirasol client. “We had to learn to depend on one another, and let go of our own selves and learn that we do have limits, but we can trust one another,” she reports.
“The clients really had that spark to be there for one another and to communicate when things were tough and offer help and stay back and give others light in the hand whenever they needed it.”
Meals at Mirasol: No Taboos, Lots of Challenges
Mirasol’s nutrition philosophy has evolved over the years, based on feedback from former clients about what worked best for them after treatment.
Meals plans are highly individualized and based on the client’s weight goals. Our goal is to equip clients with the skills they need to develop their own meal plans so they can feel safe eating in different situations and live lives free of eating disorders.
Challenge Course Helps Heal Family Relationships
As part of Mirasol’s family program, both clients and their families participate in high ropes challenge courses, including zip lines, high “V” and giant ladders.
“Adding the challenge course has created a whole different dimension. Families often tell us that it was the highlight of the program. It helps them feel connected and learn to communicate in a different way. So it really does what we want family program to do, which is put them in a place where they will have a whole different relationship going forward.”
Cooking with Robert: Mirasol’s Creative New Chef
There have been big changes in Mirasol’s kitchen, thanks to our new chef, Robert Kuzyk. Kuzyk believes in maintaining an "open kitchen", encouraging clients to repair their relationships with food by becoming more involved in the process of creating it.
He describes his work with Mirasol clients as a ‘building process.’ "The first step is getting them to trust me, and then walking them through the process of preparing the food, so that they realize that what they’re getting is nutritional, healthy food that also fits into their meal plans. I have prepared beef for women who haven’t eaten beef in six years. Even some women who are strict vegetarians have been persuaded to try fish, or shrimp or crab cakes."
Polarity therapy is a holistic, energy-based system that includes bodywork, diet, exercise, and lifestyle counseling for the purpose of restoring and maintaining proper energy flows throughout the body. The underlying concept of polarity therapy is that all energy within the human body is based in electromagnetic force and that disease results from improperly dissipated energy.