Restored Eating Disorders Services
Dorset Mind’s Restored Eating Disorders Services seek to support, empower and restore lives to overcome the effects of eating disorders. We work alongside people with Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder as well as un-diagnosed conditions where issues surrounding food get out of control.
With a team made up of professionals and volunteers experienced in eating disorders, whether first hand or through caring for others, we provide a unique, stepped level of care.
Our service is tailored to the individual needs of those who come to us, offering a holistic approach to aid all aspects of recovery. At Restored, we believe that full recovery is not only possible, but also achievable. We have recovered people on our team, who inspire hope for recovery and are living proof that an eating disorder does not have to be a life sentence. The team has had the privilege of seeing lives restored and transformed over the past 6 years.
‘It’s not about food’
We understand that the real problem is not one of food, but of feelings. We have an 8-week mentoring programme to prepare individuals for change, followed by optional counselling/psychotherapy, health & lifestyle coaching, meal and shopping support. Alongside this, we run free weekly group therapy sessions. Our programme is tailor made for each service-user according to his/her individual needs.
Restored also offers bespoke training sessions for professionals who work alongside people with eating disorders.
Restored provide specialist eating disorders services in schools and colleges. Our school service includes assemblies, PSHE lessons, parent talks, 1:1 mentoring, counselling/psychotherapy and meal support as well as staff training sessions.
Counselling and Psychotherapy
Counselling is fundamental to a person’s recovery from an eating disorder. Recovering from an eating disorder can be difficult without addressing the underlying issues. Counselling can help to come to terms with family situations, bullying, anger, loss, trauma or hurt.
Restored offers an in-house counselling service with Counsellors & Psychotherapists affiliated or accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. We have a team of 7 counsellors who are experienced in working with people with eating disorders, including some student counsellors who are trained to Diploma Level. They all use an integrative Humanistic approach and are trained in Person-Centred, TA and Gestalt therapy. This service is available after the initial 8 mentoring sessions, at a point when the service-user feels ready to start to deal with the issues beneath the eating disorder. We offer a sliding scale of counselling charges in order to accommodate the needs of all our service-users and nobody is refused support for financial reasons.
Recovery group is a discussion group where each session is based around a different topic each week. Recovery group is led by Debbie Gamble and Kate Bright. Kate has recovered from an eating disorder. This is a very safe environment to gain more understanding of eating disorders and to gain support from those who are struggling with similar problems. The group is very motivating because it is coordinated by people who understand the journey of recovery and have experienced it themselves. Recovery group meets on a weekly basis from 7.15pm-8.30pm (Hot Drinks and open chat from 7.15pm) at Lifecentre, 715 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, BH9 2AU. At present, due to the high volume of people requiring our services we are asking all those who are on waiting lists for on-to-one sessions to commit to attending 4 recovering groups. Please speak to a member of the team if you would like to find out more information. Please note, you will need to book an initial assessment prior to attending Recovery Group.
What to Expect?
When you first make contact with Restored, we will book you in for a 40 minute initial assessment. If we think you will benefit from our services, you will be asked to attend a minimum of 4 group therapy sessions to demonstrate your commitment to recovery. We then allocate you a Mentor, to coach you through our 8 week CBT-based programme to help manage your symptoms, build upon your motivation and prepare you for change. As and when you and your Mentor feel you are ready, we can pair you up with a Counsellor/Psychotherapist to support you in dealing with underlying emotions and equip you to manage all aspects of recovery. Depending on your needs, at this stage, you can also request support for eating in public, food shopping, nutrition and health & lifestyle coaching.
We offer 1:1 counselling for those caring for someone with an eating disorder (family/friends), as well as a Carer’s Group, which meets every week. Carer’s Group provides a safe space for you to meet people who understand the nature of eating disorders, share hopes and fears in confidence and make new friends over a cup of tea or coffee. We also have books and resources to help support you in your role as a carer.
Carers Support Group
We welcome anyone in support of somebody with an eating disorder to come along to our supporters group on a Wednesday evening from 7.30-8.45pm. Come along for an informal chat over a cup of tea or coffee. Meet others in the same boat and receive support, insight and guidance from our experienced Support Workers. No need to book, just pop in to the Life House, 715 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth. BH9 2AU. If you wish to be added to our Carer’s contact list, please contact us and we will keep you up to date with regular emails.
Carers 1:1 Support
We offer 1:1 support for anyone caring for someone with an eating disorder. Please call the office or email us to book an appointment. These appointments are based at the Lifehouse, 715 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, BH9 2AU.
The NHS Carer Support Group
For carers of young people: From 7pm-8.30pm on the last Wednesday of every month at Kimmeridge Court, 69 Haven Road, Canford Cliffs, Poole, BH13 7LN, tel:01202 492147. For any carers: From 7pm-8:30pm on the last Thursday of every month at Kimmeridge Court Eating Disorder Service. St Ann’s Hospital, 59 Haven Road, Poole, BH13 7LN.
Do I Have an Eating Disorder?
Boys, girls, men and women from all types of background and ethnic groups can suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders are a way of coping with feelings that are making you unhappy or depressed. It may be difficult to face up to and talk about, feelings like anger, sadness, guilt, loss or fear. An eating disorder is a sign that you need help in coping with life, and sorting personal problems.
Conditions as complex as eating disorders mean that there are variations in the typical signs, and not all symptoms will apply to all people. You may feel that you have a mixture of anorexia and bulimia, or alternate between them. Some people also find they are affected by an urge to harm themselves or abuse alcohol or drugs. Even if you don’t have these symptoms if you are worried and upset by something, anything, it is important you find someone to talk to. Don’t bottle it all up.
Eating Disorders do not include food allergies, selective eating issues or disorders of the digestive system. However, a G.P should be the first point of call for these issues as well as for eating disorders.
I suffered with eating disorders for ten years. I lived this period of my life as though tied up in chains, bound by a strict set of self-imposed rules regarding food, weight and exercise. Life was exhausting. I was constantly pre-occupied with what I had eaten and wasted hours planning how I could cut down on my next meal. I exercised excessively, trying to burn off more calories than I consumed and I weighed myself several times a day. My self-esteem was low and I struggled to maintain relationships. My eating disorder functioned as a way to block out difficult emotions. At times of stress and when hurt it was easier to think about food than it was to deal with my feelings. I used my eating disorder to shut out pain and make myself numb to the world around me. This left me feeling isolated, lonely and uncertain about my future. My weight was dangerously low, my periods stopped completely, and a bone density scan showed I had thinning bones. I was in desperate need of help. These physical effects on my body were a massive wake-up call and kick started me to seriously think about weight restoration. I dreamed of having children one day and getting my periods back was a strong motivator for me to get better.
Embarking on the journey of recovery felt very daunting at first. My eating disorder had been a part of my existence for so long, initially it was hard to imagine my life without it. But recovery was a gradual process and with time, therapy and support, I got to the place where I am today, free from the chains of my eating disorder.
Nowadays my life is a stark contrast. It is full of light and hope for the future. My relationships are far more open and I have freedom to pursue life’s opportunities as they arise. I lead a healthy lifestyle and my relationship with food and exercise is positive. Of course life still has its challenges, and like anyone, I experience stress and other negative emotions at times. The difference now is that I no longer use an eating disorder to cope. I can deal with whatever life throws at me in a healthy way.
My experience of recovery is that you simply can’t do it alone. Reaching out to friends and family is so important. It is also invaluable to have access to a support organisation which is removed from the everyday stresses of work and family life. The team at Restored have a wealth of professional and personal experience of eating disorders and a real passion to reach out to people who are suffering. Some of the team also have previously lived with and recovered from eating disorders and can really understand what you are going through. Recovery can at times feel like a long and exhausting process. And to have someone walk alongside you during those times will keep you going, one step at a time
“What can I say? Having tried to support my daughter (31) who has been suffering from Anorexia for over 10 years, although I only found out 7 years ago that she was ill, Restored have been there during the hardest times – watching my daughter hit ‘rock bottom’ and waiting for treatment. The despair of watching your daughter disappear before your eyes, each day that goes by and being utterly powerless to do anything to change the tide – until you live the experience, it cannot be understood.
I had been searching for some support for me, to make sense of what was happening, why my daughter, what could be the path to recovery? I had asked the GP, the Eating Disorders service treating my daughter, the Health Authority Counselling services……but nobody could offer me any support (the best offers I had were anti-depressants or a carers group for those with cancer/physical disabilities or dementia).
By chance, I found Restored whilst doing an internet search for help & support for carers and from my first visit to their carers support group, I felt that at last, there were people who would support me, help me, listen to me, understand me and most of all…not judge me.
I met other families who were in the same position as me as well as mothers who have daughters who are on the path to recovery – they were able to empathise but also give hope – hope that recovery is possible.
The weekly group meeting affords us all the opportunity to be understood – we can say ANYTHING and not feel stupid, as everybody’s thoughts and feelings are respected. Many tears can be shed (something we cannot do at home) but we laugh too. Everybody, staff and members of the group UNDERSTAND without having to explain about the complexities of this horrendous illness that robs us of our daughters and plunges the families into a huge downward spiral from which there seems no escape and no end.
The staff team understand our fears and hopes and ‘get’ where we are coming from, they never fail to give the right support and sound suggestions and advice throughout the roller coaster of a journey we have to endure, they genuinely CARE. The other parents in the group give hugs when needed, share information about treatment paths, approaches to different problems – somebody has always had to find a way through the latest issue the illness has thrown up, tips, tricks and a sound information base regarding the vagaries of the NHS treatment of this insidious illness.
The staff team engaged my daughter in their mentoring scheme and this was the turning point for her, as she then found the strength to believe she could possibly recover and to seek inpatient treatment to start her journey – she holds on to the fact that when she is discharged, Restored will be there to support her in continuing her journey to help her believe that she can recover and there are people who care about her, because of WHO she is, not WHAT she is.
So, Restored to me has meant (and continues to mean) – LIFE, HOPE, SUPPORT. Without Restored, I dread to think where my daughter and I would be. I constantly thank goodness that I stumbled across their details, because without them……….I dare not think where we would be now.”
Feedback from other clients
‘Restored provides a completely professional and caring support network for people struggling to overcome all types of eating disorders. Restored is a wonderful organisation, which has been and continues to be a very positive influence on my life.’
‘I have visited Restored for a year and have found the service incredible. The service provided has literally changed my life for the first time in 30+ years and I do not know what I would have done if I had not had access.’
‘Having an eating disorder is a lonely experience. Restored and the people who work there make you realise you do not have to fight on your own. Their compassion and support offer hope where you thought there was none. Recovery becomes more than an impossible dream; something that can be reached for, one step at a time, knowing there are people who care walking with you every step of the way.’
‘…I had never spoke to another person that had an eating disorder before so going to Restored was so good for my recovery, knowing that there were other people just like me. The staff were really friendly to and always made you feel welcome. It felt like it was like a second family to me.’
‘Using Restored helped me to recognise that my behaviour around food was not only unhelpful but also damaging. I was encouraged to seek further help and supported through the early stages of weight restoration. Have recommended Restored to a couple of friends and will continue to do so. Services like this are invaluable when treatment on the NHS is so limited.’
‘I think Restored is an amazing place. For the first time I feel that I am surrounded by a group of people that are not judging me and have given up their time to help me recover. Also having a recovery group run by people that have recovered from eating disorders is inspirational. I finally feel that there are people to help me on my recovery journey and that I am not fighting this battle on my own.’
‘I am now recovered from my eating disorder. I have no doubt that I would not have been able to achieve this without the support and services Restored offered me. The people I met there supported and inspired me to get well and stay well. During some of my darkest and most challenging times in recovery accessing the Restored support quiet simply kept me alive. I have been able to go back to university and I am able to work now, I have a life I never thought I would be able to achieve. I am grateful for every single person I met at Restored.’
‘Restored has helped me so much with coming to terms with my eating disorder and helping me to overcome it. They never pushed me further than I wanted, and allowed me to take baby steps. They were so supportive and offered a great deal of options, which were tailored to my personality and physical/emotional needs.’