The government is calling for a national eating disorders strategy – does that mean a new strategy? We have a new strategy, one that we have been working on for a few years now. We think it’s time that true innovation in eating disorders receives the funding it needs so we can get our center open. At New Pathways Retreat Center, there are no dangerous side effects nor is the therapy harmful in any way.
Below is my letter to CBC in response to this interview.
This letter is in regard to your interview about eating disorders.
I am glad to hear that the government is declaring the need for a new strategy for dealing with this growing epidemic. A new strategy calls for a new perspective and greater understanding of little-known causes and potential cures. Might I suggest that innovation does not come out of existing institutions graduated from their own belief systems. I have been working to establish a Retreat Center with an innovative approach to healing eating disorders for four years now. New Pathways Retreat Center is ready to receive support to get our innovative center open!
I challenge existing beliefs that Dr. Pielan espoused, such as the idea that a person with an eating disorder needs to be “taught” how to eat again. People with eating disorders are the cream of the crop, brilliant individuals, and the issue is not relearning a forgotten motor skill of eating.
The main mode of rehabilitation is talk therapy. When an individual is in the grips of this illness they are not thinking clearly, so why would anyone try to appeal to them on this level? For example if someone was drunk, would you try to have a conversation with them about why they had gotten that way? A famous quote says it all, “You cannot solve the problem of the mind on the level of the mind.” Starving the body and mind creates distorted thinking.
A holistic mind-body approach believes that you must change the physiology to change a person’s psychology. This is where an innovative natural approach comes in.
Regarding drug therapy, when an individual is already in a weakened state this type of therapy is dangerous and does not bring greater clarity or self esteem. Using drugs just numbs the mind. Based on experience I believe that the highest rate of suicide for any mental illness comes from, since the side effects of the drugs people with eating disorders are given may make people anxious or suicidal.
The myth that eating disorders reflect family problems also prevails, dredging up every unpleasant life event and even rewrite history to fit a theory that it must be the mother’s fault for being too close to her child. If you were to say this to a First Nations, Jewish, Italian, East Indian, Greek, or Chinese family they would laugh at you. I think it’s noteworthy that no one ever mentions the sexual abuse that plays a big part in the development of an eating disorder. By deflecting to “it’s a family problem,” no one has to assume the culpability of a whole culture that creates the perfect environment for sexual abuse to flourish.
For us to truly move forward in progress, we need to override the monetary incentives by doctors and drug companies that stand to make big profits on the systems they already have in place. It’s a conflict of interest and only citizens with pure intentions can make the difference for worthwhile change to happen.
Barbara Nirman of New Pathways Retreat Center
Potential funders have asked; “where is our proven done-before, profit-making business model?” While each healing module is scientifically validated or evidenced based to work, it has not existed yet as a program. This is the nature of innovation.