Our Services Include...
Peer Support & Counselling
Digital Support Online
One to One Support
Group Family Support
Shopping Making Choices
Resource Books for Eating Disorders
Training for Health Professionals
Recovery Training for Parents & Carers.
Free Digital Recovery Journal
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Nourishing Routes is an eating disorder support center located in Cheshire, England. We provide individual and group support services to those struggling with an eating disorder and their families. Our team of professionals are passionate about helping individuals find their path to healing and recovery.
Through our therapy, workshops, and support groups, we strive to provide the tools and resources needed to help individuals overcome their eating disorder. We believe in the power of connection and community, and are committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for everyone who comes to us for help.
WHAT ARE THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS OF PEER SUPPORT FOR EATING DISORDERS?
The use of peer support in the case of eating disorders can be supported by initially understanding how it can play a role in addressing and alleviating several factors that act to augment and
sustain eating disorder pathology. In particular, according to the cognitive-interpersonal mode of eating disorders (9 and 10), eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa are maintain through
four key factors:
Positive beliefs about the utility of the illness
A rigid, detail focused thinking style
Avoidance of the experience and expression of emotion
Problematic interpersonal relationships
To combat these sustaining factors, peer support can be considered as a compassion-centred recovery approach that offers opportunities for sufferers to develop mutual understanding and trust.
This can be used to allow individuals with eating disorders to self-manage and be guided forward in their recovery alongside someone with lived experience of their illness and related thought
patterns. For example, according to the recovery approach philosophy in England and Scotland (National Institute of Mental Health in England, 2005), peer support is one of the five main pillars
and processes of recovery, alongside hope and optimism about the future, confidence or self-efficacy to change, development of identity, having a sense of meaning in life, and experiencing empowerment. In support of peer support, unlike general psychotherapy, its use allows a means of connecting with others who have encountered similar problems. In particular, self-disclosure
can allow mentees with eating disorders to feel more able to open up about their own personal problems and experiences, thereby facilitating the sharing of problem solving techniques, practical
skills and methods that promote recovery orientated goals. Moreover, the use of peer support is advocated from the lens of self-determination theory (. This psychological proposes that three key factors - autonomy, self-competence and relatedness (i.e. positive social connection) with others) are the foundations that drive internal motivation and personal growth. Considering that individuals going through recovery from an eating disorder are more likely to experience better outcomes if they are intrinsically motivated to get well (e.g. over being externally forced or bribed), peer support
can help individuals’ positively alter their motivational style, while also offering a sense of autonomy (e.g. personal control over their choices) and meaningful social connection. For example,
research in eating disorders has associated perceived autonomy support from peer mentors to higher motivation to change, as well as self-compassion (Carter & Kelly 2015;
Van Der Kaap-Deeder et al., 2014). Furthermore, considering that individuals suffering from an eating disorder often experience social isolation (i.e. a poor sense of relatedness),
peer mentoring can serve as a way of reducing individuals’ sense of loneliness and helplessness. Likewise, the sharing of experiences while knowing someone similar to one’s self has been able to recovery from an eating disorder can provide hope and optimism for getting well and reclaiming back life. Peer mentoring relationships may also help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression, which may otherwise work to augment eating disorder behaviours and other symptoms.