Saturday, September 28, 2013

OCD, anxiety disorders focus of annual seminar

Alternative treatments to help eating disorder patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders will be the focus of the 14th Annual Erin Leah Robarge Memorial Seminar on Dec. 6 at the Radisson Hotel in Corning.

The seminar, “A Perfect Balance: Transforming the Obsessive Face of the Eating Disorder,” begins with registration at 8 a.m. and concludes by 4 p.m.

Eating disorder professionals know that OCD and anxiety disorders increase the severity of eating disorder behaviors because they are a way of coping. Recent research in neuroscience has led clinicians to recognize that reduction in obsessions and anxiety doesn’t come just in talk therapy; it results from therapeutic experience that affects the biochemistry and structure of the brain.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Laura Hill, a clinical psychologist and the president, CEO and Chief Clinical Officer of The Center for Balanced Living in Worthington, Ohio, a not-for-profit organization that specializes in the prevention, treatment and research of eating disorders. Her address will be “The Neurobiology of Eating Disorders with Clinical Applications for Clients and Families.”

“The morning program is going to look at what happens in the OCD brain and with people who struggle with anxiety,” said Carolyn Hodges Chaffee, president and CEO of Upstate New York Eating Disorder Service, one of the sponsors of the seminar. “We will look at the neurobiological changes that occur in the brain. Dr. Hill will explain why therapists use different modalities for different situations or time periods in the process.”

Dr. Hill, who has specialized in eating disorders and related issues for more than 30 years, is the former director of the National Eating Disorders Association and has published and lectured internationally. She was the 2011 recipient of NEDA’s Lori Irving Award for Excellence in Eating Disorder Prevention and Awareness. She has worked with Dr. Walter Kay to transform clinical interventions into biologically based tools for patients and their families.

The afternoon program will look at the following adjunct treatment methods that can be used to reduce anxiety so the patient can deal with obsessive-compulsive behaviors and depression:

■ Chemung County has a pilot project called Breathe and Heal, a model that incorporates balanced breath work with qigoing and yoga. It is a technique developed from the Breath-Body-Mind approach created by Dr. Richard P. Brown, M.D., and Dr. Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., and is an alternative approach to treating anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mood disorders.

Brian Hart, the director of community services with the Chemung County Department of Mental Hygiene, will demonstrate Breathe and Heal with the county training team members. The county is training staff to implement it in many settings, including clinics, schools, doctors’ offices and to assist people with disabilities.

■ Clare Brown, the program director of Sol Stone Center, will present “Beyond the ‘Talking Cure,’” which will highlight the key mind-body practices being integrated in the treatment of OCD and other anxiety disorders.

■ Joy Bennett, a certified yoga therapist, will guide participants in simple breathing strategies and yoga strategies that reduce anxiety. Joy has studied yoga extensively as a healing modality for trauma. She has studied with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., a pioneer in the use of yoga in the treatment of PTSD; David Emerson, E-RYT, the founder of Trauma-Sensitive Yoga; and Dr. Brown and Dr. Gerbarg, founders of Breath-Body-Mind. Joy is also registered with the Yoga Alliance and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

■ Andrew Seubert, M.A., NCC, of ClearPath Healing Arts, will talk about mindfulness and how it calms the obsessive brain and changes its physical structure, leading to control over brain activity.

Carolyn hopes participants gain some new therapeutic tools at the seminar.

“I want them to walk away with hands-on techniques, things that they can use in their practices to help their clients struggling with anxiety,” she said.

The Nutrition Clinic is a nationally recognized outpatient clinic committed to helping people make permanent, healthy lifestyle changes. The Sol Stone Center is a partial hospitalization program that specializes in treating people who have been unresponsive to outpatient care and/or people discharged from inpatient or residential settings.

Sponsors: Upstate New York Eating Disorder Service in Elmira, home to The Nutrition Clinic and Sol Stone Center; ClearPath Healing Arts Center in Corning; and Ophelia’s Place in Liverpool, N.Y.

History: The seminar was established in memory of Erin, who died in 2000 after a long struggle with an eating disorder. She was 23 years old.

Registration: $115 by Nov. 23 and $135 after Nov. 23.

Lunch: Provided.

To register: Call (607) 732-5646 or (877) 765-7866.

> Seminar schedule:

8 to 8:30 a.m.: Registration.
8:30 to 8:45: Welcome by Carolyn Hodges Chaffee, M.S., R.D., and Andrew Seubert, M.A., NCC.
8:45 to 11:45: Keynote address by Dr. Laura Hill.
11:45 to 12:45 p.m.: Lunch.
12:45 to 1:30: Breathe and Heal demonstration.
1:30 to 1:45: Clare Brown on mind-body practices in treatment.
1:45 to 2:45: Joy Bennett on yoga strategies to reduce anxiety.
2:45 to 3: Break.
3 to 3:45: Andrew Seubert on mindfulness.
3:45 to 4: Closing with Joy Bennett.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vestal office begins Eating Disorder Support Group Sept. 25

VESTAL – The Nutrition Clinic at 503 Plaza Drive in Vestal will offer a free Eating Disorder Support Group from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays starting Sept. 25.

Upstate New York Eating Disorder Service, a nationally and internationally recognized eating disorder treatment facility in Elmira, is home to The Nutrition Clinic, an outpatient  program, and Sol Stone Center, a partial hospitalization program.  In addition to Vestal, the clinic has offices in Ithaca and Syracuse.

The Vestal clinic also offers nutrition counseling on Thursdays and a group-based intensive outpatient program on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Monthly medical coverage is also available.

To learn more about the support group and other services in the Vestal office, contact the Elmira office at or (877) 765-7866.