There is always an excitement about attending conferences that are geared to your profession. Anticipating hearing new or cutting edge findings or treatment innovations is an incentive for attending. This year the ICED 2013 was held in the wonderful city of Montreal in Canada. Rather than the typically rather chilly weather expected there this time of year, the weather was unbelievable with temperatures warmer than we were experiencing in Florida, and brought to us under the canopy of a clear blue sky! What a treat!
Speakers were exceptional, and the latest research findings were presented in well-attended plenary sessions and breakout sessions as well. We heard the latest findings about the effects of eating disorders on the human brain and the associated changes, as well as learning that the shift in the prevalence of eating disorders among males is.
A number of us “Old Timer” eating disorder treatment centers who have been around for over 20 years were in attendance in addition to some of the newer facilities. As usual, we discussed the trends of treatment and shared techniques that we are using that seem to be helpful to our clients.
However, what stands out as my most memorable moments of the conference were the times when people came by and shared their appreciation of the work we had done with referrals they had made to Canopy Cove. A therapist from a Midwestern state stopped by to speak with us about a young adolescent she had referred to us and assured us that she was continuing to be separate from her eating disorder and was doing well! Other therapists and psychiatrists from different states ~ and even a few from other countries ~ also visited with us and shared positive stories as well.
One young woman stopped by and spoke with us about the opportunity to work with us as a therapist. After a lengthy conversation, she shared that she stopped by because she saw that we were a Christian based center and that was important to her.
But I think the most meaningful experience I had during the entire conference was when a gentleman from Great Britain stopped by the Canopy Cove booth just as the conference was ending to inquire about our programs. At first, he seemed reserved and very focused on gathering information about our levels of care. Then, the conversation shifted to the Christianity component of our treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorders. I spoke at long length answering his questions and talking about how Christianity is an important part of our treatment, yet explained that we do not force anyone to accept our beliefs and make effort to respect their right to choose their own religious beliefs. He seemed somewhat guarded when asking if we could openly state that we were Christian based, and it seemed that he really questioned our approach. However, as our conversation drew to an end, he stepped close, smiled, and thanked me for having the courage to profess that we are a Christian centered program. He disclosed that he too was a Christian and that he had stopped to talk with us because he saw that we acknowledged the significance of Christ in our lives at Canopy Cove. He walked away with a final comment, “God Bless.”
~Dr. Lynda Brogdon