Please click on a question below to see the answer.
Q: What happens in a group at Sheena’s Place?
A: We run 4 different types of groups, including support, body image, expressive arts and skill building groups. Please click here to see a description of each type of group. What occurs in each group depends on the type of group it is. Please refer to our seasonal program calender for brief descriptions of each group. A typical support group involves a check-in at the beginning, a professionally facilitated discussion, and a re-check at the end of the group. The level to which one participates is up to the individual.
Q: How many people are typically in a group?
A: The size of a group depends on the type of group it is. We have 3 large group rooms here at Sheena’s Place and they each hold approximately 15 to 20 people. Group size depends on how many people are in attendance on a particular day. Typically, we see 7 to 12 people in each of our groups.
Q: How many people attend groups at Sheena’s Place?
A: Close to 1,000 people register to attend a group at Sheena’s Place each year.
Q: It is my first time coming to a group at Sheena’s Place. Where do I go?
A: We are located at 87 Spadina Rd., which is a block north of Bloor St. on the east side. Click here for a map of where Sheena’s Place is. Once you reach Sheena’s Place, you will find a whiteboard in the front foyer that lists all the groups for that day and which room they are being held in. Our front desk volunteer will also be happy to direct you to the correct room.
Q: It is my first time and I am nervous. Do I have to participate?
A: We understand that the first time you attend group can be anxiety-provoking. There is never pressure to participate. You are welcome to just absorb the conversation around you. Remember that everyone in the group came for the first time at one point, and you can wait to participate until you feel ready to do so. Click here to read a client’s story about her first time at Sheena’s Place.
Q: I think my family member/friend/co-worker has an eating disorder. How do I discuss it with them?
A: Open your mind and suspend judgment, cynicism or doubt. Understand that an eating disorder is not a choice or an issue of vanity and try to avoid blaming statements. View the eating disorder as a coping strategy for dealing with emotions and conflict.
- Educate yourself about eating disorders to better understand what your friend/family member may be going through. Offer information about treatment options, programs and reading materials.
- Be trustworthy and honest. Let your friend or family member know that they are safe with you and that you will be there to listen. Do not make promises you cannot keep.
- Take care of your own social and emotional needs. Recognize that if you are emotionally or physically exhausted, you will be unable to provide much support.
- Allow the person with the problem to take responsibility for their actions. Respect their right to autonomy and privacy. Encourage them to live their own life, make their own decisions, and develop friendships and connections. Do not make excuses for someone’s eating behaviours.
- Acknowledge and act upon life-threatening situations. Call an ambulance or go to the emergency room.
- Reinforce the positive qualities of an individual and do not focus all attention on the eating disorder.
- Expect to be faced with denial of the problem.
- Be patient.
- Be optimistic and have hope.
- Respect the person’s choice for silence or to speak about the problem.
- Focus on issues of general health and well being, not appearance and weight, by emphasizing and complimenting characteristics other than weight or appearance.
- Examine your own issues regarding weight and shape. Suspend your own dieting behaviours (eat regular meals, shop for non-diet products, stop weighing yourself).
- Set limits to the behaviours you can and cannot tolerate. Do not try to take on more than you believe you can cope with.
- Be a friend, partner, mother, father, sister or brother, but do not try to take the place of a therapist.
- discussing food and weight.
- talking about the appearance, especially weight, of other women/men.
- engaging in power struggles related to eating and food.
- trying to control the person with the problem. Respect his or her ability to make decisions.
- breaking promises/confidences and being inconsistent.
- placing blame for the eating disorder on yourself, family members, or the individual struggling with one.
- teasing/bullying, especially concerning appearance and body shape.
- being ashamed of your daughter’s/son’s/friend’s eating disorder.
- putting pressure or deadlines on the individual for change/treatment.
- expecting a fast solution or recovery.
- displaying outbursts of emotion and anger.
Q: I have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, however, I have an unhealthy relationship with food. Is Sheena’s Place right for me?
A: You have already taken a very important step in recognizing that you have an unhealthy relationship with food. Many eating disorders go undiagnosed, and many people identify with several different types of eating disorder behaviours. Click here for definitions, signs and symptoms. Here at Sheena’s Place, we are based on self-referral. This means that you are not required to get a doctor’s letter to attend a group. Please refer to the middle section of our homepage to view a current program calendar. Many people start by taking a support group to see what a group setting is like. This will give you a chance to hear what other people are going through and to share your experience.
Still not sure? Give us a call and book an information interview. This is a chance for you to meet one on one with a volunteer who can show you around Sheena’s Place, go through our program calendar, and see if any of our groups are right for you.
Q: My adult family member/friend/co-worker has an eating disorder, but is refusing to get help. What can I do?
A: This is an issue many people face. At Sheena’s Place, group participation is based solely on self-referral, meaning your loved one wants to receive support. Be patient with your loved one, and let them know you are there for them when they do ask for help.
When you have a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder it can also be hard on you. It is important to ensure you have a support system in place. We run a group called “Family, Friends and Partners” that you can attend to explore your experience of having a family member, partner or friend living with an eating disorder.
Q: I have heard that some topics are “off-limits” at Sheena’s Place. How do you discuss recovery from an eating disorder without talking about food, calories, dieting, weight, etc.?
A: Food, weight, dieting, calories, specific eating disordered behaviours or exercise behaviours can often be triggering for others in the group. Remember that everyone in a group may be at a different stage in their recovery. We encourage participants to refer to being more or less symptomatic. Once you attend a few groups you will see how this type of discussion is still very effective.
Q: I am nervous about coming to Sheena’s Place for the first time. Can I visit the house and learn about the groups before registering?
A: We recognize that it may be difficult to make a choice about getting started with a group at Sheena’s Place. We offer information sessions, either by telephone or in person. This is an opportunity to learn about our groups and to ask any questions you may have.
The information interviews are available by appointment.
Q: I am interested in starting individual therapy. Does Sheena’s Place offer one-on-one support?
A: Individual therapy can be a great step in the journey to recovery. Sheena’s Place does not offer one-on-one support, however, many of our facilitators also have their own private practices. You can click here to see our current facilitators.
Another great place to look is the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) for an online listing of treatment services and resources nationally. You can find them at www.nedic.ca
Q: How much does it cost to attend groups at Sheena’s Place?
A: Sheena’s Place is a not-for-profit organization. We run groups free of charge thanks to our generous donors and sponsors.