Online eating disorder service TEDS encourages Leighton Buzzard residents to reach out

'We have worked in the NHS for around 22 years combined, and there's a huge gap within the service provision, particularly if individuals are 'not ill enough'.'

Friday, 18th June 2021, 1:56 pm

A new online service to help people with eating disorders has launched in Milton Keynes and residents from the Leighton Buzzard area are being encouraged to seek the support they need.

Local therapists, Clare Steedman and Rachael Alder-Byrne, are proud to introduce TEDS (The Eating Disorder Specialists) which offers bespoke online therapy packages to individuals aged 16 and above.

TEDS is described as "unique" because it provides specialist treatment based on an integrative therapy approach; in other words, the therapy addresses you as a whole person, considering your past, present and future challenges that may be holding you back from achieving your own recovery.

Clare and Rachael
Clare and Rachael

Clinical directors and co-founders Clare, from Leighton Buzzard, and Rachel, from Chalton, stated that they were inspired to start TEDS because they felt that too many people were slipping through the net when it came to receiving treatment in a timely manner.

Clare and Rachael told the LBO: "We have worked in the NHS for around 22 years combined, and there's a huge gap within the service provision, particularly if individuals are 'not ill enough'.

"Individuals can struggle to be seen by an NHS service unless you are extremely unwell, and by that point the eating disorder has already set in.

"We are really trying to fill that void and trying to increase early intervention in the community, so people can keep engaged within their lives, whilst working on their recovery."

They added: "In terms of recovering from an eating disorder, motivation for change is crucial, why does someone want to change? Everyone has different reasons, whether it is to engage in education, work, family life, etc.

"But if that person becomes very ill, and gets removed from their environment and put into an inpatient setting, then that door is shut as engagement in life is then limited."

The number of people who have screened positive for an eating disorder has nearly trebled since 2007 (NHS 2019), and the recent death of Big Brother star Nikki Grahame from anorexia, aged just 38, left a harrowing reminder about the need for better mental health support.

Clare and Rachael describe 'eating disorders' as an umbrella term for someone who has an unhealthy relationship with food, and explained that the illness rarely stems from vanity or a desire to lose weight, rather it is about using food as a way of control when other aspects of a person's life can feel unmanageable.

Rachael said: "We have found that there's not usually one specific cause or one specific reason. There's usually a mixture of factors or elements which come together in terms of the development of an eating disorder.

"Usually there's been issues or traumas or negative experiences. If that person can't manage their emotions, they may start to manage them through food."

Clare and Rachael are offering three bespoke TEDS therapy packages, which include both group and individual sessions.

The 'TEDS ARMOURED Group' is incorporated across all three packages and is a structured skill-based 12 week programme, designed to enhance self-awareness and build skills to enable eating disorder recovery. It includes topics such as body image, anxiety management, coping strategies, and assertiveness.

In addition, the individual therapy sessions are incorporated alongside, so that individuals can work on more specific, focused elements of their recovery, whilst being able to continue to engage in their everyday lives.

Clare will mainly focus on skill development, exploring helpful coping strategies to enable an individual to cope with distressing emotions (a client's present and future challenges), while Rachael will focus on a person's past, dealing, for example, with any traumas that have occurred. However, the therapy is very much integrated.

Meanwhile, Clare and Rachael are also offering a weekly Carers Group, described as "a supportive, safe space for individuals to share experiences and obtain guidance on how to continue being alongside their loved one".

Encouraging people to seek help, Clare said: "It's a very courageous step to take, and a huge step to take, but we are here to offer support and be alongside you in the process. Recovery is possible.

"We really care about our clients and it is our clients that are at the heart of our service."

Rachael added: "Clare and I have worked together for a long time and are really close friends, and everything [at TEDS] will be integrated and transparent. It's important for a person with a complex illness that people are on the same page.

"What I love about the job is that after people leave our care or therapy they go on and some have babies, some go to uni, and some have got married or move to another country.

"It's really emotional, because they didn't always think it was possible.

"They get in touch a few years later. To know we were working together as part of their journey, that's special."

If you would like help from TEDS, you can make an initial enquiry though the website (details below). You will be then be offered a free 20 minute brief telephone consultation and if both parties feel TEDS may be appropriate then the next step is to book an initial assessment with Clare and Rachael, which costs £150.

As a result of this assessment, recommendations will be made as to which TEDS Treatment Package would be best suited to your needs. Prices start from £60 per week.

Visit: www.edspecialists.co.ukInstagram: teds_edspecialist

Facebook: @tedsedspecialist

Twitter: @ed_specialists