From January 2023 our clinical boost programme will be open for everyone with an eating disorder!
Finding yourself again
Are you suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)? Are you at a point where you know you’re life has to change? Have previous treatments failed to help? Does the road to recovery sometimes feel endless or hopeless?
Our many years of experience have taught us that our intensive programme Human Concern Be-LeeF! can be an important step forward on your way to recovering from an eating disorder. In the 12 years since we began we’re honoured to have helped almost 600 cliënts to make positive steps towards sustainable recovery. With the guidance and support from highly trained Experienced Professionals® you too can begin on the journey back to yourself.
Our programme includes a six week residential at our tranquil location in Portugal. Together with a group of fellow participants you will be lovingly guided in a process of letting go of your past and future concerns and meeting yourself in the now.
”Without your external and supposedly trusted anchor points, you can do nothing else than return to yourself, your own inner compass!Human Concern
Where there’s a will there’s a way
Recovery from an eating disorder is often a process of trial and error, falling and, most importantly, getting back up! It’s a process of doing and believing that what you’re doing is meaningful and constructive. It’s a process of learning from your mistakes, and by doing so, gaining the trust and belief that recovery is possible and that you yourself have it in you to make it happen. To achieve this you need faith and hope. Strength and courage will be necessary to enable you to make difficult, sometimes frightening, new choices. Therefore, a strong internal motivation and desire to heal are ingredients you can’t do without.
Unfortunately this is something people tend to lose sight of during long struggles with eating disorders. You might be going round in circles, feeling blocked and stuck in old patterns because you simply don’t understand what it is that’s driving the behaviour. Maybe it seems that recovery is so impossibly far away that even the notion of getting better threatens to disappear and you feel like giving up.
The Human Concern Be-LeeF! programme is specially designed to encourage a breakthrough in your recovery process. Hope will be reawakened. You will practice intensively with everything that frightens you, all the things you no longer believe you can handle. With a strong focus on self trust and on gaining confidence, you will learn to look differently at yourself, others and also your eating disorder.
Practice in a safe and nurturing environment with our Experienced Professionals
Your journey begins in a place where safety plays a central role in all that we do. Being seen and feeling safe – this is really the basis for daring, experimenting, exploring, learning and growing.
Central to our philosophy are our Experienced Professionals* who will guide you through your process with dedication and respect. The Experienced Professionals have recovered from their own eating disorder, and have also witnessed many others work towards, and achieve lasting recovery. They are thus perfectly placed to nurture hope and motivation for positive change. Lasting recovery IS possible!
The therapists use of their own lived experience helps to create an atmosphere of open authenticity in which you can more easily explore your true self and gain crucial insight into your eating disorder. This open, honest sharing helps lessen feelings of shame and encourages deep self-enquiry.
* Experienced Professionals also hold relevant qualifications in mental health care and are intensively trained to use their own life experience in an appropriate and considerate manner.
Learn to follow your inner compass
- Gaining insight in the way in which you use the eating disorder and why (the so-called ‘functions’ of you eating disorder)
- Practicing with alternative ways to deal with problems, needs and emotions
- Investigating your own identity (who am I, what do I want, what don’t I want);
- Practising with social interaction: assertiveness, boundaries, connecting;
- Exploring needs and desires regarding life choices: school, work, relationships.
- Normalising of the diet
- Untangling of disordered or limiting thoughts and beliefs around nutrition and weight.
What does the programme consist of?
The Human Concern Be-LeeF! programme consists of four elements:
- Screening & Intake by our Intake team, online.
- A preparatory phase consisting of one or two sessions with our System therapist and an E-health module online.
- The residential boost programme in Portugal
- Follow-up process upon return, in the form of System therapy and online group sessions.
Our location in Portugal
Our location, where the residential part of our programme takes place, is situated in the Algarve, half an hour by car from Faro airport. It is a beautiful and peaceful place surrounded by vast and untouched nature. There you will be nestled among the hills in soothing silence.
Everything in Portugal is just a little different: the nature, the smell, the light, the people, the language and of course the wonderful climate. For a while, you will be far away from everything that is familiar and (seemingly) safe to you which makes it the ideal environment to work on loosening yourself from patterns that have become ridgid and limiting.
Above all, our location in Portugal is a santuary of hope and inspiration, of compassion and expertise. Here you can find space, peace and security allowing you to to devote necessary time and attention to your recovery.
During the first four weeks the group will stay in the main house, also known as the Quinta. During the last two weeks you will all stay more independently in one of the detached wooden cottages on the premises. During the entire period, you will follow group therapy, and some individual therapy sessions, on a daily basis. Everything you do during your stay as our guest is based upon experiential learning. Experiencing = Learning. A lot of the work takes place outside where the joy and healing benefits of nature can support you in your process.
A different way of relating to your eating disorder is necessary for recovery. What you are doing now is not helping. Developing a curious mind and a neutral attitude will allow you to discover the narrative behind your eating disorder. You’ll learn to consider your eating disorder not as a friend or an enemy, but as a source of information, telling you things about yourself. By understanding your eating disorder you will gain a closer, more authentic contact with yourself.
Exposure to food, cooking and eating plays a central part in our approach. You’ll learn where your food comes from, how it grows, smells and tastes. You’ll visit markets and farms and you’ll also help in the kitchen with the preparation of meals. In this way we help to untangle the disordered thoughts around food, to lessen anxiety around food and to normalise the eating patterns.
Requirements for participation
You will qualify for Human Concern Be-LeeF! if you are 18 years of age or above at the time of your stay in Portugal and are diagnosed with an eating disorder or if you have serious indications for an eating disorder.
It is also important that you are not seeking or expecting individual treatment, and are open to working in an intimate group setting with other participants suffering from eating disorders.
- Physical complaints: these should not be serious to such a degree that it would make the treatment irresponsible and/or require a more medical setting. For instance serious under/overweight (which will be measured during the intake), serious complications of the eating disorder such as arrhythmias or deviating blood levels. No surgical procedure in order to treat your eating disorder [for example a gastric bypass] should be planned.
- Psychological complaints: any other serious mental health problems, including psychosis, addiction problems, personality issues, an anxiety or compulsive disorder, PTSD, depression, impulse control disorders, aggression regulation problems that interfere with functioning in a group and/or require parallel treatment. Also serious current self-mutilation during the past three months, current suicidality or an attempt to suicide during the past six months, are contra-indications.
- Lack of eating disorder: sometimes there are some eating or weight problems, but they do not qualify as an eating disorder. For instance emotional eating without regular binge eating or occasional diet behaviour. Since the programme is not appropriate in this instance, we diagnose eating disorder in conformity with DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or Mental Disorders), as a requirement.
- Below average intelligence: you have to be able to reason and reflect on the assignments during your treatment.
- Lack of motivation for recovery: this could occur when, for instance, your parents or partner registered you, but you do not personally support this treatment. In case of a lack of motivation, the programme is not suitable for you and may cause you to disrupt the group process.
- Below the age of 18 years old, unless you reach the age of 18 just before your residence in Portugal.
Human Concern has no contracts with health insurance companies for the Be-LeeF! programme. As a result, you must seek your own means to finance the participation in time. It could be worthwhile to look at possible fiscal advantages in the area of health care, from the government in the country where you are residing. It is possibly worth considering if an employer might be willing to help fund necessary treatment.
Are you interested in the Human Concern Be-LeeF! programme?
Think you want to and can take advantage of our clinical boost treatment Human Concern Be-LeeF!, but still have questions? Then fill out the form below to request our comprehensive information brochure. Once we have received your request form, our brochure will be sent to you by e-mail as soon as possible. It may already provide you with many answers. Should you then be ready for the next step, you can sign up for one of our digital information sessions. You will receive both the dates and instructions on how to sign up for these together with the information brochure.
Request an information brochure
Thank you for your further interest in our clinical boost program Human Concern Be-LeeF! We request that you register for the online information session of your choice by filling out the information below (fields marked * required).
Once we receive your information, we will send you further instructions on how to participate in the online information session by email as soon as possible! Only after attending the information session can you enroll in the Human Concern Be-LeeF! program.
By submitting this registration form, you give Human Concern B.V. permission to keep the above information and, if necessary, to use it to contact you about this.
”During Be-LeeF! I moved mountains. I have gained insight into the function of my eating disorder and learned to focus on what is going on inside me and to talk about things that I struggle with. Now I stand up for myself and am no longer afraid of the consequences. For me this is a sign that I can be me. I really enjoy every aspect of life so much more. And even eating is a joy. This is truly a revelation to me!Former client Nanda (44)