When I first launched this website, I was introduced to an adult with ARFID. Meeting this individual was a blessing. I was able to have a very real conversation with an adult about what my child was going through, rather than trying to guess from the parent perspective. One of the things that stuck out in our conversation was his description of how he was able to get that first piece of food in his mouth. He talked about "imagining". He said that you first have to get comfortable or relaxed with the "thought" of the food in front of you before you can be comfortable and relaxed with the "actual" food in front of you. This made perfect sense to me. Yet, many of the therapies that we have tried all began with being "exposed" to the food as the first step, which was activating my son's fear. The "imaging" can take several weeks too. It is not something to be forced.
Recently, we began working with a wonderful doctor in Arizona. One of the techniques that she used with my son included "imagining". How curious I was to see it in action! It brought me right back to my initial conversation with the adult with ARFID. After a weekend intensive therapy in Arizona, I began to continue the work of "imagining" with my son at home. Choosing a day and time when my son is most relaxed has become very important (i.e. not cramming it in between a busy evening of sports). I also have the expectation that this will take "time". My son fears food and I would like to help him gradually work toward acceptance.
As I was pondering all I have learned about "Imagining", I received an email from a holistic health organization regarding "manifesting" your ideal life. As I read through the article, it occurred to me that "manifesting" and "imagining" have a great deal in common. Manifesting is the act of "thinking" about yourself in a situation where you have reached your goal. If you think about it enough, then you will continuously takes steps toward achieving your goal, whether or not you are consciously aware of it. Many elite athletes go through this process called "visualization". Visualizing yourself on the course or winning the race. Thinking about yourself opening a small business or moving to a new house. The more you think, the more your create the opportunities that will lead you toward your goal. So, why would it be any different for my son wanting to try a new food. His desire is there. He wants to eat what his peers eat. If he begins to "imagine" himself eating a food, then he will slowly open himself to doing it. Wonderful :) And certainly worth doing!
Objection w/out Constriction
Below is a video of my mentor, Dr. Kim and her client MacKalean. I have permission to share this video with you all. It is part of the ARFID "recipe". There are many techniques, that when combined, greatly help ARFID individuals. This technique involves "imagination" - being able to comfortably imagine eating a challenge food before actually trying to eat it. It involves pendulating between a safe food and challenge food, which helps ease up the response from the challenge food. This is called "Objection w/out Constriction". Please watch the video!