MEET SANDI JAMES
Sandi is a lived experience clinician and researcher, a certified eating disorder recovery coach, and a vocal advocate. She has recently presented a webinar looking at Surf Therapy and water-based approaches to healing for complex and co-occurring disorders, ran a pilot Mindfulness-Based Circus Arts program for young people struggling with mental health, and is about to start a Ph.D. program researching the experiences of eating disorder treatment: identifying, responding to, and addressing harm experienced throughout the treatment process.
Sandi is a surfer, scuba diver, and enjoys everything outdoors, and is passionate about working with people from a harm reduction and person-centered approach to help others find recovery.
IN THIS PODCAST
- How surfing helps
- Surfing as an aspect of treatment
- Become involved in the community
How surfing helpsSandi takes people out into life. Through surfing, or kayaking, she takes them into water and into the world to both appreciate the beauty of what’s out there and to get them out of their heads and into their body in a new, safe, and playful way. If someone is not able to surf, she usually takes them canoeing or kayaking.
There’s still the water, still the engagement with life and not punishing them for not achieving the goal or whatever, but providing an alternative that is still pretty spectacular to do. (Sandi James)With surfing, you can learn new things about yourself and the world, and how you approach life, because it teaches you many new lessons. It teaches you how to be patient with yourself, how to get back up again and again, and how to have fun while doing it.
If you’re in the surf, it’s about building mastery. It’s about falling down, laughing, [and] getting back up. Like, it’s not the end of the world if you can’t do it today, we try again tomorrow. (Sandi James)
Surfing as an aspect of treatmentEvery person responds differently to treatment for an eating disorder, and there is no fixed option or one-size-fits-all for anyone. If a person is going through recovery, it may take lots of different types of healing and helpful modalities to get them from one place to the next. Surfing can be one of these steps because it allows you to interact with your body in a way where you are aware, where you are having fun, interacting directly with nature, and practicing failure as a pathway to joy, not the opposite.
There’s a lot of work going into looking at the flow state that you get into [while surfing] and that’s accessible through other methods as well. (Sandi James)The flow state that you can achieve through surfing is also available to people through things like drawing, singing, or moving the body in other ways. Surfing can also be considered a form of nature therapy.
Become involved in the communityWhen you find yourself a good group of people who can meet you where you are, make sure to give back to the group as well by sharing your experience. Remember that eating disorder thoughts prefer shame and silence, so you can more easily eradicate them when you share them with others that you feel safe around. After some time, you can connect more closely with what is real and around you than the ED thoughts that are trying to convince you otherwise.
Until you step back and go, [“What?”] And I guess that’s where the humor comes in … when you laugh at it, it loses a lot of power. (Sandi James)
- Visit Sandi's website and connect on her personal and business Instagram profiles.
- Check out the International Surf Therapy Organization!
- MEN AND EATING DISORDER WTH JONNY LANDELS | EP 155
- Visit speakpipe.com/behindthebite and submit your comment via voice message!
- Sign up for the free Behind The Bite Course
- Practice of the Practice Network
- Email Dr. Cristina Castagnini: firstname.lastname@example.org