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Eating disorders program helps re-create balance

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Jeanne, Sami and Eric Christiansen

Sami Christiansen, 23, is bright, talented, and recovering from an eating disorder.

"When you have an eating disorder, you forget about the joys of everyday life. When you get that back, it's profound," Sami says.

She had sought help from others, but felt her Aurora therapist provided a special connection that was missing from earlier treatments.

"Working with therapist Pam Franklin at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital has been a life-changing experience. I learned why my disorder began and I've learned to express things I couldn't before. As a result, my family and I have gotten a lot closer."

The positive impact of Sami's treatment is reaching a national audience through "Normal," a musical about eating disorders co-directed by Sami's father, Eric. In post-performance talk-backs, Sami answers audience questions about her newfound perspective. "It is liberating for us to share this experience," Eric said.

Sami's therapy included learning how to deal with feelings that trigger eating. Jeanne, Sami's mother, said, "It was important to know she was in a program that would help her transition to everyday life after the inpatient portion was over."

Sami continues to work on her eating disorder. "I still struggle, but the urges have decreased, and breaking the pattern of acting on those urges is much easier to handle."