How to Work the Coping Strategy Flow Chart ©

by Michelle Morand, MA RCC, Founder and Director of The Centre

One of the key tools that allows my clients to rapidly get where they want to go in their recovery process is what I call "The Coping Strategy Flow Chart" (csfc for short)- fancy name I know, and it’s the basis of all the work I do and of my own personal philosophy of life.

In essence, the csfc allows us to remind ourselves at a glance that all thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are not leading us to a peaceful state in the moment are merely coping strategies.

They are thoughts, feelings, or behaviours that are designed to either: alert us to needs that aren’t being met in that moment; or to protect us from the awareness that we have needs that aren’t being met. We particularly use the last option if we carry a belief that we are undeserving or unworthy or incapable of getting what we need. It’s too painful from that perspective to be conscious that we have a need that isn’t getting met when at a gut level we believe there’s no way to meet it. So we keep ourselves in the dark through the use of a variety of coping strategies such as old core beliefs (a thought level coping strategy); bad body thoughts (another thought level coping strategy); anxiety, depression, anger; sadness (all feeling level coping strategies); and binging, purging, restricting and isolating (all behavioural level coping strategies).

These coping strategy thoughts, feelings and behaviours allow us to be unaware that we even have a need let alone be conscious of what it might be, and for those of us who believe we’re undeserving or not good enough to have a need met by ourselves or others, being unconscious feels like the safest place to be.

The problem with this way of living is that, because our underlying needs never get met, and because we keep using harmful coping strategies to keep us tuned out to the fact that we even have needs, we continue daily to add to the mountain of unfinished business and unmet needs that leads us to need to use food and bad body thoughts and depression to cope. And so we go round and round in circles thinking less of ourselves, feeling more depressed and hopeless, and harming ourselves with food when each of those things is really just a coping strategy and never was the real problem. And the solution to this big mess is a lot simpler than you’d imagine.

  1. Recognize when you’re using one of your primary coping strategies
  2. Name it as a coping strategy (ie. Rather than just letting a bad body thought sit – say "this is one of my main coping strategies – this means I have needs that aren’t being met.")
  3. Acknowledge that your use of the coping strategy means that you have needs that aren’t being met.
  4. Get out your needs list (e-mail us for copies if you’re without) and identify the need(s) you have in that moment that aren’t being met
  5. Take steps to meet those needs yourself or to ask someone to support you in the meeting of those needs.

That’s it – That’s the framework for the entire recovery process. Once you’ve proven to yourself (don’t just take my word for it) that your focus on food and body image are just coping strategies it will immediately lose so much of its charge and you’ll be able to focus on the underlying triggers – those unmet needs and how to meet them. When it all comes down to it, that is the real issue. Those underlying needs, that you didn’t know how to meet way back when and that created overwhelming feelings and thoughts, led you to use food and body image focus to cope with life. Now, if you’re ready to reclaim your life, to live YOUR life and no one else’s, you can do so by learning to identify your needs in the moment and learn some simple, life enhancing ways of meeting those needs.

If you want to check this out for yourself, pick one of your primary coping strategies (ie. Use of food to cope or bad body thoughts) and invite yourself to be on the look out for when you use it. When you catch yourself using it at any time over the next month run through steps one – five above and see what happens.

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Where to Draw the Line

Written by Anne Katherine, MA Reviewed by Virginia Preston I’ve recently read a great book and I must share. It’s called ‘Where to Draw the Line’ by Anne Katherine, MA, the author of another very helpful read called ‘Boundaries’. She’s a one-woman tour-de-force in the boundaries department, and has made this topic a central focus in her work as a mental health counselor, speaker and writer. And, truthfully, I’m glad someone is an ‘expert’ in this area because I have found the subject utterly confounding at times. The term ‘boundaries’ is a much-loved catch phrase in modern therapeutic circles and a matter of on-going debate in spiritual ones. The need for self-protection that personal boundaries provide seems critical in any recovery process, and certainly in the pursuit of living a healthy life in general. And yet I often feel somewhat murky in my sense of being able to identify these illusive boundaries for myself. Then there’s the added confusion of the writings of some spiritual teachers and masters of our time that speak about the need to dissolve the false ego boundaries that we believe separate us from our fellow human and rest peacefully in the ‘Oneness’ of all that is. Hmmm. Ok, Note to Self: Identify and enforce personal boundaries, then dissolve boundaries and bask in Divine Union with all my fellow brothers and sisters. (ps. Have the spiritually-enlightened minds of our time ridden on public transit at rush hour lately?) All joking aside, these seem to be very conflicted messages and for those of us who enjoy a little more clarity (read: a detailed and precise road map!) on our path to self-actualization, this does not sit well. Fortunately, I believe I have made a bit of a breakthrough in my comprehension of this dichotomy of late. When I get to that place in my conceptual understanding of new life skills that looks something like this.’What the #$%&* does THAT mean?!.!’ – I remind myself to get out of my dualistic, black-and- white thinking mode for a moment and consider the ‘Both-And’ approach. This understanding of the universe promotes an inclusive model of existence where there is space for both to be true, and then a whole bunch of other stuff, too. And then my strained brain can relax, and I can set about the sometimes uncertain and slightly anxiety producing task of boundary setting, feeling assured that doing so does not preclude my entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven . Nor does it hinder my plans to become an enlightened being in this lifetime. Excellent. Anne Katherine does a great job of breaking down the topic of boundaries into easily readable sections and has a chapter for most every type of daily situation that might require the use of a boundary. Seriously. Everything from managing your time, to setting boundaries with parents, to navigating holiday obligations and much more. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on communication and anger boundaries. She presents some very empowering information in the section on boundary violations. She also speaks to the tendency that women have to give more when their needs aren’t being met, or their boundaries violated, in a misguided attempt to ‘earn’ the right to be respected. She firmly denounces this strategy and invites women to advocate for themselves first. Basically, she’s very clear that other people’s crappy behavior need not be your problem. All things considered, a very useful, down-to-earth and relevant guide for the boundary-setters everywhere, regardless of experience level. I highly recommend it. The book ‘Where to Draw the Line – How to Set Healthy Boundaries Everyday’ is available at Chapters. On a personal note, I am pleased to report that since reading this little gem all sorts of opportunities of test out my newfound knowledge have come my way. Of course. And, I must say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised to experience an increased sense of clarity and purposefulness in navigating these situations. Perhaps there’s hope for the boundary-challenged among us after all.  

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White Listing CEDRIC Centre

What is White listing?

White listing is one of many steps that we take to get your messages to your subscribers. You don’t need to whitelist your address or IP with ISPs – you’re covered by our whitelisting.

User-Level White listing

In an effort to ensure that you receive messages successfully from The CEDRIC Centre, we suggest that you try white listing us, meaning you simply have to add our address to your list of safe contacts, so we don’t end up in your junk folder.   To help guide you, here are examples of how to whitelist addresses in different email programs:


To add an address or domain to Safe Senders in Outlook:
  • Select Actions | Junk E-mail | Junk E-mail Options… from the menu in Outlook.
  • Go to the Safe Senders tab.
  • Click Add….
  • Type our email address or our domain name, you want to white list.
  • Click OK.
  • Click OK again.

Mozilla Thunderbird

You will need to add our From address,, to your Thunderbird Address Book and configure your  Junk Mail Controls to white list your address book. Add our From address into your Personal Address Book:
  1. Click the Address Book button.
  2. Make sure the Personal Address Book is highlighted.
  3. Click the New Card button. This will launch a New Card window that has 3 tabs: Contact, Address & Other.
  4. Under the Contact tab, copy and paste our email address, into the Email dialog box.
  5. Click OK.
You can also right-click any email address you see in Thunderbird and select Add to Address Book. Now white list your Personal Address Book:
  1. From the main drop down menu, select Tools -> Junk Mail Controls..
  2. This will launch the Junk Mail Controls window that has two tabs: Settings and Adaptive Filter
  3. Under the Settings tab, update the White Lists module by selecting Personal Address Book from the pull down menu and then check mark the box next to Do not mark messages as junk mail.
  4. Click OK.

Yahoo Mail (New Version)

Users of the new Yahoo Mail should create a filter. Yahoo currently redirects you to the old Yahoo Mail interface to set up the filter, but in the future should integrate the Add Filter page directly into the new interface.


You will need to add our email address,, to your Hotmail Safe List:
  • Click the Options link on the right side of the interface.
  • Choose Mail from the left side of the Options page.
  • Click Junk E-Mail Protection.
  • Click Safe List.
  • Type into the box and click Add.

Windows Live Hotmail

Not surprisingly, Windows Live Hotmail works similarly to the old Hotmail:
  • Click the Options link at right and choose More Options from the dropdown.
  • Choose Allowed and Blocked Senders.
  • Click Allowed Senders.
  • Type and click Add to List.


GMail will automatically deliver mail from your Contacts list to your inbox. To add a contact:
  • Click the Contacts link at left.
  • Near the top of the page click Create Contact.
  • Enter the The CEDRIC Centre and, and click Save.

AOL Webmail

AOL has a Custom Sender List that you can specify. However, to use the Custom Sender List, you must choose to accept mail ONLY from your custom senders, or to reject mail ONLY from your custom senders. So, you need to make sure that you are set to receive mail from All Senders:
  • Click the Settings link at the top of the page.
  • Choose Spam Controls from the options at left.
  • Under Additional Spam Filters click Control From Whom I Get Email.
  • A popup appears – choose the first option Allow mail from all senders.
  • Click the green Save button.
If you are already using a Custom Sender list to define who can mail to you, please make sure you add our email address, to it.

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