Katie Joy Winer, MA, LPC
Contact Me: (512) 650-8118
New Support Group
Beginning in June 2023
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce a group I have been dreaming up for the past couple of years. The idea has been brewing in my mind as a result of having so many people in my life, who are courageously working on adopting the idea that we can be healthy at any body size, that intuitive eating is the holistically most healthy approach to relating with food, and that fatphobia / diet mentality are damaging social constructs that cause harm rather than promote health.
So many of the people I interact with use a great deal of their precious energy recovering after a demoralizing situation like being weighed at the doctor, experiencing the crushing feeling of worthlessness due to weight gain, feeling the frustration of coworkers proudly engaging in disordered eating, or listening to a loved one make a body shaming comment. And a hundred other reasons, literally. Our culture is deeply invested in ideas and practices it claims foster health, which are actually the seeds of shame, suffering, imminent failure and disease-inducing chronic stress. That is the dominant ideology regarding diet, weight and movement in our society. To have a drastically different ideology is incredibly difficult, and not to be navigated alone.
I hope I have been as helpful as one person can be in a one-to-one conversation on this matter, but the truth is there is power in numbers. If only one person in your life is with you in your perspective, it's harder to feel supported than if there are 5 - or even 25! The power of the group is undeniable. I have known this and I have wanted so many times to just throw a group together because the people who need it are many. I have also sent people to the few group resources I know, which for some reason or another don't lead to long-term support. I have also thrown one-off events like viewing Shrill and having a pool party and had them be smashing successes, but this is just a few events, and it seems people need consistent connection and community -
A friend to call.
A voice to remind you that your reality is valid.
A regular meeting place where you can look forward to being more fully you.
A crew to have shame-free fun with and learn interesting new things together.
My intention in waiting to make this move has been about trying to understand the depth of the problems and the depth of the solutions to bring people together to foster resilience and deep healing together. I envision that this healing can happen by building meaningful connections in a group that offers elements like these-
On-demand support for shame
Enriching education about body liberation
Service to a larger cause
My vision is more complex than I can map out in a schedule or description, but these are the elements I aim to incorporate in order to create the space this group can hold for each other, to heal together.
This is not a therapy group, nor will I take the role as therapist in the group. Nor will I participate in most group gatherings unless it is for the purpose of building scaffolding in the beginning. I believe that connecting you all with one another and offering my slow-cooked creative ideas for building a strong, nourishing peer-led community will take the group most of the way, and my periodic involvement will just be one baked-in element that helps keep the fire burning. This is a total work in progress and because I do not want to over-structure the concept, the group is likely to change, evolve and may be a bit messy at times! (Also, I am truly terrible at naming things, so I'm going to ask the group to decide its own name!)
So that's the general idea, and here are some more of the specifics-
Who am I inviting to begin this group?
Participants in the group have time and familiarity with the work of liberation from the institutions of diet culture and fatphobia. They are folks of all gender expressions and body sizes, and share the common experience of internalizing marginilation for being in their bodies and are healing from body hatred and / or disordered eating.. They share the desire to heal through the common pathway of body liberation, rather than compliance with societal demands for thinness and restriction.
When will the group meet?
That's a good question. I will likely meet with the group once a month or once a quarter on an evening, for 1 hour. It will depend on your availabilities but will be between 6-9pm on a M, T, Th, F or Sat. The group will then create more events for connection in between meetings with me, and those will be scheduled with the group members' schedules in mind.
How Much will it cost to participate in this group?
Although I would love for this group to be free, I do need to charge a small monthly fee, particularly while the group is establishing itself and I am more involved with nurturing it to life. I plan to charge a $30 monthly fee, and can offer discounted rates for those who are economically disadvantaged, as well as those who wish to volunteer their time to take an organizational role in hosting, organizing, creating or setting up the online spaces for connecting. No one who wants to be a part will be turned away due to money. I also hope to make this less expensive with time and an increase in membership.
Where will the group meet?
Because some of us live in different cities/states, meetings with me will take place online. Austinites can meet in person to be with each other in the flesh for additional activities. For members who are in different areas, know that I am well connected with other likeminded practitioners and will be actively inviting more people in your city to join, so that you can also meet in person with folks. We will begin meeting on Google Meet, and will eventually create a private online meeting space to post content and personal shares. I will also swiftly create a phone list once the group is established so that people can call/text each other when they have had a run-in with diet mentality, body shaming or fatphobia. So we can all build resilience by sticking together and remembering we are not alone on this brave journey.
I have written a brief survey, which should take less than 5 mins. Please fill it out to let me know what you think of this idea. If you include your email, I will be in touch. Alternately, just email or call me to chat! Many thanks for your time and input!