The Arbutus Legend

The Arbutus tree is one of knowledge, depth and integrity. It stands in its splendour symbolizing protection, safety and belonging. Its branches twist and turn constantly searching for the sunlight. Poet Richard Olafson writes, "The Arbutus tree's webbed roots hold the splintered earth together." Salish legend states, that during the Great Flood, the Arbutus tree saved many lives by providing an anchor, solid branches for canoes to be held sturdy, rooted and safe. The Arbutus Collective consists of colleagues, who guide those in need, struggling with body image distortion, low self-esteem and disordered eating, towards healthy, happy balance. We do so with the integrity, passion and safety of the Arbutus tree.

Our Declaration of Principles

As a collective, we are joined together in singularity, working as one to help others in need. We possess critical awareness of the social, individual, and systemic factors that contribute to disordered eating. As individual practitioners we each possess a unique perspective derived from our own life experiences, and make the responsible choice to operate by the following principles:

  • We take a practical, strategic, and empowerment-oriented approach in order to facilitate meaningful and sustainable change in individuals’ lives.
  • We will assist individuals to develop a practical long term plan that empowers and creates resiliency for those whose lives have been impacted by unhealthy coping mechanisms such as disordered eating and the factors that contribute to them.
  • As reflective practitioners, we help individuals and families to recognize how life experience has influenced their perception of self image in ways that perpetuate negativity and compound crisis. We then facilitate authentic conversation in order to assist a shift in perception that offers hope and encourages lasting holistic health.
  • We listen to our clients with empathy, respectfully acknowledging their story. We do not conduct assessments but rather promote active engagement and participation in the course of our gentle intervention
  • We do not treat or provide therapy; we encourage self discovery through authentic conversation in a safe environment, and empower people to make long term life changes.
  • We do not try to identify personal weaknesses; we reinforce personal strengths that facilitate building resiliency with the intent of elevating self efficacy.
  • Our methods do not seek to replace medical treatment; rather, we facilitate the building of life skills that complement other forms of support and treatment, recognizing that health is a holistic balance between physical, mental, social and emotional health.
  • We do not simply link to other services; we attentively navigate formal supports while we work strategically to develop informal support systems.
  • For caregivers, our approach is gentle and intended to educate family members regarding disordered eating and contributing factors, while assisting them to understand the role that they may have, both in its development and healing.

We place ourselves in the active role of making community connections in order to promote a collaborative effort among community leaders, professionals, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, citizens, and other like-minded practitioners. The purpose of this collaborative effort is to change the perception about eating disorders in our community by mediating the relationship between disordered behaviour and its contributing factors. We are committed to this task by creating a dialogue between individuals and their communities.