When an individual is going through a difficult time in their life, a support system is a vital component of weathering the challenges. This is especially true when it comes to a medical condition, such as an eating disorder. In order to be successful, eating disorder treatment must have a solid and effective family component that allows the individual to tap into that support.
How an Eating Disorder Treatment Center Connects Families
When an individual enters an eating disorder treatment program, there is often an element of education that must take place. Whether it is because of society’s pressures or those that are inadvertently felt by the individual, an eating disorder therapist can provide information that can help reframe these negative and defeating thoughts and concerns. For example, instead of focusing on a individual’s weight or body shape, part of an eating disorder treatment center’s program may emphasize the importance of nourishing one’s body; only by this can the individual have the energy needed to fully participate in her life.
Family Therapy: A Safe Place to Heal and Explore
A primary component of an eating disorder treatment center program is a focus on therapy. Typically, individual, group and family therapy options are available. Individual therapy is a time for the eating disorder therapist to focus solely on the person who is receiving treatment. Group therapy is an opportunity to learn and communicate with others who are facing similar situations and challenges. Participating in group therapy allows the individual to see they are not alone and to learn different perspectives and more positive coping tools and skills from others in a similar situation.
Family therapy, on the other hand, provides the individual who is being treated at the eating disorder treatment center and her family with the opportunity to explore the complex nature of their relationships. While these sessions are not mandatory, they are strongly encouraged as a way to help improve communication skills and collaboration among family members to help their loved one recover and to help heal the family unit.
What Happens During a Family Therapy Session
Some clients and family members may be reluctant to participate in family therapy sessions. There could be a fear that the time spent with the eating disorder therapist will result in an environment of blame and hostility. However, that is not the intent of such therapy sessions.
Instead, much of the focus is on the individual who is in treatment and setting realistic goals that the family can work on together. In many cases, these goals are tied to the issues that could have contributed to the individual’s eating disorder.
Another component of family therapy is to provide family members with elements of support that can help their loved one recover. Healthy coping skills and long-term family involvement are key factors in an individual finding their healthy self. Families often find this type of therapy so valuable that they continue it after their loved one is no longer receiving treatment at the eating disorder center.
Monte Nido believes strongly in the inclusion of the family as a support mechanism for those individuals who have an eating disorder. Our eating disorder therapists are skilled at establishing a supportive and loving environment that is focused on helping the individual who is receiving services. A no-blame and no-shame philosophy helps ensure everyone is comfortable and working toward the same goals.