We believe family and friends can be a valuable source of support and strength for patients on the journey to eating disorder recovery and our clinical team places a strong emphasis on involving the family in the treatment process. We place great importance on instilling a sense of hope, while acknowledging the difficult nature of recovery. Our belief is that “Family” can consist of any support system the patient identifies such as parents, siblings, significant others, friends or colleagues. The treatment team will work with patients to identify his or her support system and determine how to involve them in treatment in appropriate and healing ways. Although uncommon, there are some situations when family therapy is not recommended for a patient. When this arises, the therapist and clinical team will discuss the situation with the patient and significant others and work toward an alternative support plan.
Patients are offered weekly in-person or family telephone sessions, for those whose families do not live locally. In our inpatient eating disorder program we offer a weekly multi-family group on the weekends where the therapy staff provides psychoeducation, nutrition education, and process oriented support for families and friends.
Additionally, family work may involve therapeutic meals, meal outings, and various therapeutic passes tailored to the unique needs of the patient and their support system.
If you know someone who has an eating disorder or suspect someone may be struggling, please contact us so we can help. Even if our program is not the right fit, we can often offer suggestions for referrals and resources.
5 Things Families and Friends Should Know
1. Supporting a loved one who is struggling with an Eating Disorder can be difficult. Seeing a loved one in pain can be excruciating, and even though you may be hopeful and relieved that they are getting the treatment they need, the recovery process can also be frightening, draining, and confusing. Sometimes the best support you can provide your loved one is to make sure that you are getting your own support. We recommend that family members and loved ones seek additional support through therapy, support groups, and involvement with your spiritual or social community. No one can do it alone!
2. Eating Disorders are complex and the path to recovery is equally complex. At Reasons we believe that healing from an Eating Disorder is possible. We also believe that the path to recovery is unique for every individual. It can be helpful to be aware of and to explore your own expectations regarding your loved one’s recovery. Family therapy is an excellent place to explore these expectations and help you and your loved one connect and communicate openly about your hopes and fears.
3. It’s not about the food. Eating disorders are often about much more than the food, and don’t occur in a vacuum. Willingness to listen to and attune to your loved one’s unique experience can be one of the most valuable pieces of his or her recovery. We invite you to bring your hearts into this process. Family therapy can be a pathway to healing for the entire family.
4. It’s also about the food! Yup, this is the opposite of number 3. But both are true! Eating in a new way during the recovery process can feel extremely frightening and shameful, and sometimes adhering to guidelines around food-talk, health-talk and body-talk can be helpful to your loved one. We ask that you be open to working on these guidelines with your loved one and his or her therapist and dietitian.
5. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is also the cornerstone of compassion. There are some excellent resources for family members who want to learn more about eating disorders and eating disorder treatment. We always invite you to call us with any questions. No question is dumb, and all questions are welcome! Call us at 800-235-5570 x290
“My daughter finally found the ability to trust and open up so that she could explore the underlying issues related to her eating disorder. Our family also received several sessions of top-notch therapy! We would like to sincerely express our gratitude for the quality care our daughter has received and continues to receive as a participant in your program. You truly run a world-class program!” -mother of a former patient
What to Expect in Therapy
Our therapists work from a variety of eating disorder treatment modalities with a general focus on the healing power of the therapeutic relationship. Each therapeutic plan is individualized and we utilize principles from cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, depth oriented psychotherapies, somatic therapies, and family systems. We believe in providing strong psychoeducation to families and patients about eating disorders, the course of treatment, and instilling hope for recovery.
We recommend that you take a look at these web-based resources. These organizations provide support forums, research, resources and testimonials:
“The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the leading 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States advocating on behalf of and supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Reaching millions every year, we campaign for prevention, improved access to quality treatment, and increased research funding to better understand and treat eating disorders. We work with partners and volunteers to develop programs and tools to help everyone who seeks assistance.”
“The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. is a non-profit (501 c 3) corporation that seeks to prevent and alleviate the problems of eating disorders, especially including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
ANAD advocates for the development of healthy attitudes, bodies, and behaviors. ANAD promotes eating disorder awareness, prevention and recovery through supporting, educating, and connecting individuals, families and professionals.”
“The Academy for Eating Disorders is a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention.”