Feeding and Eating Disorders
Counseling and Wellness Group's Food Philosophy
In today’s age of quick fix diet trends and teas that magically result in weight loss, it is understandable that our collective relationship with food is ever-changing. The idea of nourishing our bodies has become more and more complex with arguments for and against various diets and lifestyle changes. Social media adds a facet to this equation that can cause greater confusion and sadly, reinforces disordered eating. One might ask themselves, how do I adequately feed myself? Or more specifically, am I struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating?
Counseling and Wellness Group specializes in the treatment of feeding and eating disorders, among other psychiatric conditions. The collective goal of eating disorder treatment at CWG is to normalize a client’s relationship with food by identifying vulnerabilities to eating disorder and/or disordered eating behavior, overall behavioral patterns related to weight, shape and food, as well as challenging misconceptions about food and nourishment by incorporating evidence-based treatment as well as current literature. In short, there are no “good” or “bad” foods and moderation is key in the development of a normalized relationship with food.
In targeting these concepts in individual therapy sessions, CWG therapists often participate in food exposures with clients, conduct sessions in grocery stores, and are in frequent communication with various dietitians in the community. CWG therapists help clients identify rigid food behaviors while simultaneously challenging judgements that make flexibility around food more difficult. The ultimate goal is to work towards intuitive eating by trusting one’s body and learning to listen to the body’s natural hunger and satiety cues.
Treatment at Counseling and Wellness Group
Eating Disorders are known to have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. That does not mean that recovery is not possible or that effective treatment does not exist. There are several treatment models that are considered evidence-based treatments for eating disorders.
Maudsley Family Based Therapy is considered the gold standard in treatment for adolescents diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and is gaining empirical support for adolescents diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. This treatment model is not traditional family therapy but rather a treatment model designed to use the strengths of the family system and the knowledge of an expertly trained therapist to walk together through the 3 phases of eating disorder treatment. This is considered the first line treatment for adolescents over individual therapy and dietician support and will give an adolescent the greatest chance at life as an adult without an eating disorder.
CBT-E is a manualized treatment model originally developed for adults with bulimia and binge eating disorder and has since been adapted to include modifications for the treatment of anorexia as well. This is the typical first line treatment for adults with eating disorders. This treatment model has the benefit of requiring that a client only see a therapist as opposed to multiple providers making it less intimidating and potentially more cost effective for those seeking treatment.
DBT informed therapy is gaining support as a “third wave” treatment, or part of a group of treatments that are continuing to evolve and adapt cognitive treatments looking for better treatment outcomes. DBT for eating disorders has not yet gained enough research support to be considered an evidence-based treatment however the studies that do exist are showing positive outcomes. DBT can be introduced, or used in conjunction with other treatment models, when traditional treatment has been shown to be ineffective or significant co-morbid illnesses are present that cannot be resolved prior to treatment of the eating disorder.