Evidence Based Treatments

Whether you are in individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, or some combination of the three, you will participate in a treatment approach that is evidence-based. Evidence-based treatments are interventions that have been shown, through clinical research, to be effective in reducing unwanted symptoms and increasing desired targets (coping, joy, interpersonal skills, etc). While each individual with an eating disorder is unique, the symptoms of eating disorders tend to be remarkably similar. And because these symptoms can be life threatening, they require a directed behavioral approach focused initially on decreasing symptoms. It is important to adapt, individualize, and implement evidence-based treatments depending on presenting goals, strengths, problems, treatment history, resources, and input. Members of your support team may be encouraged to participate in treatment whenever applicable and agreed upon. You will work collaboratively with your therapist to create a treatment plan and adjust as necessary throughout the course of treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT has been considered the gold standard of treatment for binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. CBT involves changing behaviors, such as increasing regular, flexible eating and decreasing bingeing and purging. CBT also involves identifying distorted ways of thinking (all or nothing thinking, catastrophic thinking, judging and labeling) and practicing changing these thoughts to be more balanced and neutral. CBT results in full remission for about 50% of people seeking treatment, however, in more complex cases such as clients who present with multiple problems such as personality disorders, self-harm, or substance abuse, Dialectical Behavior Therapy may provide a more effective treatment.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy(DBT)

DBT is type of cognitive behavior therapy that integrates acceptance skills such as mindfulness and validation. DBT is based on a biospsychosocial model of emotion regulation which suggests that eating disordered behaviors are over-learned attempts to cope with dyregulated moods. DBT skills can be taught in an individual or group format. Skills are acquired, strengthened and generalized to the target situations through skills groups, in-session practice, phone-coaching and homework assignments. As a DBT therapist, I participate in a weekly DBT consultation team meeting with other DBT therapists. This helps create more effective treatment by reducing therapist burnout and adapting treatment plans based on consultation feedback. DBT consists of four modules Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Distress Tolerance.

Family Based Treatment:

Also known as The Maudsley Method, a hallmark of FBT is that the parent or support person is not seen as part of the problem, but essential in the recovery solution from Anorexia Nervosa. Caregivers are empowered to decrease the Anorexic  behaviors. This is a somewhat controversial treatment as the parents ultimately “take charge” of the adolescent/young adult’s eating. It helps to realize that Anorexia a life-threatening condition and food is the best medicine. Yet, food refusal is the main symptom of the disorder. Most parents would agree that if there child was suffering from a life threatening condition and the child was refusing a life-saving medication, they would find a way to get them to consume the required dose of the medication. It is also important that as eating disorders become more severe, often inpatient or residential treatment is sought out. At any eating disorder inpatient or residential facility, the treatment team takes over all aspects of eating – the meal plan, portion sizes, the eating schedule, etc. Thinking of eating disorder recovery in these ways can be helpful to understand the premise of Family Based Treatment.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):

ACT is considered part of the third wave of psychotherapy and has similarities to Dialectical Behavior Therapy, such as a strong emphasis on mindfulness and acceptance. At the core of ACT is the idea that to be human means that it is normal to feel sadness, anxiety, negative thoughts, etc. Yet fighting these difficult feelings and experiences often leads to further distress and pain. A key component of ACT is “defusing” or separating from difficult thoughts and feelings (e.g., recognizing it as “just a thought”), while committing to behavior change and moving towards the direction of one’s core values.

Intuitive Eating:

Intuitive Eating is a non-“diet” approach to eating, meaning that you work towards letting go of food rules and making peace with food. This approach involves relearning the ability to honor and listen to your body’s cues of hunger and fullness and aiming to feel satisfied, while eating in a balanced and nutritious manner. Whether you are dealing with Anorexia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder, ultimately, my goal is help you to become more intuitive when it comes to food and activity. With this dietary approach, no foods are off limits.

Call us today to find out more about the types of treatments we offer.