The treatment team uses a number of treatment components to help patients deal with the psychological issues that brought them to our program.
According to the goals and objectives of their individualized treatment plan, patients may participate in the following components:
Our program uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment to help patients identify and challenge their eating disorder symptoms with the goal of developing alternative coping skills and more appropriate responses to stressors. Initially in treatment, the emphasis is on behavioral changes primarily centered on eating normally and stopping the eating disorder behaviors associated with anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders. Once the behavioral changes have been in place and weight is normalized, the emphasis shifts to the environmental, social, or internal psychological symptoms that lead to eating disorder behaviors. This treatment is proven to be effective with patients who suffer from both anxiety disorders and eating disorders, also known as “co-occurring” mental illnesses.
Community Outings and Therapeutic Passes
With physician approval, patients have opportunities to apply what they have learned throughout their treatment to “real life” settings. Through supervised grocery shopping trips, meal outings and therapeutic passes with family members, patients practice strategies that reduce their anxiety and ease their transition back into the community as they continue on their journey of recovery.
Daily Living Skills
Patients have the responsibility of maintaining their bedrooms, washing their personal laundry and jointly being responsible for care of their living areas. Practicing these independent living skills on a daily basis helps create a sense of belonging to the residential community.
Patients participate in a range of experiential therapy groups several times per week to examine the role their eating disorder plays in their life, to challenge their physical and emotional body image distortions, to develop trust, self-esteem and confidence. Through creative expression, guided imagery, relaxation and grounding techniques, patients develop a new set of skills they can use to deal more effectively with their anxiety and triggers and learn how to incorporate a healthy balance of physical fitness into their lifestyle to support their ongoing recovery.
As eating disorders affect everyone, a patient’s family is considered an important part of their recovery. Generally, family sessions are provided once weekly. During these sessions the patient’s eating disorder is considered within the context of the family’s communication patterns, value and belief system, rules, roles and expectations. Families are encouraged to participate in the monthly Family and Friends Program, which includes presentations and activities.
Each week patients participate in about 10 hours of group psychotherapy in their designated unit. Led by a master’s level therapist, the group sessions are designed to identify destructive and self-defeating behavior patterns, to identify and express feelings, and to help patients focus on problem resolution and the development of healthy coping strategies that will support them as they continue their recovery after discharge.
Each patient has an individual psychotherapy session at a minimum of once weekly with his or her primary therapist. Starting with a comprehensive developmental and family history, the therapist works to establish a healthy therapeutic relationship and identify the core issues related to the eating disorder. The patient has an active role in developing his or her treatment goals and objectives, discharge plans and follow-up care.
Under the guidance of registered dietitians, patients learn about nutritional health and meal planning. Starting with a detailed dietary assessment, a registered dietitian develops an appropriate meal plan based on the diabetic exchange system, and then monitors the patient’s calorie intake, weight and ability to follow the meal plan. In addition, education takes place during mealtime as patients directly confront their fears about eating. Patients meet individually with a registered dietitian at least once weekly. Dietitians provide nutrition education groups once weekly, and coordinate grocery shopping outings, cooking groups, meal and snack challenges, and meal outings during their treatment stay. Patients practice the skills and behaviors they will incorporate into their recovery.
Rogers Memorial Hospital has three full-time, board-certified psychiatrists who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders. Initially, a psychiatrist will meet with the patient to complete a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, which includes history, diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Subsequently, the psychiatrist will meet once or twice per week with the patient to monitor medications and review medical status. During these sessions, the psychiatrist also challenges the patient’s cognitive distortions related to the eating disorder.
For patients who request it, an individual consult for pastoral support that embraces their faith tradition is available; in addition, an optional spiritual reflections group is offered weekly. Local faith-based organizations make ecumenical services available to patients in our residential treatment programs.
Substance Abuse Counseling
A certified substance abuse counselor is on staff to provide assessment, treatment recommendations and therapy to patients struggling with co-occurring substance use or abuse. A group therapy session is offered once weekly for patients who would benefit clinically. Patients may also attend on-campus Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the support of others who are in recovery.