What is Eating Disorder Family Therapy?
Family therapy proves useful when a group of family members is experiencing discord due to either a group situation or a condition that affects one specific member of the family. When an individual deals with something like an eating disorder, it doesn’t just affect one person. In fact, entire families find themselves impacted by the illness their loved one endures. Our family-based therapy for eating disorders helps people understand the disease that affects their loved one. Family members can include parents, caregivers, siblings, and other family members.
Family members gather together in sessions led by an eating disorder-trained therapist who acts as a guide to reunite the group. Sessions may be held once a week or less often, and each session lasts about one hour. The initial session includes discussing difficulties that affect the family in relation to the person’s eating disorder. This allows everyone to set goals for what the family would like to accomplish. The sessions are confidential so that each person can speak freely knowing that their privacy will be upheld outside of the room.
How is Family Therapy Used to Treat Eating Disorders?
Family-based therapy for eating disorders helps each person in the family unit in multiple ways. First, when someone has a challenging mental illness like an eating disorder, communication with family members often suffers. As a result, the family doesn’t know what their loved one is experiencing or how to go about helping them. These results complicate the family dynamic, making family therapy imperative in order to put the pieces back together.
The therapist leads the family in discussions that allow each person to use their voice to communicate their concerns, emotions, and viewpoints. Topics can include fears everyone has about the current standing of their loved one’s health and possible future decline if they do not begin to recover. Conversation can delve into what contributed to the person developing an eating disorder and ways the family can assist in keeping patterns from repeating.
Eating disorders are greatly misunderstood on many levels. This makes having a family therapist explain the details of it so important. Family members learn that mental illness is not a choice, but learning to overcome an eating disorder is possible for anyone. When everyone works as a team, the loved one can rebuild her life and begin to thrive.
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Which Eating Disorders Does Family Therapy Treat?
Family-based therapy for eating disorders helps address a wide variety of types of eating disorders. We help families who have a loved one who has been diagnosed with the following eating disorders:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
- Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
- Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)
- Rumination disorder
Part of our family therapy is making sure each person understands the exact diagnosis their loved one has received. This allows the therapist to detail the symptoms of what the specific eating disorder entails and what approaches work best when trying to support someone who has it.
Benefits of Family-Based Therapy for Eating Disorders
The benefits of participating in family-based therapy for eating disorders begin with allowing family members to feel comfortable speaking openly, perhaps for the first time in a while. The therapist establishes the sessions as a setting in which people can be honest and use respectful communication with each other.
Each family member is invited to bring up topics like their emotions, experiences, and how they view eating disorders. This invites a give-and-take process so that people learn to understand each other’s points of view. As a result, the bonds of the family unit strengthen both during treatment and after the sessions have concluded.
When a family feels divided, they often only focus on their own needs. Family therapy teaches people to recognize and honor everyone’s needs. In turn, this helps them develop the ability to problem-solve as a unit. In fact, family members can learn to anticipate potential difficulties their loved ones may encounter and be ready with supportive words and solutions.
Begin Family Therapy for Eating Disorders in Los Angeles, CA
When men and women face the life-changing development of having an eating disorder, they need help from more than just professional treatment providers. Their families often struggle to understand how to provide productive support for their loved ones. For this reason, Trellis Recovery Centers offers family-based therapy for eating disorders as part of our overall residential program. We treat patients with a family-focused approach in order to help each person make progress as a family unit.
If you are a concerned parent who would like to know more about how we help people heal from eating disorders, visit our admissions page now.