Adult Eating Disorder Treatment Philosophy
Supporting Lasting Recovery Outside a Structured Treatment Environment
At Eating Recovery Center, treatment programs for female and male adults emphasize thorough assessment, innovative evidence-based interventions and comprehensive discharge planning to support lasting recovery outside of the structured treatment environment.
Assessment begins with the very first phone call to Eating Recovery Center. Licensed clinicians conduct extensive pre-admissions interviews with patients, families and outpatient treatment teams to paint a holistic picture of the unique needs and challenges of each individual. This information aids a team of senior clinicians in the development of an individualized treatment plan, including identification of the appropriate level of care for admission and assignment of a multidisciplinary treatment with experience in treating co-occurring medical conditions and psychiatric illnesses, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues and other comorbid diseases commonly seen alongside eating disorders.
Eating disorders interventions in Adult Services are varied, with each approach designed to help patients develop the skills necessary to support sustainable recoveries following discharge. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a therapeutic approach that moves away from changing thoughts and towards the idea of living a valued life in the presence of destructive thoughts and feelings, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and other evidence-based clinical interventions are used in addition to experiential therapies, including art therapy, psychodrama, and yoga.
The “Pillars of Recovery” is a proprietary therapeutic approach used in adult treatment programming that helps patients develop three critical recovery aptitudes: values, mindsight and connectedness. Values refers to the importance of developing a context for living—without values, patients are governed by their immediate emotional reactions when faced with adversity, which often lead to destructive thoughts or behaviors. Mindsight refers to the ability to know when your values are applicable and when they are not, while connectedness reinforces the importance of connecting with others to complete our values. Taken together, the “Pillars of Recovery” helps patients identify what is important to them, understand when those values apply and when it is necessary to connect with others to complete their values.
The real challenge to lasting recovery is posed following discharge, when patients must sustain the progress they made in the controlled treatment environment. In addition to the step-down model of care that allows for testing of the gains a patient has made by progressively lowering the level of supervision while they are in treatment, Eating Recovery Center considers the discharge plan throughout the course of treatment in a variety of ways, including thorough aftercare planning, relapse prevention training and programming, and events and resources for alumni to help support them in their recovery.
Nutrition Services at Eating Recovery Center
Nutrition plays a fundamental role in the treatment of an eating disorder. Patients’ thoughts and behaviors around food are generally negative and destructive, and many individuals need to restore weight in order to restore the clarity of mind necessary to fully engage in therapeutic interventions. Even for those patients who are at a normal weight at the time of admission, nutrition exposure and education is critical in addressing issues related to their underlying relationship with food.
The nutrition philosophy at Eating Recovery Center emphasizes helping patients overcome their fear of food and eating by providing support and structure during meals, education on a balanced pattern of nutrition and collaborative care to achieve a healthy weight for optimal recovery. More specifically, the nutrition philosophy communicates that there are no good and bad foods and emphasizes balance, moderation and variety.
Eating Recovery Center’s team of highly skilled Registered Dietitians work individually with patients at all levels of care to develop a personalized meal plan to achieve weight restoration or maintenance goals, as well as meet any verifiable dietary needs. Dietitians also work collaboratively with the treatment team, participating in daily meetings to support an integrated understanding of each patient’s progress and treatment goals.
In addition to individual nutrition counseling, Eating Recovery Center’s Registered Dietitians lead group education sessions and oversee various exposure activities to deconstruct myths around food and offer opportunities to build confidence in food situations. Cooking classes, featuring the guidance and instruction of Executive Chef Michael J. Moore, buffet-style meals, grocery shopping groups and restaurant outings allow patients who are further along in recovery to develop the skills necessary to prepare them for success in real-life situations outside of treatment.
Another unique aspect of Eating Recovery Center’s nutritional approach is that our expert staff of Registered Dietitians, primary clinicians, and family clinicians regularly dine with patients. Because meal times are often stressful and anxiety-provoking for individuals with eating disorders, staff at Eating Recovery Center provide structure and support in order to create a therapeutic meal environment. Staff supervision at meals helps provide the encouragement, redirection of eating disordered behaviors, and role modeling necessary to affect behavior change.
Dining at Eating Recovery Center
To help patients develop a healthy relationship with food and embrace meal times as opportunities for nourishment and social connection, it is critical to provide them with fresh, attractive and tasty fare during meal times. To that end, Eating Recovery Center has adopted a proprietary food service model to provide delicious cuisine that is prepared daily in the state-of-the-art kitchens at the Behavioral Hospital for Adults, the Behavioral Hospital for Children and Adolescents and the Partial Hospitalization Program and Outpatient Services.
Executive Chef Michael J. Moore works collaboratively with Marla Scanzello, MS, RD, Director of Dietary Services, to build creative, nutritionally-sound menus with diverse options for a balanced diet. Not only does this food service model support the provision of the freshest food prepared immediately in advance of each meal and snack time, but it is also allows patients to choose from a variety of menu options at each meal according to their individualized meal plan prescribed by one of Eating Recovery Center’s Registered Dietitians.