Family therapy has proven to be an effective part of eating disorder treatment and it is strongly emphasized as family and loved ones have the potential to provide powerful directives in support of therapeutic goals. At Toledo Center, we believe family involvement is a cornerstone of treatment since eating disorders often affect everyone close to the person who is in treatment.
Families are included throughout the treatment process. We focus less on family dynamic therapy and more so about how best to support the client and the family. The client’s individual therapist works together with the client and the family to help them understand the treatment process and to understand their roles once treatment has ended. It is vital that clients have an identified support person/family to assist them through the journey of recovery.
Our model seeks to empower the individual to learn and establish a new relationship with food. We help educate families on the eating disorder brain, provide resources for learning, and conduct sessions to focus on how to be supportive throughout the process as well as once their loved one returns home.
Prior to discharge to home, we encourage clients to practice eating with their family. Family members also receive education about treatment approaches, meal planning, and helpful responses for when their loved one is struggling. We recognize and place great importance on how the family can positively impact recovery and how necessary it is for them to be educated and aware of not only the process but the expectations as well.
Family updates and sessions take place at least once weekly via phone sessions (or in person) however; family meetings or therapy sessions can be scheduled more periodically according to the client’s specific needs. Therapists keep a direct communication line to families throughout the process to coordinate care.
We require family therapy for all clients under the age of 18 who are living at home. For adolescents, we involve family at the very beginning of the treatment process. We know that family involvement is a key to a successful recovery and parents can provide powerful directives that support therapeutic goals. The interaction between family members and the way the client is thinking, feeling, and behaving is often so salient that it compels family involvement. For our adult population, it is equally important for each client to have an identified support person that will assist them in their recovery. For our adults, sometimes it is family and sometimes it is a close friend, roommate etc.