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Eating Disorder Group Therapy2019-11-04T16:59:10+00:00

Therapy groups are a key part of treatment at Magnolia Creek. The following descriptions of eating disorder therapy groups are provided to enhance understanding on what to expect from each group. In addition, we hope that the descriptors may assist clients in knowing how best to get their needs met throughout the week.

This psychoeducation group focuses on the basic principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); challenging irrational thoughts. Therapist encourages clients to identify automatic negative thoughts, the emotional response, and the behavioral response through various exercises, peer interactions, and handouts. Clients are encouraged to keep an anger diary and thought log for tracking irrational thought frequency.

According to the Linehan Institute, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT has been successfully integrated into the recovery process for eating disorders as well. Research has shown that it is effective in treating a wide range of other disorders. Dialectical behavioral therapy treats conditions such as substance use disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). DBT helps clients develop the skills needed to regulate distress and find a balance between thoughts and emotions.

DBT focuses on developing skills, such as engaging mindfulness, becoming more effective in interpersonal relationships, improving emotion regulation, and increasing distress tolerance. This method can help manage impulsivity, suicidal behaviors/ideations, feelings of emptiness and hopelessness, feelings of abandonment, unstable interpersonal relationships, and engagement in dangerous or life-threatening behaviors. With the combination of commitment, motivation, and practice, Dialectical Behavior Therapy can assist people in eventually becoming more regulated and self-sufficient.

The goal of this type of eating disorder group therapy is to give clients the opportunity to discuss issues they are currently struggling with or to discuss current goals for treatment. In addition, this group should encourage clients to offer feedback to their peers and to identify similarities between struggles and coping styles. NOTE: We encourage client feedback and peer support in all groups. This is the only group that does not include a topic for discussion.
This group encourages clients to use interpersonal and clear communication skills while reflecting on experiences in one’s life span. The therapist provides clients with four self-reflecting assignments and encourage them to share the assignments with the group once completed. Self-Reflection group allows clients to identify environmental or social triggers that may have contributed to the disorders, practice public speaking, create a relapse prevention plan, reflect on self-responsibility, and create self-accountability in hopes for recovery.

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A woman paints in an eating disorder group therapy session

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The goal of this group is to explore various components that contribute to the development of identity, to evaluate how the sense of self or identity influences how individuals respond to both internal and external stimuli, and to develop a strong sense of identity to ultimately enhance confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.

This group utilizes ACT interventions as well as process components to address contributing factors to the formation of body image. It also covers ways to cope in the present with poor body image while still working towards recovery. Clients learn skills to help learn to improve body image in the long term.

Trauma is defined as anything that threatens life as we know it (either emotionally or physically). This could include what is stereotypically thought of when discussing trauma including unwanted sexual experiences, losing an important person, physical violence, natural disasters, and car accidents; however, it also could include experiences like repeated emotional abuse, unpredictable environments, job loss, and a relationship ending. In this group, clients will develop an understanding of normal responses in the aftermath of traumatic experiences. Therapists will also discuss in more detail how neurobiology works (how the brain responds) when individuals experience trauma. The group will identify healthy coping skills and ways to assist the body in processing experiences. Clients will also practice challenging shame and cognitive distortions related to trauma to find compassion for self.

Creative arts is facilitated by a trained therapist. Clients will use art media, the creative process, and resulting artwork to explore feelings. Clients will also be encouraged to reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behaviors and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and depression, and increase self-esteem/self-worth.

This nutrition-based eating disorder group therapy provides education for clients on a wide range of nutrition-related topics. Our registered dietitian enforces the importance of a healthy lifestyle by exploring topics such as: what is proper diet/eating; how do we manage various symptoms of diseases or chronic conditions with diet; or, how do we protect health, prevent allergic reactions and minimize symptoms of disease with food. In addition, this group facilitates knowledge around nutrition content, food advertising, and other nutrition-related concerns.

This interactive group provides a supportive environment to examine one’s family dynamics and multigenerational behaviors amongst peers. Family Dynamics group assist clients with identifying immediate support systems including family and friends. Clients are encouraged to interact with peers while engaging in conversations highlighting family issues, role in the family, interpersonal skills, communication skills, and creating healthy relationships.

This experiential outing is led by a dietitian and allows for clients to practice normalizing eating while socializing out in public and implementing newfound nutrition knowledge and portioning skills into the real world. The grocery outing allows for clients to practice purchasing groceries, while assessing and processing any anxiety that may exist due to pressures of shopping, being in large crowds and so forth. This is a chance for clients to not only get out of the treatment setting but offers an opportunity to test out the real world setting as a transition back to life outside of treatment.
This group provides a form of counseling that views people as separate from their problems, allowing them clients to gain distance from the issue. This insight gives them insight to see how it might be helping them, or protecting them, more than it is hurting them.

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A woman paints in an eating disorder group therapy session

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The goal of this group is to explore various components that contribute to the development of identity, to evaluate how the sense of self or identity influences how individuals respond to both internal and external stimuli, and to develop a strong sense of identity to ultimately enhance confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.

This group allows clients to learn and implement cooking skills and create a balanced meal with chef supervision. The chef works to enhance awareness of safety not only with tools in the kitchen but also with regard to food safety. Clients will learn how to judge expirations on food, how to cook food in ways that sustain nutrients intended by those foods, and how to not only cook for yourself but how to multitask in the kitchen to cook for your needs as well as others. This group gives clients an opportunity to be creative. Clients learn to choose dishes outside of their comfort zones in addition to basic cooking tips. Finally, this group provides a challenge to clients to learn how to utilize each other in a team environment to create the final product for the display and consumption.
This group time gives clients an opportunity to meet individually with the treatment team. They can use this time to express concerns, receive feedback, and review progress. The treatment team includes therapists, family therapists, dietitians, and medical staff. Clients receive feedback from the team and have the opportunity to express how the team can provide more support.
This group focuses on examining the root(s) of maladaptive behaviors, triggers, and emotions connected to specific behaviors. It allows the clients to explore the various means used to cope with perceived negative emotions. Clients also learn how a negative belief system often leads to impaired thinking and a cycle of acting out behaviors, unmanageability, and shame.
Developed by Steven C. Hayes, Kelly Wilson, and Kirk Strosahl, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was founded on the idea that most psychological distress is tied to “experiential avoidance.” This is an attempt or desire to suppress unwanted internal experiences, such as emotions, thoughts, or bodily sensations. ACT focuses on helping an individual learn to observe, recognize, and accept a realistic perception of self while learning to manage thoughts that may exacerbate anxiety or problematic behaviors.
Mindfulness training involves developing awareness of what you are experiencing in the moment, including thoughts, feelings, and the environment around you. It is also the practice of accepting thoughts and emotions, and not passing judgment on the present. Mindfulness-based therapy can be helpful in learning how to manage external stressors that may trigger desires to find a quick relief for distress through binge eating, restriction, purging, excessive exercise, self-harm, etc. Therapeutic techniques can help an individual learn to be more observant instead of reactive in the present moment and can aid people in developing skills to allow emotions to and thoughts the space to process.
Psychodynamic therapy believes that our experiences from the past influence the way we see and interpret the world. By offering a safe space and a healthy therapeutic relationship to identify and process through events, relationships, and patterns throughout life, we can gain insight on present-day problems, beliefs, and thoughts. Once we gain insight, we can develop coping mechanisms to implement to manage distress and engage in different behaviors moving forward to inhibit the continuation of distress-inducing experiences.
Clinicians use Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) to treat anxiety disorders. It works by exposing the individual to the feared object or circumstance in the absence of danger to desensitize fear and distress while reinforcing safety. ERP helps the brain re-conceptualize the threat by gradually increasing the exposure to the fear at mild to moderate levels while reinforcing safety through affirmation and experience.

For those suffering from an eating disorder, particularly bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, ERP can aid in helping individuals overcome fears of consuming certain foods and can also assist with anxiety-provoking experiences like being weighed, grocery shopping, or looking at oneself in the mirror.

Therapy-Groups

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Therapy-Groups

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Experiential therapy is a category of therapy that includes multiple approaches such as role-playing, group sculpting, use of props, guided imagery, art therapy, etc. Instead of traditional talk therapy, experiential therapy encourages individuals to address and hidden and sometimes subconscious issues through experiential activities and interactions.

Motivational interviewing is a therapy technique that encourages collaboration between client and therapist to identify internal motivating factors to enact change. Clinicians commonly use this method in the treatment of health disorders, as well as eating disorders.
The theory behind Internal Family Systems is we each have different internal components filling the needs we have for love, attachment, belonging, achievement, survival, etc. With the support of a trained therapist, we can identify the roots of conflict and ways to navigate the conflict in ourselves and others by developing a deeper understanding of these components, their experiences, and their needs. Identifying and meeting the needs of these components dissolves our tendencies of meeting needs in other ways and equips us to identify and navigate conflict more effectively.

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