Once weekly, staff and patients meet to identify community issues that affect the care of each individual patient as well as relationships among staff members and patients.
Morning Check-In Group
First thing each day of program, individual patients and staff members meet to plan for their day and effectively anticipate events and issues that may emerge during the course of the day. Patients set goals for the day and rate their mood at the start of the day. Patient weights and behavioral symptoms are checked at this time as well.
This group helps patients identify where they are on the spiral of change and to practice change skills that allow them to move forward. The group helps patients identify the pros and cons of maintaining or stopping eating disorder behaviors, helps them identify discrepancies between their life goals/values and the present reality of living with an eating disorder.
Relational Therapy Group
This group provides a forum in which patients can begin to make connections between their relationships with food and their relationships with themselves and others. This group provides a safe environment for patients to identify their strategies for disconnection and to develop communication and connections with others.
This group facilitates practice of alternative coping and self-care strategies with an emphasis on relaxation techniques, such as positive imagery, breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation.
This group promotes parent empowerment, education, and skill development. A mental health therapist and dietitian co-lead the group. Parents are provided didactic education, coaching, and skills building related to emotion regulation and expression as well as meal planning/meal time assistance to help them manage eating disorders and move forward with their daughter or son in recovery.
Multi-Family Therapy Group
This group is attended by patients, their families/significant others and helps to increase their understanding and education about eating disorders and related family dynamics. Both information sharing and experiential exercises are involved. Topics include the recovery process, stages and process of change, the importance of mutual connections for recovery, ways to connect with loved ones that do not center on the eating disorder, and others.
Nutritional Meal Planning Group
This group provides patients with the opportunity to dispel myths and to acquire accurate information about such issues as health hazards associated with eating disorders; metabolism; healthy meal planning; fluids and electrolytes; and the role of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and dietary fat. The group also addresses issues related to meal planning, food preparation, and shopping to facilitate aftercare work.
Therapeutic Lunch, Snack, and Dinner Times
Therapeutic meals and snacks provide an opportunity for patients and staff to support group members in their efforts to nutritionally care for themselves. Members are expected to complete their meals and snacks within a prescribed time frame. At the end of meals, members have an opportunity to process their eating experiences, offer additional support to one another, and practice alternative coping strategies to manage feelings and thoughts that occur after meals.
Cognitive Therapy Group
This group allows patients to identify and change distorted and negative cognitions associated with their eating disorder and with themselves, others, and the world around them. This group includes discussion of biological and behavioral cues to emotions, selective reasoning errors in eating disorders, rational versus irrational beliefs, and ways to dispute irrational beliefs.
Cognitive Remediation Therapy Group
Individuals with eating disorders have difficulties with flexible thinking and being able to see the big picture. Patients experience all or nothing thinking, have difficulty changing their responses to situations when the rules or context changes, and are excessively detail-focused. This group helps patients practice cognitive tasks that activate neural circuits enabling improved cognitive flexibility and the ability to see the big picture, and targeting the processes that underpin negative, rigid and distorted thoughts.
Eating Disorder Psychoeducation Group
This group provides patients with the opportunity to acquire accurate information about eating disorders, including the nature of eating disorders; typical symptoms; biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors that maintain and perpetuate eating disorders; the effects of dieting and starvation, body weight and set point; a non-dieting approach to meals; reasoning errors associated with eating disorders; and displacement and body image distortions.
Body Image Psychotherapy Group
This group affords patients an opportunity to examine body image, especially body image distortion. Emphasis is put on body image development, the role of displacement in the development of eating disorders, understanding one's body story, and the impact of relationships on body image. Group discussion and exercises are aimed at promoting a healthier view and acceptance of one's body.
Coping Strategies in Recovery
This group reinforces the notion that recovery is an ongoing process and that symptoms and lapses signal increased stress, thus providing an opportunity for learning about the connections between one's relationship with food and one's relationship with self and others. This group assists participants in identifying stressors common in daily life and provides education and skill training to develop alternative coping strategies to more effectively manage stress and maintain recovery.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Training Group
Behaviors such as binging, purging and food restriction are often used to comfort oneself, avoid or control emotions, or express oneself. DBT Skills Training Group helps patients to develop and practice alternative skills that specifically promote emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Creative Expression/Music and Art Therapy Group
Each patient has the opportunity to explore his/her own eating disorder and its meanings and functions through such modalities as music, drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms. This group allows members to make connections between their relationships with food and their relationships with self and others through auditory and visual representations of these things.
Through modality, patients can experience the body as a source of information and satisfaction rather than the focus of unremitting conflict. Through kinesthetic sensing, patients can learn to attend to, identify, and even experience feelings and bodily sensations previously avoided. This group promotes relaxation and a more positive body image and greater awareness of how physical appearance is not the most important factor related to body image.
Goal Setting and Review/Evening and Weekend Planning Group
This group provides patients an opportunity to establish and review weekly goals. Patients also have an opportunity during this group to review their evening and weekend plans to ensure that they are engaging in activities and managing time in a way that facilitates treatment and their ongoing recovery outside program hours.
This group promotes the ability to accept and observe internal (emotions, thoughts, and sensations) and external events without judgment and to remain in the present (as opposed to worrying about the past or future). Activities include mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises.