Psychotherapy as a Form of Eating Disorder Treatment

Monday, Nov 30  •  


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties and generally involves talking to a trained professional. This professional’s role is to help their client learn about themselves and recognize and face their problem. With help, individuals with eating disorders can become more confident and learn ways to cope with different situations. Therapy can also help an individual deal with other mental health problems that are associated with eating disorders such as anxiety, depression, or substance misuse. This communicative therapy can be done on an individual basis, in a group, or with the person’s family. 

The forms of psychotherapy that are used to treat at Avalon Hills include: 

Individual and Family Psychotherapy

Upon admission, each client is matched with a primary professional therapist who has had experience in the treatment of eating disorders. Clients meet with their primary therapist 3 times a week for both individual and family sessions. During the individual sessions, each client participates in the exploration of patterns and underlying meanings of the eating disordered behaviors, as well as the creation of strategies for a healthier lifestyle. Our therapists help each client visualize what her life would look like if she were able to treat herself with love and respect. 

Family sessions depend on the needs of the client and generally take place over the phone. These family sessions target the specific needs of the family system with the goal of facilitating a system that is supportive of long-term wellness. For adults, family work is often done with a supportive other such as a spouse or friend. 

Family Week 

Some of our most cherished moments are experienced with the ones we love most, unfortunately, so are some of our most difficult moments. Communication, even with those we are closest to, is not always easy. For families experiencing the impact of an eating disorder, the normal difficulties become even more difficult. 

Each spring and fall, Avalon Hills brings families together who have a family member suffering from an eating disorder. The purpose of these events is to educate families, provide new insights, and create new experiences that may help build a foundation from which each family might find new ways to move forward in the recovery process. 

Group Process Sessions

Process-oriented groups are designed to provide a safe environment in which clients may share with others, learn more about themselves, and hear feedback about their interpersonal patterns. Process groups provide a sense of hope, relationship building skills, belongingness, optimism, and communication. 

Body Image Groups 

During body image sessions, clients identify thoughts about their bodies that lead to suffering and ineffective behaviors. With a therapist, they examine the function of these negative behaviors related to their bodies and ultimately grow to normalize their relationship with their body. 

Psycho-Educational Didactic Groups 

These group sessions are structured with educational content related to eating disorder recovery. Information covers Interpersonal Neurobiology, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness/Spirituality, and Recovery Maintenance.

To schedule a call with one of our Admissions specialists, please click here.