Primary Psychotherapy

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Individual & Family Psychotherapy

Upon admission, clients are matched with a primary therapist who has training and experience in the treatment of eating disorders. Clients meet with their primary therapist 3 times weekly, for both individual and family sessions (most often conducted on the telephone) depending on need. Individual therapy sessions assist clients in exploring patterns and underlying meanings of her eating disordered behaviors and beliefs, help in developing insight into her needs and challenges, creating motivation and strategies for change and facilitate maintenance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Unlike many other psychotherapies, that just focus on patterns that the client is consciously aware of, our therapists also help patients to learn about patterns they might not be aware of. As well, we focus not just on pointing out patterns, but on building new strengths, and rediscovering existing ones. We help each patient to understand herself not only as someone with an illness, but rather, to focus on what her life would look like if she was able to treat herself with love and respect, and aim for the highest, most meaningful life she can design.

Family work is as varied as the clients we treat. Family therapy targets the specific needs of the family system with the goal of facilitating a system that is supportive of long-term wellness. For adults, at times family work is done with a supportive other such as a spouse or friend.

Family Week

Humans are inherently social. It’s just the way we are. Being social creatures comes with its upsides and its downsides. Some of our most cherished moments are experienced within the family and, unfortunately, so are some of our most difficult moments. Every family faces relationship challenges. Communication is not always easy. Setting boundaries, avoiding and resolving conflicts is difficult. Life within the family can be a challenge. For those 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 gatherings is not to provide answers or even to solve family problems. Rather, the purpose is to provide new information, invite new insights, and new experiences that may be helpful in building a foundation from which each family might find new ways to move forward in their recovery process.

Through presentations, encounters with other families, experiential activities, and the intensely personal experiences of Step Work, we believe that every family is provided with an opportunity to renew their confidence and resolve to engage in the recovery process.

Family Week is not intended to be family therapy. It is intended to assure that deep issues are brought forward in a therapeutic manner so that the family, resident and treatment team can proceed with clear direction.

Group Psychotherapy Process Group

Process-oriented groups are designed to provide a safe environment in which clients may share with others, and group work often provides a way for each client to learn about herself and hear feedback about her interpersonal patterns. The ideals of process group include honesty, empathy, self-awareness, mutual help and cooperation, non-judgment and appropriate assertiveness. Process groups engender a sense of hope, relationship building skills, belongingness, optimism and communication.

Body Image Group

Body Image Group focuses on supporting and challenging clients as they identify and practice small, incremental steps toward body acceptance through body remapping and desensitization. Over the course of this group, clients identify thoughts about their bodies that lead to suffering or ineffective behaviors and clients begin to critically examine the function of these behaviors related to their bodies and food. They also learn about the ineffectiveness of displacement of emotional concerns onto appearance and body image. This insight helps to normalize the relationship to the body.

Psycho-Educational Didactic Groups

Psycho-educational didactic groups are structured with stages of readiness in mind and are content-specific to some of the hallmark issues of recovery from eating disordered behaviors. Current classes include: Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPN), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness/Spirituality, and Recovery Maintenance. These classes are often very exciting and practical at the same time.