Family Therapy in Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are most prevalent in young women, be regardless of age and gender, the people who care about the person suffering need counseling, education. The family will continue to support this person beyond the time of treatment. They will all continue in their relationships. When someone is in treatment for an eating disorder, it is a pivotal time in her life. Almost everything in their world is being challenged to change. It is very helpful to the patient and to the family system to have therapy together as part of eating disorder treatment.
Parents and siblings feel helpless. They want to help their loved one but they don’t know how. Sometimes it seems like their efforts to help only makes things worse. Communication has broken down. Everyone is stressed and scared. There is little trust and everyone is feeling fearful, angry and guilty.
The work that the family does in therapy continues work beyond the course of treatment. Family therapy begins when a patient’s treatment team feels he or she is ready. The therapist does a careful analysis of the family system. This usually includes parents, siblings and spouses (if applicable) of the patient. The family is introduced to a therapeutic process of change – changes in the way they communicate, how they deal with feelings and how they support each other. The benefits of family therapy continue beyond the course of treatment as they implement what they’ve learned, enriching their relationships and better supporting one another.