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Treatment Approaches

Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

The River Centre Clinic staff have been pioneers in the development of an enhanced cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically designed for treating eating disorders. This model is based on cognitive theory in which the patient and therapist collaborate in the process of recovery. Using a variety of creative strategies, the therapist guides the patient in identifying negative thought patterns and core beliefs that interfere with normal functioning. The therapist and patient then work together to develop new and more constructive ways of thinking and behaving to bring about positive emotional change. Resistance to change is common obstacle for many people, particularly, when they are directed to focus on behavioral change of eating-disorder symptoms. We understand that you may lack motivation or, at the very least, experience ambivalence at the beginning of therapy and at certain points thereafter. One of the key aspects of our approach is to assist in cultivating and sustaining motivation for change. This form of CBT is referred to as “enhanced” because in it integrates interpersonal and expressive forms of therapy to achieve more lasting results. It is applied in individual, group and family formats individualized for each patient.

Individual Therapy

On the first day of admission, program participants are assigned to one or two staff members for individual therapy meetings. Your individual therapist will be your primary guide throughout the treatment process. Therapists will spend many hours each week with you in groups and in individual meetings, so we get to know you quickly. The highly concentrated time with you in group therapy sessions and at mealtimes allows us to be focused and goal directed in individual meetings. You will meet with your individual therapist throughout the week. One of the aims of individual therapy is to help overcome fears and inhibitions experienced in a group setting.

Group Therapy

Our adult and adolescent programs strongly emphasize group therapy because it provides you with opportunities to learn from interactions with other people suffering from eating disorders. The group therapy format can also play a valuable role in recovery by providing you with hope, reassurance, and understanding. Group therapy sessions are led by experienced RCC staff members and will be held twice a day, with each session lasting 90 minutes. Some groups are primarily educational in nature while others address the specific therapeutic issues that pertain to individual group participants. Group topics include discussion of body image, self-esteem, coping strategies, stress, assertiveness, emotions, problem solving, interpersonal issues, sexual issues, and family relationships. Educational groups focus on a range of topics pertinent to eating disorders including cultural factors, body image, basic nutrition, the biology of weight regulation, the effects of restrictive dieting, the self-perpetuating cycle of binge eating and vomiting, physical complications, self-esteem, relapse prevention, transition to discharge, follow-up planning, family issues, and eating disorders themselves. Even though you may feel reluctant at first to talk in groups, program participants have consistently reported that the group format is one of the most helpful aspects of the program.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is emphasized, especially for adolescents, because parents have the potential to provide powerful directives in support of therapeutic goals. Family involvement is a cornerstone of treatment since eating disorder symptoms typically affect everyone close to the person who is suffering with the eating disorder. Family therapy is one of the cornerstones of treatment and required for nearly all patients who are under the age of 18 or who are living at home. From a practical perspective, parents or guardians are legally responsible for the patient’s well being, and parents can provide powerful directives that support therapeutic goals. From a theoretical perspective, the interaction between family members and the patient’s thinking, feeling, and behavior is usually so salient that it compels family involvement. We can schedule family meetings or therapy sessions regularly or periodically, according to the patient’s individual treatment plan. Each patient’s individual treatment plan may change over the course of treatment.

Nutritional Rehabilitation

The goal of nutritional rehabilitation is to help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, as well as to develop appropriate eating patterns that will lead to true control over the eating process. On your first day of treatment, a structured meal plan will be developed for you, based on your body weight and eating history. In general, meal planning involves structured eating in which the exact foods and mealtimes are specified in advance. A food plan is tailored to your individual needs and is supervised by a dietitian and physician. Specially trained staff members also supervise meal planning and meals. The aim of the nutritional rehabilitation program is to eliminate physical and mental complications associated with under-nutrition or dietary chaos. In the process, you will also learn that your metabolic functioning responds in a predictable manner without inappropriate weight gain. As soon as you are able to successfully implement meal planning on your own, you will plan and prepare all of your own food, with the assistance of our staff.

Medical and Medication Services

Our staff psychiatrist, consulting physicians and nurse will provide a complete medical evaluation to address your initial and ongoing medical needs. Your current medications will be evaluated and prescriptions are provided. A premimum is placed on patients who require medication so they may develop an understanding of their medication needs and health issues.