We understand that eating disorders are not “black and white”, and every child is different. We also know that early intervention in eating and body image concerns results in better outcomes. The evidence-based methods we use are rooted in science to help children and adolescents improve and overcome their own unique mental health struggles.
We begin each relationship with an initial consultation, in which we take the time to get to know your child’s particular struggles and concerns with eating and body image, mood, anxiety and fears, and any concerns related to experiencing trauma.
Initial Diagnostic Evaluation and Consultation
Due to the unique nature of problematic eating and a child who struggles with food, body image and weight concerns, our first session consists of an in-depth, 90- to 120-minute assessment of current and historical eating and activity-related behaviors, co-occurring mental health concerns and history, medical history and family history.
We will then collaborate on an individualized treatment plan which often includes a family therapy component. For some children and teens, we may recommend collaboration with a dietician, psychiatrist and/or physician. In addition, appropriateness of outpatient treatment will be assessed, and depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms, a higher level of care may be recommended.
In addition to those with eating disorders, we also treat children and teens who struggle with depression, anxiety disorders, and trauma-related concerns.
OUR FIRST LINE OF TREATMENT
Family Based Treatment (FBT)
Family Based Treatment, also referred to as the “Maudsley Approach”, is the first-line treatment for children, adolescents, and some younger adults with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, OSFED, and ARFID. FBT empowers parents with strategies and guidance to restore their child’s health. In the FBT model, parents are viewed as the best resource for their child’s recovery, and it firmly asserts that families do not cause eating disorders.
There are three phases of FBT:
Parents are empowered to take charge of meals as they help their child to reestablish regular eating patterns and to disrupt problematic eating disorder behaviors. The therapist provides instruction in how to manage the child at mealtimes.
A gradual return of control to the adolescent
Once weight is mostly restored, when eating disorder behaviors are under control and meals are less disruptive, control is gradually transferred back to the adolescent in an age-appropriate manner. This often includes the adolescent having snacks away from their parents.
Establishing healthy independence
The focus of treatment shifts to developing a healthy identity when the adolescent is not exhibiting eating disorder behaviors and when they are able to eat with age-appropriate independence.