We believe that the best treatment for an eating disorder involves a team of professionals providing a combination of approaches. Although the eating behavior is only a symptom of an underlying emotional conflict, it does need to be directly addressed as new, healthier coping mechanisms are being learned. Therapy may be individual or group, and is often cognitive/behavioral, attempting to change distorted thinking; and interpersonal, encouraging understanding of the function of the behavior. Therapy will include members of the immediate family whenever possible, especially with younger individuals still living at home. Our therapists are familiar with the Maudsley method and can coach parents who are involved in home based treatment for anorexia.
In addition to a therapist, a registered dietitian is very important as the person who will prescribe the needed changes in eating patterns and weight. Our Registered Dietitians embrace the “Health at Every Size” philosophy. Health at Every Size is based on a simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. The HAES approach encourages self-acceptance and natural diversity in body size and shape. It promotes the benefits of physical activity by encouraging social and pleasurable movement. It supports people adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being. Through mindful eating, people learn to eat in a flexible manner that values pleasure, honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite, which leads to a normal and peaceful relationship with food.
Disordered eating interferes with one’s ability to hear and honor internal signals of hunger and satisfaction. Therefore a more structured, meal planning approach is often needed until weight and eating behaviors are more normalized. Through therapy and individualized nutrition counseling people reconnect with their body and learn to trust themselves.
Groups can help to shed the secrecy and denial which are part of the problem. There is a free Community Support Group meeting at Forest View Hospital on the 2nd and 4th Mondays at 7 p.m.; we help to staff these meetings, with Kassidy Witnauer & Karen Holmquist serving as co-leaders to the patient group; Monica Willson leads a separate group for parents and support persons on the 4th Monday.
We currently offer three sessions of small group therapy led by Rebecca Suggitt and Monica Willson. Groups meet weekly and offer a safe environment for support, encouragement, and mutual accountability. There is a cost for these groups: for registration, or to discuss possible insurance payment, please call 957-7700 and ask to speak to Gail, Rebecca or Monica.
We integrate experiential therapy into the recovery process whenever possible, believing that the mind-body connection is a crucial part of long term wellness. Activities such as art, movement, yoga, and therapeutic outings can be a crucial adjunct to the more traditional therapies.
Occasionally, hospitalization or a residential placement may be necessary for the patient whose condition is more severe, or does not respond to outpatient therapy. We will assist you in making a referral to the appropriate facility and will remain involved in your care.
We maintain a directory of therapists across the state and region, and network with many of the national organizations involved in eating disorders treatment and prevention. Ask us for more information.
Therapy for recovery from an eating disorder can often involve months to years of treatment. The need for intensive and/or long-term treatment is not always well recognized by insurance companies. We will do our best to make treatment recommendations based on what we believe is clinically necessary. We will also explore insurance benefits on your behalf, and advocate with your carrier when necessary. You should be aware that you have final responsibility for payment.
Should you elect not to use your medical insurance, or should treatment not be a covered benefit under your plan, we offer an administrative discount on services if you choose to pay in full at the time of each visit. Please speak to your therapist about your financial concerns.
We are contracted with Advantage Billing to provide billing services. Advantage is located at 560 5th St. NW, Suite 305, in Grand Rapids. If at any time you have questions about your balance, insurance billing, or need a current statement, you may contact Advantage at 235-2090.