When treating teens with eating disorders, family therapy often plays an essential part in recovery. Family therapy is an evidence-based intervention that can be used to support those that have a loved one struggling with eating disorders. It is often a very crucial part of a teen’s or loved one’s recovery.
Family therapy is an important component of treatment, both in terms of understanding how familial patterns may have been contributing factors in the disordered eating and in terms of empowering family members to be more effective in supporting their loved one’s recovery.
The focus for family therapy is:
Educational– It is essential for family members to understand the dynamics of the eating disorder, so that they can disengage from the pattern of blaming and/or rescuing that is often present when individuals with the eating disorder are at their worst
Behavioral – There is a strong behavioral component in the continuation of most eating disorders. The triggers and/or the reinforcers must be identified and modified for the individual to regain health
Insightful – Eating disorders are often passed on from generation to generation, or are a part of the patient’s family culture. Other family related issues such as divorce, illness, death, a move, or parenting styles can play a role in maintaining the disorder