Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld is a licensed psychologist, certified group psychotherapist, certified eating disorder specialist, and the author of “Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight”. Her work also focuses on substance use disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, fertility challenges, relationship concerns, and sport and exercise psychology. In addition to directing Gatewell Therapy Center in Miami, she is a co-occurring (eating disorders and substance use disorders) consultant at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. Dr. Rosenfeld works with individuals, couples, families, and groups, using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, and motivational interviewing approaches. In this week’s post, Dr. Rosenfeld shares the benefits of group therapy.
Why would you want to sit in a room with complete strangers learning about their struggles and being encouraged to reveal your own?
It might be daunting to consider group therapy when even the notion of individual therapy might be overwhelming or when you think that being in group might not allow you sufficient time and space to process your concerns.
But what if you learned that group therapy is just as effective as individual therapy – for treating a wide range of symptoms – and that group participation offers a unique therapeutic advantage? For instance, group therapy provides a venue where you can learn from your peers and receive their feedback and support. It’s one thing to discuss strategies with a therapist regarding how to target a specific difficulty and another to hear from someone who has successfully overcome this same difficulty. Being among peers might also provide an additional layer of support, as you recognize that you’re not the only one who struggles in certain ways. The universality of experience should not be underestimated. Moreover, as we bravely reveal ourselves in group, we directly challenge some of the vulnerabilities and shame that might be holding us back.
For those who are looking to improve how they communicate with and relate to others, group provides the perfect “laboratory” in which to try out new ways of interacting. Interested in becoming more assertive or setting firm boundaries with others? How about managing anger and conflict more effectively? Your individual therapist can address these issues with you as you bring content into your sessions, but it’s a whole other ballgame when your group therapist is able to witness how these dynamics unfold in real time. She can use information from group to help you establish more effective interpersonal patterns in “real life.”
Not sold yet? Group therapy offers a cost-effective alternative to individual therapy, and group treatment allows access to a larger population of individuals, who might not otherwise receive care.
Check out Dr. Rosenfeld’s interview on group therapy with ABC News:
This blog originally published on Gatewell Therapy Center.
In the field as a whole, we are finally starting to see a paradigm shift from the idea that you can spot an eating disorder on the surface, to the understanding that eating disorders actually manifest in all different types of bodies. Thankfully, individuals with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) are seeking treatment for an issue that otherwise thrives in shame and secrecy. With a more diverse milieu at the residential, partial, and intensive-outpatient level of care, it is important that as treatment providers we work to keep constantly crafting spaces and implementing treatment protocol that feels safe, supportive and recovery oriented environments for all of our patients. At the Oliver-Pyatt Centers, a Monte Nido and Affiliates program, Leslee Gilbert, LMFT and Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CEDRD, LD/N are providing specialized clinical and nutritional protocol for individuals who admit with a diagnosis of BED and training staff to best support individuals on this end of the eating disorder spectrum.
A client who walks through our doors seeking recovery from BED is offered the multidisciplinary and highly individualized care as all of our patients. At Oliver-Pyatt Centers, Primary Therapist, Leslee Gillette runs a BED breakout group once a week. As with all eating disorders, it is clear that shame is a huge component of the illness, and for clients in larger bodies, this shame can be particularly magnified when seeking treatment for an eating disorder. With the still somewhat pervasive stereotype of an eating disorder being a thin calorically restrictive female who has a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, asking for help can be that much harder for an individual struggling with binge eating who may be in a larger body. Often times, such clients share that despite the pervasiveness of their eating disorder, they were very hesitant to seek treatment The breakout group works to help individuals develop compassion in relating to self and others through what is being experienced in treatment- a microcosm of what is often experienced in the outside world.
The nutritional work in the treatment of clients with the diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder is the same as the work with all other clients in that the main objective is to legalize and normalize all foods. Contrary to what many of our clients have tried time and time again before seeking out treatment, we do not set out to change weight, rather we focus on cessation of disordered behaviors, work to heal the relationship with food and work toward the goal of sustained health and wellbeing. As anyone with an eating disorder, our clients with BED present with a myriad of medical complications that result from malnutrition. The work of our team is to help individuals eat and move in a way that results in stabilized markers of health such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin levels. This regulation is achieved when an individual is eating and moving in a consistent, and stable way. This does not mean that certain foods are cut out from a person’s diet, on the contrary, an individual with a diagnosis of BED will sit down at a meal and have the same food served to them as anyone else at the table. All of our clients work through individualized dietary exposures and for clients with BED, this often means confronting go-to “binge foods”. By eating in this way, we are able to not only challenge and diminish shame around meal times, but help individuals connect to mindfulness cues such as hunger, fullness, and satiety that help them make informed dietary choices for themselves.
With clinical support for the program, Leslee and Mary have been able to offer support to the team of recovery coaches, the individuals who spend the most one-on-one time with clients and help them understand how to provide redirecting feedback that is non-shaming, helpful and compassionate. Similar training is being provided to all staff that focuses on empowering staff to feel confident in offering supportive challenges to all patients. Some of this training includes details that might be overlooked such as the arrangement and type of furniture offered. The goal is to help all individuals feel like they are supported in confronting their eating disorder and that full recovery is a possibility for all bodies.
To learn more about specialized Binge Eating Disorder programming, please reach out to Admissions at 888-228-1253.
Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.
How Children’s Body Confidence Can Start at Home Eating Disorder Hope
How Looking at the Facts Reduces Anxiety and Anger Psychology Today
Are You Bullying Yourself? Huffington Post
Journeying Through Depression Recovery Project Heal