The Importance of Family Support While Working Toward Eating Disorder Recovery

People who are working toward eating disorder recovery can greatly benefit from family involvement and support. The need for support extends to family members, as they walk alongside their loved one working toward recovery. For both patients and their family members, coping with eating disorders in women or men becomes more approachable with compassionate collaboration.

With help from skilled eating disorder treatment specialists, families can offer the support their loved ones need while receiving their own encouragement from the treatment team. Throughout the recovery process, treatment centers encourage family involvement to build and strengthen these connections. The treatment center may offer specialized family-involved treatment activities and special events to encourage families to engage in the treatment process.

When families and loved ones work together to offer support in reaching eating disorder recovery, true and lasting recovery is even more likely to be achieved. Family members of individuals with eating disorders can begin this journey with an exploration into the importance of family involvement and support.

The Role of Family Support in Eating Disorder Recovery

As a part of the eating disorder recovery process, patients work on repairing the relationship with themselves and building connections with a strong and positive social network. At the center of this social network are the closest family members to the patient. For some individuals, these family members may be parents or guardians, while others may rely on their aunts, uncles, cousins or friends. By repairing, building and strengthening these relationships, individuals with eating disorders have someone to reach out to in the face of stress or triggering situations.

Eating disorder treatment centers reinforce the idea of their patients leaning on their families and loved ones rather than turning back to unhealthy coping mechanisms. When family members have the tools and resources they need, they can act as a solid source of support during these difficult times.

As family members participate in the eating disorder treatment process they gain the understanding, skills and resources to remain strong and supportive every step of the way. Outpatient eating disorder treatment staff ensure families know how to respond to crises and reach out for care when setbacks or other challenges occur.

Barriers to Involvement of Family in Recovery

The barriers to the involvement of family in recovery are numerous and often difficult to overcome without professional assistance. Although eating disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, environmental factors and societal pressures, family members may assign fault to themselves or have other strong emotions that come up upon learning of their loved one’s eating disorder.

To become a source of support for those with eating disorders, family members may have to overcome feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion and even anger. Eating disorder treatment centers can provide the knowledge and support needed to overcome this challenge by using non-judgmental care strategies and protocols.

Family members may also need education about eating disorders and the evidence-based treatments available. Comprehensive education about the effectiveness of individual, group and family therapies, sensitive exposure exercises and other components of the treatment process can help promote family involvement. Eating disorder treatment centers may also offer insightful and approachable educational materials and resources about eating disorders. These materials may cover the symptoms, causes and treatment options for eating disorders along with strategies for offering ongoing support in in this process.

How Eating Disorder Treatment Centers Involve Family Members

Effective outpatient eating disorder treatment centers directly involve the family of their patients in the recovery process. As care providers understand the importance of family involvement, treatment centers make family care and support a priority. Eating disorder professionals offer guidance, education and care to ensure family members are able to remain strong for their loved one.

Family acts as an integral part of the eating disorder treatment process starting from the initial admissions assessment. Family members can accompany their loved one to the admissions appointment to meet the treatment team, tour the residential or day treatment center and learn about what to expect. Treatment centers may invite families back on a weekly basis for individual and group therapy sessions. Family members who reside far from the treatment center may even be able to participate in the eating disorder recovery process remotely.

Family involvement may increase as patients begin to practice their foundational skills outside of the treatment center setting. Many families help their loved one approach sensitive exposure activities and reach their eating disorder treatment goals. The ongoing involvement and support from family members allow patients to feel confident about applying what they have learned in treatment in real life situations. Receiving support through this process can help patients avoid setbacks that could result in the need for additional treatment.

Value of Individual and Group Family Therapy Models

Throughout the eating disorder treatment process, families may have the opportunity to visit the center weekly for individual and group therapy sessions. These therapy appointments allow for the exploration into the impacts and challenges presented with the development of eating disorders. Individuals with eating disorders may benefit from sitting down with family and having an open discussed about the disorder, the family unit and any other pertinent topics. Family members can learn how to more effectively communicate, solve problems and offer each other support in difficult times.

Individual family therapy focuses on bringing the patient and their loved ones together to discuss various topics with the eating disorder therapist. The sessions give everyone a chance to talk about challenges and successes in recovery from every point of view. This type of family therapy goes beyond individual sessions by allowing everyone in the family unit to work together on a common goal of helping their loved one on their recovery. The sense of understanding and strengthened bonds built in therapy support the patient’s transition from the outpatient eating disorder treatment center to home. The alliance created with family members may help prevent relapse, as patients learn to turn to their loved ones rather than returning to disordered thought patterns and behaviors.

Group family therapy, on the other hand, opens the doors for many families to come together, each working toward similar goals. Several family groups may come together for a meal to discuss their journey toward eating disorder recovery. These group sessions allow for a deeper understanding and the development of new perspectives and insights on eating disorders. As families share their challenges with others, opportunities to gain knowledge, hear new perspectives and develop lasting connections are provided.

Individual and group family therapy allows for complete participation on the road to recovery from an eating disorder. Excellent outpatient eating disorder treatment centers may offer special events that help build and strengthen connections between patients and their family members.

Special Events for the Development of Strong Family Relationships

Special events can help increase families’ understanding of evidence-based protocols and strategies used to treat eating disorders in women. Exceptional outpatient eating disorder treatment centers will bring in family members on a regular basis to experience the treatment programming for themselves. Family members can move through the treatment programming for the day alongside their loved one to see how it works.

Depending on the day’s schedule, family programming may offer education and insights on the eating disorder treatment centers’ food philosophy, mission and approach to treatment. Individual and group family therapy sessions may take up much of the day for these family-centric events. Through the therapy sessions, families can work through the challenges they face throughout the eating disorder recovery process.

To help families learn about the structure and support offered during mealtimes, special luncheons are often held during the group family therapy sessions. Patients and their families can practice mindful eating together during these times, which can serve to ease the transition home after graduating from the eating disorder treatment centers.

Helping Loved Ones Enter Eating Disorder Treatment

Oftentimes, the most difficult part of becoming recovered is taking the first step in reaching out for help from eating disorder treatment centers. Families can help their loved ones enter treatment for eating disorders in women by offering compassionate support at the first sign of a problem. Although this may be difficult at first, support is available from reputable eating disorder treatment centers. Family members can reach out to the care team at their local treatment centers for resources and assistance.

Skilled admissions specialists have the knowledge and training needed to help family members encourage their loved ones to seek help from a compassionate care team. These professionals can also provide family members with recommended reading resources that help build knowledge before the patient’s entrance into the treatment program. These resources can help family members support and encourage their loved ones throughout the process.

Families must strive to remain empathetic and gentle while expressing their concerns and encouraging their loved one to seek help. Taking this compassionate approach can help reduce negative thoughts and feelings, removing some of the barriers to seeking eating disorder treatment. With support, people with eating disorders can build up the courage needed to enter treatment and put in the work to become recovered.

Reach Out to Admissions Specialists to Learn More about Eating Disorder Treatment

When their loved one is ready to enter an effective inpatient or outpatient treatment program, families can help them reach out to the center of choice. With a single phone call, it is possible to begin the admissions process and get started on the road to eating disorder recovery. Patients only need to complete their admissions questionnaire and phone assessment to begin the process. With a review of all medical, insurance and other clinical information, the care team can determine if the treatment center offers the level and type of support the patient needs. Upon completing this process, the admissions specialist will help the patient schedule a convenient admission date and time. Patients will also receive information on how to prepare for the admissions process.

Family members are encouraged to accompany their loved one to the treatment center and stay throughout the admissions process. Patients who receive their family’s support at that stage can ease into the transition to treatment much easier and with more confidence. The admissions team will explain to family members what they can expect in the coming weeks and months. Family members can ask as many questions as needed to remain a supportive force for the patient, aligning with their recovery goals.

Families of people with eating disorders can reach out to the team at Oliver-Pyatt Centers to receive support in helping their loved one enter treatment. Admissions specialists are available at 866-511-4325 to listen to concerns, answer questions and help patients start their journey toward recovery. We encourage families to reach out anytime they need support from our team of highly-trained and compassionate staff members.