At Rogers, we look to science to inform our treatment approach. Within the past few years, numerous research studies have shown that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been an effective tool to help people with eating disorders challenge their patterns of thinking and behaviors that cause and maintain their eating disorder, such as restricting, binging, purging and self-harm.
Over the past year, clinical services manager Robyn Welk-Richards and the clinical team at the Eating Disorder Center at Rogers have integrated essential elements of Dialectical Behavior Therapy into the center’s comprehensive treatment approach. “Our philosophy encourages self-empowerment, so that the individual’s recovery is a result of his or her own success. By incorporating a DBT-informed approach into our already well-established treatment program we have expanded our ability to help our residents discover their personal values system and self-worth, two things that an eating disorder often has taken away.”
“During their stay, residents receive DBT-informed care through a combination of educational assignments, process-focused and interactive skills-based groups that are woven into weekly themes,” states Welk-Richards. “They learn how to better identify and tolerate emotions and gain clearer understanding to what information these emotions are providing. Emotions convey important messages and information that, through these skills, we can learn how to interpret and use instead of avoiding." By working interactively with the clinical team, residents are able to develop and build their own crisis survival kit, “so that in the future, when they’re faced with a distressing situation in which hurting oneself seems like the only option, they discover healthy options and have them at their fingertips.”
Welk-Richards noted that the response from the Eating Disorder Center residents to the DBT-informed approach has been affirming. She was particularly pleased with the comments one 16-year-old resident made about mindfulness, which is considered one of the core concepts behind all the other DBT skills. “Mindfulness is a technique that I really struggled with at first – I actually laughed at it and didn’t believe it was important.” But then she shared that while at Rogers she had the time to practice this skill on a daily basis and reflected on just how powerful this tool can be. “I understand the purpose of mindfulness and I really think I will be able to use it when I go home and am feeling overwhelmed...I have found my voice again!”
Tags: eating disorder treatment, Dialectical Behavior Therapy