Our model at Carolina House values a family-systems approach, and firmly believes that healing can only occur when the whole person and his or her closest supports are considered in their fullness. We believe that working with patients’ families is a critical component to our therapeutic task. Family therapy sessions are part of the daily programming, along with bi-monthly intensive family training and support.
Everyone in eating disorder recovery needs a strong support system. For teenagers and young adults who are recovering from an eating disorder, that support system often revolves around family. Teens and young adults typically return home after eating disorder treatment, and while returning home is beneficial in terms of the availability of support, it can also present a few challenges.
Eating disorders impact the entire family, disrupting daily routines and taking attention away from siblings and others. Family members may have conflicting emotions when their loved one comes home from an eating disorder treatment program – excitement to have their child, grandchild or sibling home, but also residual pain, resentment and frustration caused by hurtful memories from the past.
Recovery isn’t a one-time event that happens while a teenager is in an eating disorder treatment program. Rather, it is an ongoing process that takes place on a daily basis, surrounded by family and friends. For this reason, family involvement is a critical component of eating disorder recovery, particularly for adolescents.
Carolina House offers a reoccurring “Family Day” once very six weeks. Family Day entails a full day of psychoeducation and support for families or the primary support system of any current Carolina House patient. The day is focused on providing information about what treatment looks like for our patients, a realistic view of recovery and how best to support your loved one going through the recovery process.
Free Family Support Group:
Carolina House offers a free Weekly Family Support Group open to anyone in the community that has a loved one struggling with an eating disorder. The group is open and meets Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 in our outpatient facility: 1340 Sunday Drive, Suite 105, Raleigh, NC 26706
During eating disorder treatment, family therapy can help the entire family learn about:
- The causes and consequences of eating disorders, as well as the process of eating disorder recovery
- How to support their loved one during treatment, and help resolve underlying emotional issues
- Effective communication and conflict resolution
- Setting realistic expectations for themselves and others
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Developing a healthy sense of self
Some eating disorder treatment programs also facilitate multi-family group counseling. Attended by a number of families, these sessions provide another layer of support and understanding for the families of teens with eating disorders.
The process of recovery can be both inspiring and discouraging, with alternating successes and setbacks. Family therapy helps family members take care of themselves while offering the support and consistency their loved one in recovery needs. Offering unconditional support for a child or loved one may be a challenge, but the reward can be a full recovery from a life-threatening eating disorder and a closer parent-child relationship.