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This chapter discusses art therapy: images of recovery. Art therapy is a mental health profession that provides an alternative means of communication and often can be the treatment of choice for clients processing recovery from traumatic events, as well as eating disorders (EDs). Through the art making process, a visual dialogue between the client and the art images is created. The client’s self-talk and internal messages can be documented in an imagistic form. Art therapists are extensively trained to assist the client in creative expression and in facilitation of the client’s self-exploration. Using art therapy with EDs is a unique therapeutic approach that exposes conflicts, problems, thoughts, and behaviors that are not simply about food or a number on the scale. ED patients have extreme fear of being negatively evaluated. The art therapist works toward eliminating those fears by giving the clients creative control over their selfexpression.
This chapter presents a guide for assessing comorbid eating disorders (EDs) and trauma in a way that shapes and directs treatment. It draws together a combination of assessment tools and principles from the fields of EDs, trauma, and generic mental health, as there is limited literature available on this specific area of assessment. The chapter summarizes various aspects of assessment into distinct sets of guidelines, to help steer the clinician and client through a vast maze of information toward a meaningful formulation and treatment plan. It provides a road map to facilitate comprehensive assessments that lead to the construction of insightful formulations and the delivery of engaging treatment plans. The authors believe that trauma-informed ED assessment guides safe and effective treatment, shining a beacon of light on the road toward transformation and healing.
- Go to chapter: Boats and Sharks: A Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Approach to the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Trauma
Boats and Sharks: A Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Approach to the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Trauma
This chapter presents a case study of a sensorimotor psychotherapy (SP) approach to eating disorder (ED) treatment. In contrast to traditional psychotherapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), that lean heavily on the impact of thoughts on emotional experiences and somatic patterns, also known as top-down processing, SP also uses bottom-up processing, the effect that one’s somatic organization has on affect and affect regulation, cognitive functioning and specific beliefs about self and other. The very core of SP is four foundational principles that cultivate therapeutic presence and guide both content and quality of interventions: organicity, nonviolence, unity, body/mind/spirit holism. SP understands human experience through the lens of five core organizers: thoughts, emotions, and three somatic organizers. SP explores actions as a cycle with four stages: clarity, effectiveness, satisfaction, and relaxation.
This chapter offers ways to be an effective therapist for clients who suffer from both an eating disorder and trauma (ED&T). It describes the importance of therapeutic presence and how to facilitate safety and healing through the therapeutic relationship. The information provided is equally applicable to all phases of treatment. Therapy for ED&T clients involves providing safety, education, insight, and a corrective emotional experience, thereby allowing the client to rectify faulty thought, emotional, and behavioral patterns. Therapists need to use their training and the therapeutic relationship for this to happen. The author’s experience treating ED&T clients corroborates the need for therapy training programs to increase their focus on training therapists how to achieve therapeutic presence, establish a positive alliance, and use the relationship to put the client’s symptoms out of a job.
The quintessential element of the therapeutic community (TC) approach is community. It is the element of community that distinguishes the TC from all other treatment or rehabilitative approaches to substance abuse and related disorders. TCs differ profoundly from other communities in their rationale and purpose. This chapter discusses the general characteristics of community as a treatment approach: its relationship to the TC perspective, its healing and learning properties, and its social and cultural features. It translates this approach into a specific method the components of which are the “active ingredients” in the treatment process. Residents in TCs have been labeled as bad or rebellious kids, dangerous addicts or criminals, failures or losers, sick or crazy. The negative social labels become embedded in self-perceptions regarding their social and personal identities. The community approach fosters change in the social and personal elements of identity.
In the therapeutic community (TC), the therapeutic and educational component that focuses specifically on the individual consists of the various forms of group process. The groups that are TC-oriented, such as encounters, probes, and marathons, retain distinctive self-help elements of the TC approach. This chapter provides an overview of general elements and forms of group process in the TC. Conventional psychotherapy and group therapy have not been particularly effective with substance abusers entering TCs for various reasons. Group tools are certain strategies of verbal and nonverbal interchange that are employed by participants to facilitate individual change in group process. There are two main classes of group process strategies: provocative tools and evocative tools. Provocative tools, hostility or anger, engrossment, and ridicule or humor, are most pointedly used to penetrate denial and break down deviant coping strategies such as lying.
Community is the primary means of teaching and healing in the therapeutic community (TC). This chapter presents an overview of the four main facility-wide community meetings, namely, morning meeting, seminar, and house meeting, and general meeting, as organized components of the daily regimen. The common purpose of the main meetings in the TC is to enhance the perception of community among the participants. These differences reflect community and clinical management as well as psychological considerations. Each meeting focuses on a specific component of community business and clinical transactions involving a large number of residents. This provides oversight of the physical security of the house and facilitates assessment of overall clinical status of the residents. Changes in individual or collective mood, attitude, and behavior can be quickly detected within a single day’s observation. Overall the various meetings are essential for efficient community as well as clinical management of the facility.
This chapter provides a brief description on eating disorders and the case for emotions. Throughout this chapter, the author have used the terms “emotion” and “feeling” interchangeably, although neurologically they can be understood as different stages of the emotional experience. Much of this chapter is how the author teach clients emotional courage and competence, but it has also helped many clinicians in their own journeys. Change is what we most often fear, even if it means shaking off toxic residue and stepping into the unknown of a different and healthier identity. So-called “good” feelings often end up scaring us as much as the “bad” ones, because they, too, invite change. Feeling requires courage. The emotion knocking on your door is letting you know that you have reason to be excited or fearful and that your aliveness is calling you to a larger version of yourself.