Sunday, June 10, 2012

Outpatient Therapy

The type of treatment I enrolled in is called Intensive Outpatient Therapy. As part of this treatment, I eat dinner at the clinic 3 nights a week, and spend an hour on either side of dinner in group therapy with other girls who have eating disorders. One day out of those three, I get weighed and get my blood pressure taken. That same day I see a psychologist for about 45 minutes and we talk about whatever.
In the first group so far we’ve been over a couple of skills that supposedly help us step out of emotion states that could encourage us to engage in eating disordered behaviors. They’re all pretty easy stuff, and I think they could be useful. In another post I’ll talk about some of them.
During dinner, everyone has to follow their meal card. The meal card was prepared by the nutritionist at the beginning of treatment and for each meal you have to eat a certain amount of different types of food. At dinner, I have to eat three starchy things, which is a little bit distressing because in my book starchy foods aren’t healthy and I would rather substitute things like vegetables. Other people have to eat extra fats, or more starches, or more fruit. I’ll admit that I do try to prepare a meal with the least amount of calories possible while still following the plan, but I can’t get away with much less than 600.
After dinner, we have either a venting session or cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to help us restructure our thoughts, so it could be really useful in shifting beliefs about body image, forbidden foods, and self-esteem. The venting sessions can be awkward, or they can be really useful. The most recent one was extremely useful for me, but for the first half of it conversation was very strained. I don’t think our particular group has formed much of a bond, or maybe we’re all just too self-conscious to talk. I know I am.
The other parts of treatment are keeping a food log and an eating-disorder behavior diary. I don’t know if anyone reads either of those, but they’re supposed to keep watch on how much of our required food we take in. In this type of therapy it would be really easy to lie on those self-reports, so I don’t know how effective those are, but I tell the truth on them, and I hope others do too.
The treatment only lasts 4-6 weeks, so I don’t know how effective it will be.
I just want people to know what kinds of things people do in this type of treatment, and that it’s not scary, and it’s not hard. 

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