Michael J. Prince, B.A., Psychology


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Michael J. Prince, B.A., Psychology

The Three Stages of Treatment

It is a long and hard struggle, but once the victim has realized that her continuous diet regimen is not a diet, but a form of self-annihlation, recovery begins. There are three stages of treatment: the Learning Stage, the Changing Stage, and the Anticipatory Stage. Relapse is possible if the victim slacks off during treatment and followups, so beware of the pitfalls, understand them when they occur, and strengthen your willpower to fight the binge urges.

The Learning Stage

The learning stage begins when the individual moves from a state of denial to one of acknowledgement. Establishing an intellectual understanding of all that is involved in the process of recovery, is the the first task in the recovery process. It enables the person to "understand the beginning, the middle, and the end process." When the client understands what problems she must solve, a sense of control is fostered. She no longer feels recovery is dictated by others, but by herself, which is a necessary step. In many cases this is the first time throughout the clients experience that she is experiencing true control. At the start of treatment many clients do not realize that their problems with food also stems from problems in their past and present life. The individual learns that the disordered eating behavior is a symptom of other things, and that eating disorders involve much more than bad food habits. The Learning Stage is for the patient to increase her knowledge and awareness of the eating disorder, what is involved in the recovery process and how past experiences are related to present activities. Learning the who, what, when, where, how, why of eating disorders expedites recovery and a return to body and mind wholeness.

The Changing Stage

The changing stage consists of two phases; personal growth, and the combination of personal growth, foods, and weight behaviors. The focus of the Changing Stage is to alter that which exists in the present.

  • Healing the pain from the past that has been kept inside by the eating disorder.
  • Resolution of the issues with one's family of origin.
  • Facing and working through the unresolved issues in one's own marriage.
  • Working on the psychological, emotional, and relational issues.
  • Normalization of eating and weight.

The Anticipating Stage

The Anticipating Stage focuses on the future. During this time the client with the eating disorder learns skills to sope with stressors which may arise after treatment. These stressors may lead her to revert back to her distructive behavior. With future planning of the coping mechanism the client gains a greater sense of coping with issues in a more constructive manner. The greatest fear a client may encounter is reverting back to the previous unhealthy behavior. Through will power, and the support of her family and friends, and the helpful strategies learned in therapy the patient is able to successfully overcome her disorder.

Making a Journal

Making a Journal of Eating Disorder is an essential treatment tool. It records what is happening while it is happening and these thoughts and perceptions can later be shared with your therapist or friend. Your journal can include your stress & anxiety management information as well.

Each binge and purge attack is preceded by an antecedent event which is usually subtle and thus more difficult to detect and alter. The antecedent (from a behavioral point of view) aquires it's influence because of it's association with certain consequences. For example, the binge/purge attack was most likely preceded by a triggering device, and "all" of these triggers have to be indentified and worked through if success is to be found. Write these down using the "who, what, when, where, why, how" method. Just list these and fill in the blanks. The consequence is usually rewarding, but produces a psychological harmful cycle that is also psysiological harmful.

Note any stressors during your day and what you did to change the situation, or if you did nothing, note that as well. A picture will begin to form and a pattern emerge from these exercises.

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