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Family-Based Treatment with a Dietitian Nutritionist in the St. Louis Area, Help Teens Achieve Recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, BED, and other Eating Disorders

Access Outpatient Family-Based Treatment with Dietitians from Missouri and Illinois

Get the framework and support for your child to heal at home with family. Help your child overcome anorexia and/or bulimia nervosa. Feel empowered to help your child recover. Learn to implement FBT guidance. 

What is Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Eating Disorders?

FBT is a highly effective evidence-based treatment for adolescents with eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa. It includes the active involvement of family members in the treatment process to empower parents to help their child recover from the eating disorder and promote weight restoration and recovery.

What are the three phases of FBT?

Phase 1Full parental control. During this phase, caregivers and parents will take control of the child/adolescent's meals. In this phase, the goal is to reestablish regular eating patterns, interrupt disordered eating behaviors (bingeing, purging, excessive exercise, misuse of laxatives and other medications), achieve weight restoration, and actively participate in the process of their child healing their relationship with food and body. 

 

Phase 2Once weight has been restored and disordered eating behaviors are more under control, parents and caregivers can gradually transfer control to their child. This is when more flexible eating is incorporated into the outpatient treatment plan. Children and adolescents might start having meals with others, eating in different settings, and incorporating 'fear foods' into their diets. 

 

Phase 3This phase is one in which the child or adolescent establishes autonomy (age-appropriate), and sustainable recovery begins, developing a balanced life.
 

As dietitian nutritionists and specialists in eating disorder recovery, we understand the stress this puts on a family. We are here to support the whole family, providing caregivers with the tools and resources they need to help their children overcome anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.

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What is the success rate of family-based therapy?

Research states that about 40-50% of adolescents with anorexia nervosa who receive FBT achieve full remission from their eating disorder. The success is dependent upon the severity of the eating disorder, the level of family involvement, commitment to treatment, and the presence of co-occurring mental health conditions. Overall, it’s considered one of the most effective treatments for adolescents with anorexia.

Vegetarian Food

What are disadvantages of family therapy?

Some of the disadvantages include:

  1. Significant family involvement, although we like to remind our clients, that this too, is not forever. This treatment plan takes time. Healing takes time, consistency, love, and patience.

  2. Not suitable for all cases.

  3. Emotional burden on parents  - we recommend the parents take turns, enlist the help of trusted family and friends, see therapists, and implement strategies to work together.

  4. Limited focus on individual therapy.

  5. Relapse risk.

  6. Access and availability of resources.

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Is FBT with a dietitian nutritionist a good idea?

A dietitian provides medical nutrition therapy and is incredibly valuable to the treatment team. We truly believe it’s a collaboration of care with a therapist, doctor, and dietitian to ensure sustainable recovery. A dietitian can help guide parents. We will provide ideas for individualized meal plans, provide nutritional expertise by challenging food rules and beliefs, and support overall food challenges.

What are the five core principles of FBT

Agnostic View of the IllnessEating disorders are a sickness, and FBT does not spend time wondering 'Why?' or exploring the causes of the illness.

Focus on SymptomsTo begin healing, FBT focuses on nutrition, weight restoration, and interrupting disordered eating behaviors. It takes a practical approach to reduce symptoms. 

Parental EmpowermentCaregivers are in charge of meals, monitoring symptoms, and helping their child change their behaviors. 

 

Non-Authoritarian StanceThe RDN, therapist, and treatment team take a step back. They are not authoritarians but instead guides, giving parents the framework for feeding, calorie goals etc.

Externalization of the Illness: Understanding that the child is sick is fundamental. The illness has taken control of them. It is not a "choice". Like any other chronic illness (cancer, diabetes, etc.) the parents join the treatment team to fight it off.

FBT is a treatment that focuses on symptoms. It doesn't dig into underlying causes. That said, once your child has experienced healthy, sustainable weight restoration and recovery, you will have the space to work with other healthcare professionals to treat the underlying causes and co-occurring illnesses. 

How much does family-based treatment cost?

We accept most major insurance companies and the majority of our clients pay little to nothing outside of copays or deductibles to meet with a member of our team. We also offer military discounts as we are not in network with Tricare. We always recommend checking your insurance benefits regarding nutrition coverage as coverage depends on the patient's individual insurance plan.

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