Eating disorders are challenging – not only for the individual experiencing the condition but also their family members. It’s hard to watch a loved one struggle with their mental and physical health. It can be tempting to jump in and try to convince them to change their ways. At times, though, this response can be unhelpful and even harmful.
There are many options, however, for incorporating family members into eating disorder treatment in beneficial ways. At Hidden River, the family is seen as an important part of the healing process. They’re involved from the very start of treatment, right up until graduation from our program.
The family therapy program considers each family’s unique situation, including their relationship dynamics and their environmental needs, to support the recovery process.
The multidisciplinary team at Hidden River understands the importance of family involvement in every step of the treatment journey. In fact, having the family involved is included in Hidden River’s mission statement! Our clinicians know that families who express compassion, hope, and a commitment to recovery become a necessary resource within the treatment.
During orientation, families are provided with a tour of the facilities. They receive information about the safety protocols Hidden River has implemented. They will learn about the treatment approach, patient education program, and the patient phase program as well as how they can support their loved one’s success. During the first few weeks of treatment, families will have ample time to get to know Hidden River’s treatment team members and learn about the interventions being used to move their loved one towards recovery.
During the family therapy sessions, the therapy team will educate, teach, and coach families on effective relationship skills and emotion regulation techniques.
The family will learn to recognize eating disorder behavior versus healthy behavior. This education translates into what to watch for when their loved one returns home so that she doesn’t feel alone as she works towards recovery.Families have found the talk therapy and emotion regulation skills training exceptionally helpful as they learn the most effective ways to support their loved one on what can be a rather long recovery journey.
The staff at Hidden River is knowledgeable, available, responsive, caring and compassionate, to both the patients and their families. Our daughter’s therapist was exceptional, achieving a level of understanding and compassion with our daughter that no other therapist has achieved. She also took the time to teach us how to best support our daughter, and helped us understand how and why taking a less active role could be most effective. She taught us this difficult lesson with unmatched compassion and understanding of how difficult parenting can be. The nursing staff is very knowledgeable and available 24 hours per day. The nurses did an excellent job explaining things to me from both a medical and mental health perspective. They were compassionate to both my daughter and to me.
From my first phone call to Hidden River to my daughter’s last day there, it was evident that Hidden River was committed to and passionate about helping patients recover from eating disorders. We feel very blessed that Hidden River played a critical role in our daughter’s recovery.
Truly changed my life
Hidden River truly changed my life. I was seen as more than just an eating disorder. I was a person whose overall health and wellness was sincerely cared about. They saw me as someone that I couldn’t even see myself as, and they helped me gain my life back. I’m now living in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. No one wants to be in treatment, but I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I can’t say enough good things about Hidden River.
Only the best things to say
I do want you to know that I have only the best things to say about Hidden River. You are one of the only programs that I know that was stronger than my eating disorder, and I was super impressed that you never gave into my eating disorder even when I was being super bratty.
Progressive and cutting edge
The therapeutic process at Hidden River is progressive and cutting edge. It’s a family therapy model and that part is hard. You have to be willing to look at yourself, your family system and what role you’ve played in your daughter’s mental health. But, I can’t imagine true recovery without that level of digging. The primary therapists are amazing. The Registered Dieticians are so knowledgeable. We are deeply grateful to her team. They all chose a very difficult line of work. For our family, they offered a lifeline when we needed it most.