Whether you’ve just completed a round of treatment at a higher level of care or are beginning your recovery journey, CONGRATS! No matter how you have gotten here, it’s been no small feat.
Now you may find yourself wondering what does treatment for my eating disorder look like in outpatient care? Outpatient (OP) treatment for eating disorders is different than Inpatient (IP), Residential (RES), Partial Hospitalization (PHP), and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) programs.
At a higher level of care, most often your treatment consists of keeping you accountable to recovering from your eating disorder through meal support, regular medical support, peer group support, and consistent care from your dietitian, therapist, and psychiatrist. You begin to learn the in’s and out’s of your eating disorder through psychological education or psycho-ed, insight building during therapy sessions, experiential groups, exploring your triggers and more.
As you transition into outpatient care you might find the transition to feel quite different. During the transition, folks often experience loss, grief, and fear around the newness of living their life outside of treatment. For some of you, it may feel like the first time you have ever lived your life without your eating disorder being front and center.
Because of this, I want to support folks through this difficult transition and move from a mentality of surviving life into thriving in life.
So, what is thriving?
So often folks who have eating disorders can feel overwhelmed by the intense focus of their eating disorder in relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and even their care team. When the focus is solely on the eating disorder, old survival patterns become stronger. It often feels safer existing in these old patterns due to how familiar they feel rather than being vulnerable through integrating your hard work from higher levels of care into life and recovery. New life/recovery can feel scary, overwhelming, and risky so it is no wonder that you may feel a desire to return to the safety of higher level of care. I want to support you in courageously integrating the hard work you did at higher levels of care into the life you want!
What I believe to be true is that recovery is not simply interrupting behaviors, talking about the eating disorder consistently, or having your relationships focused on your eating disorder. Recovery is life.
For folks struggling with an eating disorder, the best way I can describe outpatient support is exploring and embracing the fullness of your life. Of course, there is space for you to explore and be seen in the midst of your struggle within the eating disorder. And, I am here to move with you into a life full of excitement, fear, joy, sadness, adventure, and an abundance of love. I am here to help you access the full range of emotional experiences while staying in recovery.
It can feel “safe” to only focus on your eating disorder: the thoughts in your head, the meals that you eat, the impact on your relationships. While I will be right with you during these moments, I also want to support you in expanding what feels safe. I want to support you in exploring that which brings you life, fires up your passions, creates deep and meaningful connections, and the courage you so valiantly used to get where you are today.
But what does it actually look like?
Typically when working with folks in an outpatient setting, I recommend one session per week where you and I will step into life together and explore what life has for you outside of your eating disorder. There may be times when you want to incorporate a loved one into a session, and I am open to supporting you in that way as needed.
I always recommend folks continue to work with a dietitian once per week for continued support around meal planning, accountability with nutrition, and continued education. It will also be important for your life in recovery to seek medical support as needed from your PCP, as well as a psychiatrist should you choose or need medication.
You may also find it useful to have support groups that you attend each week or once a month to continue building your recovery in a community space especially during your transition to outpatient care.
It’s time for you to be in the limelight!
It may come as a surprise that your eating disorder will not have center stage in your outpatient care. My intention with this is to give other parts of you the space to speak, to be heard, to be known, to be cared for, and to flourish. If I had to guess, then I would say your eating disorder has been center stage for long enough.
Is it risky?
Is it worth it?
My answers are yes and yes! I look forward to walking with you as you choose life over and over and over again. You have done much work, and I would love to join you in this next stage of abundant life. Contact us today for a free consult!