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Family Based Treatment -FBT

FBT, also known as The Maudsley Method, is a highly practical, solution-focused, evidence-based treatment for eating disorders that empowers the patient’s family to become the most essential resource in supporting recovery at home. Clinical trials have demonstrated that FBT is more effective than individual therapy in helping patients achieve and sustain remission from eating disorders. As a special note, FBT was initially developed to treat adolescent anorexia nervosa, and has been adapted to treat Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

A full course of FBT typically requires approximately 10 – 25 sessions over the course of 12 months. However, the length of treatment and time to recovery varies considerably based on the type of eating disorder diagnosis, the severity of the eating disorder, and the presence of comorbid conditions.

FBT does not place blame on the parents or the adolescent for the eating disorder, but externalizes (separates the illness from the patient) the illness in order to empower the family to combat this life-threatening disease.

FBT involves three distinct phases:

Phase I (Anorexia Nervosa)

Weight Restoration and Behavior Modification. Parents are empowered to take charge of their child’s eating behaviors and interrupt eating disorder symptoms. It is understood that the eating disordered patient is suffering from a mental disorder which is largely beyond his or her control, and will need significant parental support to overcome his or her symptoms and restore health. Parents will choose, prepare, and supervise the child’s meals and snacks. When addressing anorexia nervosa and/or other restrictive eating disorders, the most important goal of Phase I is to re-nourish the patient, helping him/her to restore weight steadily until he/she reaches the ideal body weight range.

For Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder, Phase I involves eliminating dieting and re-establishing a pattern of structured, normalized meals and snacks at regular intervals to interrupt binge eating behaviors. When patients have purging symptoms, parents will be asked to supervise and support their child after meals.

Phase 2

Re-establish normal eating patterns and return control of eating back to the adolescent at an age-appropriate level of independence. Parental supervision and support are gradually decreased as the patient demonstrates an increased ability to make healthy eating choices without using eating disorder behaviors.

Phase 3

Adolescent developmental issues and concerns are addressed as well as family issues that may have been put aside while dealing with the eating disorder.

Finally, FBT requires a team: You, your therapist and your medical providers all work together to provide a network of support for your child.  Communication between team members is vital and helps keep the focus on making sure you and your child are informed and you are empowered to help your child back to wellness.

Again, Family Based Treatment (FBT) understands that families are not to blame for an eating disorder. You are an invaluable and vital resource in eating disorder treatment and recovery for your adolescent because of your role in the family to provide empathetic support and supervision. You, the parents can take the power away from this life-threatening disease.

I am specially trained in FBT and I understand the stress that an eating disorder can place on the entire family. Allow me to gently guide your family through this difficult time. Give my office a call today to schedule your Family Based Treatment.

Adolescent ED Resources