Group Therapy in Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that encompass a variety of problematic behaviors in relation to eating and body image. Individuals who suffer from these disorders experience a range of physical and psychological symptoms that can have detrimental effects on their overall health and well-being. Moreover, eating disorders are often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation, which can make it challenging for individuals to seek help and support.

To address these challenges, group therapy has emerged as a crucial component of eating disorder recovery. Group therapy provides a supportive and non-judgmental environment where individuals can share their experiences, engage in meaningful discussions, and learn from one another.

What is group therapy?

Group therapy, a type of psychotherapy, involving therapists working with a small group of participants.  The focus of these sessions range from open, unstructured “process” groups where the discussion is shaped by the most immediate needs and interests of the group to highly structured, specific groups that are didactic (like a class) and focused on learning specific skills and strategies.  Group therapy is well-accepted as a highly effective treatment option for various mental health conditions, including eating disorders. 

At every stage of treatment, from Residential Programs to Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), eating disorder treatment programs typically provide group therapy. Group therapy can also be a powerful addition to outpatient individual therapy to provide extra support. 

Why is group therapy important in eating disorder recovery? 

Participating in group therapy for eating disorders can offer several benefits. Within a supportive and empathetic environment, individuals can share their experiences with others who understand their struggle and can provide advice or feedback in a way that strengthens recovery. There are also opportunities in group to learn and practice healthy coping mechanisms, share recovery wins and hardships or discuss the process of changing the way those in recovery view their body, themselves and food. 

Groups at Columbus Park

Columbus Park provides a range of therapeutic virtual groups that cater to individuals with busy schedules such as students and working professionals. These groups are flexible and available during both day and evening hours, ensuring that clients can easily participate at their convenience. 

Our groups are small, typically consisting of 4-7 participants and led by one of our team therapists who specialize in the relevant areas. Each meeting is structured around highly specific themes such as coping skills, goal setting, body image, DBT skills, and weekend planning. Here are more details on the groups we offer:

Meal Support

Meals are offered Monday through Friday at breakfast, lunch and dinner times. Meal groups are designed to provide support in the toughest moments of the day – while eating.  In real time, participants work on increasing variety and flexibility, normalizing eating pace and building coping skills so they can eat with less distress before, during and after mealtimes.

Process Group

Clients will gain valuable insight into the function of their disorder, including symptom triggers, their feelings about recovery, and the role of self-esteem and body image in their behaviors. By examining these factors, individuals will be able to better understand their condition and gain the necessary tools to manage their symptoms effectively.

ACT Group

The main objective of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is to boost psychological flexibility, which is crucial for achieving optimal mental health and functioning. This involves conquering experiential avoidance that often leads to emotional distress.

DBT Skills

DBT therapy assists individuals in managing their emotions and behaviors by helping them to regulate and modulate their responses. The therapy focuses on identifying problematic behaviors that result in suffering and provides clients with the necessary skills to manage these issues without resorting to harmful actions.

Body Image

Enhanced CBT interventions are integrated into a group format targeting body image by modifying cognitions and belief systems. Group interventions target weight checking, body avoidance, acceptance strategies and expanding domains for self-evaluation.

Nutrition 101 Group

Individuals will develop skills related to meal planning, challenging irrational beliefs, and increasing their consistency, confidence, and self-reliance regarding eating habits.

If you or your loved one are interested in learning more about joining a therapy group at Columbus Park, please schedule a complimentary call with one of Columbus Park’s therapists via the calendar below or click here.