Family-Based Treatment: A Different Approach to Eating Disorder Care

FBT, otherwise known as Family-Based Treatment, is a leading approach in the management of eating disorders, particularly among adolescents. This approach is founded on the premise that family involvement is not merely supportive, but integral to the process of recovery.

In FBT, parents are empowered to take a frontline role in their child’s treatment. They are tasked with helping their child regain lost weight and reestablish healthy eating habits. This active role is not just about nourishing the child physically, but also about rebuilding a healthy relationship with food within a safe and supportive family environment.

The treatment typically unfolds in three distinct but interrelated phases. The first phase focuses on weight restoration. Parents assume control of their child’s eating, deciding when, what, and how much their child should eat. The aim is to interrupt and reverse unhealthy eating behaviors, restoring the child’s weight to a healthy place.

The second phase of FBT gradually transitions dietary control back to the adolescent. This is done incrementally, allowing the young person to regain confidence and autonomy over their eating in a controlled and supported manner. It’s a delicate process, requiring a careful balance to ensure progress without triggering a relapse.

The third and final phase of FBT addresses the broader aspects of the adolescent’s life that may have been affected by the eating disorder, such as their social relationships, school performance, and personal development. The focus shifts towards ensuring the adolescent can maintain their recovered status while navigating the demands and challenges of everyday life.

The value and effectiveness of FBT is widely recognized. Numerous studies have demonstrated its efficacy in treating adolescent eating disorders, reporting high rates of recovery and low rates of relapse. Through this family-centric approach, FBT offers a beacon of hope to those struggling with eating disorders, illuminating a path towards recovery that is steeped in care, support, and understanding.

In today’s fast-paced world, we know that accessibility to treatment can be a challenge. Virtual treatment has emerged as an excellent solution, providing the same quality of care without the need to travel, making it a perfect fit for busy lifestyles. Columbus Park, a leading provider of eating disorder treatment, is keenly aware of this need and offers virtual FBT.

Columbus Park offers a free phone consultation with a certified Family-Based Treatment provider.  This is an opportunity for you as the caregiver[s] to gather information, ask questions and determine if FBT sounds right for your family.  For more information and guidance, you also may consider our latest digital resource, a free FBT guidebook. Gain insights into the approach, its benefits, and how it might benefit your situation and needs.