Food Trauma: What if it is about the food?

Friday, March 4, 2011: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Point Hilton at Squaw Peak
This workshop will explore the topic of food trauma. Food trauma will be both defined and explored as seen in intensive treatment settings from both psychological and nutritional backgrounds. Trauma with foods/feeding, physical traumas involving food, trauma associations with food, and food itself as trauma will all be discussed. The presentation will explore if, when, and how to re-introduce foods involved in or associated with traumatic experiences. Approaches and interventions used in a residential and partial hospitalization program will be reviewed and examples given. Attendees will also participate in an experiential activity and given practical tips for practice.
Food Trauma:  What if it is about the Food?
  1. Introduction
  2. Trauma with Food/Feeding
    1. Force Feeding
    2. Animal Cruelty/Farming
    3. Trash/Garbage
    4. Clean plate Club
    5. Food as love
    6. Not feeding as love
  3. Trauma with Food / Physical
    1. Sexual acts using food
    2. Physical acts using food
    3. Trauma associations with Food
      1. Sexual

      i. Dairy/white foods

      ii. Falic

      iii. Sensory

      1. Trash/Garbage
      2. Feces
      3. Vomit


      ii. Fear of vomiting

      1. Transition

      i. Baby utensils

      1. Food as Trauma
      2. Food = Weight Gain
      3. Food = Debting
      4. Feeding approaches in treatment history
      5. To Challenge or Not to Challenge
        1. Excluding Foods
        2. Re-Introducing Foods

        i.Assess impact on lifestyle with and without

        ii. Appropriateness for re-introduction

        iii. Mindful Eating work

        iv. Normalization

        Mindful Eating Group Activity

Frequently in eating disorder treatment the focus has been on helping the client focus less on food and more on their world beyond food. However, there are times in treatment when food is important to focus on, especially when it comes to food trauma, a concept that is often synonomous with an eating disorder.  Food can be something directly involved in trauma, or it may elicit memories of trauma and thus may be avoided. This workshop is based on the exploration not only of food as trauma, but also traumatic experiences that result in food associations and how to work with those in treatment.  There are different perspectives in the field when it comes to addressing food trauma. While some believe that traumatic foods should be excluded, others believe that re-introducing these foods is most beneficial to a patient's recovery process.  There is also the approach of pushing these foods through inclusion from the initiation of treatment forward.  While defining the best course with trauma is often led by the individual therapist, foods involved in this work are often approached differently, and sometimes even not approached at all.Therefore, this presentation will explore both the nutritional and psycholgocial perspectives that must be acknowledged when working with food trauma.

This workshop will define and explore common themes within food trauma. The presenters, a dietician and a psychologist, will share ways that a residential/partial hospitalization program has addressed food trauma effectively in treatment. Case examples and experiential exercises will be used throughout the presentation.

Primary Presenter:
Amanda C. Mellowspring, MS, RD, LD/N

Amanda Mellowspring is a Registered Dietitian and serves as the Director of Nutrition Services at the Oliver-Pyatt Centers of Miami. Amanda has worked as a leader in nutrition services in a variety of treatment settings for eating disorder recovery including residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, college health, and private practice. Amanda currently serves as Co-Chair for the Behavioral Health Nutritionists workgroup developing Standards of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance for dietitians working with the eating disorder population through the American Dietetic Association. Amanda is nationally recognized author and speaker on the topics of Orthorexia Nervosa and nutrition in the treatment of eating disorders.

Melissa A. McLain, Ph.D.

Dr. Melissa McLain is a licensed psychologist with specialty training and experience in eating disorders. She is the Clinical Director at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, an eating disorder treatment program in Miami, Florida. She completed her undergraduate schooling at Northwestern University and her graduate masters and doctoral degrees at the American Psychological Association accredited Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern California. She received specialty training in eating disorders at the University of California, Davis where she served as the Eating Disorder Program Coordinator. Dr. McLain is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Eating Disorder Association, the Academy of Eating Disorders, the American Psychological Association and the Florida Psychological Association.

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