Background: Eating disorder treatment is complex and difficult. When trauma and self-harm are present, treatment often becomes engaged in working with a patient's more insidious processes such as dissociation, intense self-loathing, anger and hatred. This workshop describes an approach for working with the complex symptoms these patients present.
- Introduction and Experiential exercise
- The Darker Side
- The emotions – hatred, fear, despair, grief
- Dissociation and the darker experience
- Eating disorders – the role, function and management of the darker emotions in recovery
- Self-Regulation – the Structural Process Model
- Practice Points and Case Presentations
- Open discussion
Eating disorder treatment is complex and difficult. When trauma and self-harm are also present, treatment often needs to focus on working with a patient's more insidious processes such as dissociation, intense self-loathing, anger and hatred. Dealing with the darker nature of a client's emotional life challenges and taxes even the most experienced clinician. A treatment approach that is able to be both flexible yet structured enough to guide clinical decision making is vital, especially when addressing both the eating disorder behaviors and those darker and more challenging emotional states. This workshop describes an approach for working with the complex symptom constellations these patients present. It is designed to be used by both the clinician and the patient. It is useful for telling when treatment is going awry and for providing information for getting it back on course. Because the clinician is working with some of the most arduous emotional experiences and processes, this approach provides guidance for when and how the clinician and the client need to self-regulate as they focus on the clinical tasks at hand.
Dr. Levitt has more than 30 years working with eating disorders, trauma and complex patients. He has been an active participant in the field of treatment of eating disorders as a clinician, program developer, supervisor/trainer, and presenter. He has worked in private practice, taught widely, published and presented on the topics of eating disorders, trauma, self-injury, complex symptomalogy, assessment, and intervention. He has co-edited four books on these topics with Dr. Randy Sansone. Dr. Levitt currently maintains a private practice in the Chicago suburbs specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, trauma, individual, and couples work.