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PRE-CONFERENCE SESSION - Shake It Up: Skill Building for Adolescents with Eating Disorders

Wednesday, February 26, 2014: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Glades (TradeWinds )

Background: Skill building is an essential part of treatment with adolescents with eating disorders. This workshop will integrate fun, innovative and creative ways to teach skills. DBT skills and therapeutic activities will be taught in a way that have been adapted for adolescents to understand and use to improve overall functioning.


I.  Understanding individual and group dynamics in patients with eating disorders

                Understanding resistance

                Improving motivation (teach a psychodrama sculpt of stages of change - experiential activity)

                Increasing effort and Improving participation

                Increase rapport building

II.  Structuring and teaching DBT and therapeutic coping skills to Adolescents

                Setting up a curriculum based on struggles and group dynamics

                Teaching DBT and other coping skills to teens - delivery of material

                Practicing skills in real life

                Practicing  Live Action Role Play (LARPing) with teens -(experiential activity)

                Using cinematherapy / music ideas to teach skills (creative ideas, movie clips to use, music ideas)

                Assignment and handouts

III.  Activities, experientials, and hands-on games  demonstrated to teach skills

                Having fun - what works with teens and what doesn’t.  Speaking from personal experience

                Ways to monitor effectiveness of skills in treatment / recovery

                Quick note on working with parents to help and support skills with teens

In the land of technology and social media, capturing the attention of teens can be a daunting and difficult task.  This is endeavor is even more challenging with patients who are struggling with severe illnesses such as eating disorders and addictions.  This workshop will broaden and assist professionals on how to teach DBT skills and other creative coping skills to adolescent individuals and groups in a user-friendly and fun way.  The goal is that teaching coping and social skills will help improve emotional and behavior functioning, family relationships, and quality of life.    DBT skills and therapeutic activities will be taught in a way that have been adapted for adolescents to understand and use to improve overall  functioning.  Goals for this workshop are to help professionals understand individual and group dynamics such as resistance which is very common with eating disorders.  Participants will learn ways improve teens' motivation and improve participation of learning skills and practicing the skills by teaching basic psychodrama techniques,  role-playing, and hands-on activities.  Other ways to teach skills such as through music and cinematherapy will be shared and discussed.  Effective strategies will be discussed on how to engage teenagers in the midst of their eating disorder struggles.  Clinical signs and behavior indicators will be reviewed as ways to monitor the effectiveness of skills in treatment and recovery.  Some interventions will be explored on how to deal with obstacles preventing patients from using their skills.  Further, the essentials of working with parents will be emphasized as parents need to be a part of the skill building knowledge and application so that they can support their loved one.  Overall this will a fun, creative and engaging workshop.

Primary Presenter:
Dena Cabrera, PsyD, CEDS

Dr. Dena Cabrera is a Licensed Psychologist and serves as the clinical director of adolescent services at Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders. She is involved in program development, staff training, and supervision throughout the Rosewood system. Prior to joining Rosewood, she worked at Remuda Ranch and served in roles including Staff Psychologist and Director of Educational Outreach. Dr. Cabrera presents to national and international audiences. She has written numerous articles, publications and has appeared in media interviews. In May 2013, Dr. Cabrera's book she co-authored on body image and disordered eating entitled, The Mom in the Mirror, will be released.

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