Revolutionizing Treatment and Recovery
Abigail O’Laughlin was sitting in the parking lot of a Chick-fil-A in Destin, Florida, three years ago, her pulse pounding. She was meeting with her eating disorder treatment coach, and the two of them were about to eat one of her most dreaded foods.
To others, a chicken sandwich may not seem like a huge issue, but setting tight eating rules and limiting food categories are two of anorexia’s characteristics. O’Laughlin had enjoyed the dinner as a child, but she hadn’t allowed herself to eat it in years, since she was diagnosed with an eating disorder at the age of 14. Sarah Lee, her coach, was a pleasant, cheerful lady with a Texas accent who sympathized with her since she had recovered from bulimia more than a decade ago.
Eating disorder therapy
In the realm of eating disorder therapy, coaches like Sarah Lee are a new and rapidly expanding phenomena. The underlying psychological difficulties build over years and require time to work through, making many mental diseases notoriously difficult to heal from. Denial and concealment are frequent, and patients are unable to simply avoid meals. (Imagine an alcoholic in recovery having to drink moderately three times a day.)
These illnesses also have some of the highest death rates
According to a 2017 analysis of 27 research published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, recurrence rates can range from 9 to 52 percent, depending on how it’s characterized. These illnesses also have some of the highest death rates of any mental disease, with a rate of around 5% in persons with anorexia according to a 2011 meta-analysis of 36 research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Expensive and difficult
Ilene Fishman, a therapist and clinical adviser and board member of the National Eating Disorders Association, adds that eating disorders generally take a lot of treatment for someone to recover. It’s expensive and difficult for people to get the care they require, both in terms of quantity and quality.
It may last to a year and a half
Coaching seeks to bridge the gap between doctors, therapists, and dietitians, as well as a client’s friends and family, who may be overburdened or unsure how to help. Carolyn Costin, creator of the pioneering book 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder and founder of Monte Nido, the first residential treatment center in Malibu, California, launched a rigorous eating disorder coaching certification program in May 2017. The training prepares coaches to work with clients who have clinical eating disorders and can last up to a year and a half.
97 percent of the coaches have overcome their own eating issues
There are now 62 qualified instructors in the world, ranging from New York to Melbourne, with another 49 in the process of being certified. Approximately 97 percent of the coaches in the program have overcome their own eating issues.
Some other therapists objected when Costin, a therapist, originally started the program, fearing that coaches would intrude on their work without appropriate training or monitoring. Coaches, on the other hand, do not replace therapists; rather, they work in concert with them, focusing on creating skills for everyday living rather than examining previous difficulties, according to Costin. Coaches work with clients in the trenches.
Eating disorder coaches
These Eating disorder coaches such as sober coaches, will constantly make themselves available 24 hours, responding to messages and phone calls. Sarah Lee, O’Laughlin’s coach, assists her clients with food shopping, meal preparation, and kitchen cabinet organization, as well as accompanying them to family dinners and shopping trips. She also leads them in visualizations and has convinced some of them to remove and chop up the scales and measuring tapes they use to assess their bodies.
The effectiveness of eating disorder recovery
Although there have been no studies on the effectiveness of eating disorder recovery coaching since it is so new, research in other disciplines has discovered the advantages of peer-like mentorship. According to research, it can minimize relapse and rehospitalization in addiction recovery, as well as enhance treatment retention.