Therapy is based on an understanding of a Person-Centred Approach. Each individual is treated with dignity and afforded genuine positive regard in a climate of openness and honesty. Our aim is to help each client value herself in a way that insight becomes possible. Once an individual understands the motives that underlie their illness, they can begin to take both control over, and responsibility for, their behaviour and its consequences. An emphasis is placed on allowing individuals to make choices in a way that maximises their opportunities to make good choices. We believe that genuine change can only be achieved from within the person themselves. Our aim is to help each individual grow emotionally, in order that they can let themselves grow physically. Whilst we regard wellness and nutrition as central, recovery cannot be achieved by re-feeding alone. Only when a person experiences their own potential to change will they begin to resolve their internal conflicts.
However, we also recognise the fact that more intensive support is required at times. Utilising an ‘Ethical Decision Making Model’ (based upon Motivational Enhancement theory), where physical safety is compromised we will intervene and take more control. This may mean additional support for eating, increased calorie and fluid intake, additional supervision and reduced activity. This approach is not used to reach a ‘target weight’. Ultimately this can only be sustained by the sufferer taking responsibility for eating themselves. Rather, we negotiate with the client, their family and the Placing Agency safe physical levels (and a strategy for addressing this beforehand) and implement this plan if these safe levels are threatened.
Therapy in the Living Whilst the althea park house multi-disciplinary team necessarily addresses the symptoms raised by the Eating Disorder, part of the primary focus is Psycho-Social Enhancement. ‘Therapy in the Living’ is placed firmly alongside more widely recognised interventions. We try to ensure that each individual, regardless of their difficulties, can experience a non-institutionalised environment, both in terms of a warm and comfortable home setting, and through relationships with staff. We encourage the use of local facilities within the town and its wider environs, with an emphasis on realistic peer relationships and exposure to positive, normalised experiences. In particular, regular holidays, outings, trips to the theatre etc. are incorporated into their lives. Experiencing life as enjoyable and fulfilling is a key to motivating sustainable recovery. We also give opportunities for education (see below) and work (paid and voluntary). Clients will also be encouraged to spend at least some of their day in worthwhile and self-esteem enhancing activities outside of the unit. When they return they will be given opportunity and encouragement to evaluate what they have achieved, and the anxieties and stresses associated with it, with staff.A Therapeutic Service Each client is allocated both a key worker and case manager from within the team. They co-ordinate the client’s care and ensure regular written and verbal feedback is given to the family and the placing authority. There are regular group psychotherapy sessions including drama and art therapy. Individual psychotherapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, ‘Body-Image’ therapy and schema-focused therapy are also provided. All care packages are overseen by experienced and skilled staff.
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