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Why a Team Approach?

JakiBy Jaki Hitzelberger, MA, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

Surrounding yourself with a team of people who are knowledgeable, who support you, who understand and care, and who work towards helping you help yourself to a better, healthier life – that is an important part of our approach at White Picket Fence Counseling Center. 
One of the trainings on the treatment of eating disorders I recently attended featured Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, FAED, Director of the University of North Carolina Eating Disorders Program. Dr. Bulik has published over 400 scientific papers and chapters on eating disorders. Her new book is The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like with Who You Are (Walker, December 2011). She is also author of Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop (Walker). Her research includes treatment, laboratory, epidemiological, and genetic studies of eating disorders. I found the information presented to be very applicable in my work with clients.
Dr. Bulik touches on many ways to make treatment more effective, including the importance of a team approach for recovery. In addition to meeting with the individual who has eating concerns, it is necessary to include participation of the counselor, physician, psychiatrist, dietician, family and friends in the course of treatment. All members of the team must work together to support the individual through communication and understanding. I believe in Dr. Bulik’s team approach philosophy and think it is important to work closely with the client and other practitioners in the field (my colleagues).
Depending on the individual in therapy, working with the family is another important piece of our team approach atWhite Picket Fence Counseling Center. We understand that the home environment and support from family provides the individual with strength throughout treatment. We also acknowledge that the word “family” is not always meant in the traditional sense. For some, family encompasses different important people in their lives, such as friends, extended family, or mentors.
Dr. Bulik’s research shows that couples counseling is also highly effective in the treatment of individuals who have eating concerns. Part of recovery involves helping couples re-build the connection that may have been damaged due to ongoing and sometimes secretive eating disorders. The UCAN (Uniting Couples in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa) approach involves re-teaching the couple relationship skills such as sharing thoughts, expressing feelings, and problem solving. I find it helpful to add working to break through the barriers shame and guilt unduly provide.
Dr. Bulik’s research sheds light on many significant issues with eating concerns. It supports and affirms our approach at White Picket Fence Counseling Center, where our goal is to provide a holistic experience to recovery. We believe in the importance for all individuals with disordered eating patterns to receive the holistic support and treatment that will allow them recovery, both physically and emotionally, as well as socially – with fulfilling relationships.
I invite you to take advantage of our workshops and counseling services and utilize them as part of your support team through your personal journey.  We know that this is YOUR journey and we are honored to be a part of it. 
My best to you,
Jaki Hitzelberger, MA
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern