Making the phone call to seek services for an eating disorder takes guts. It may be the most difficult phone call a person ever makes. As if that's not enough, clients often wonder why they need so many members on their treatment team. That's a lot of appointments to attend, not to mention the cost of seeing all of these providers when insurance is so reluctant to support outpatient services.
Yet, as professionals, we still recommend the multidisciplinary team based approach because we know via research that it provides the best outcomes. Each team member provides a different service from a unique perspective, and they all fit together with synergy. Trust me, it's worth it to have a strong team. It can make all the difference in a person's recovery.
Core members of the team:
- Client: The most important member. The client is the ultimate decision maker in their own recovery.
- Therapist: Provides psychotherapy to address the underlying emotional issues. Has the most intimate relationship with the client and often guides the rest of the treatment team in regards to what will be the most therapeutic interventions for the client.
- Dietitian: Provides nutrition therapy to help the client heal their relationship with food and their body. Helps the client learn how to fuel their body.
- Medical doctor: Monitors physical symptoms and medical stability. Sometimes prescribes basic psychotropic medications for mood management (more complicated issues require psychiatrist).
Other potential members:
- Psychiatrist: Monitors mood and prescribes psychotropic medications as needed.
- Group therapist, family therapist: Additional group-based services that may be useful to the client based on their individual needs.
- Family/friends: A person's support outside of their appointments. Not to be underestimated.