Clinical Mentorship as a Bridge to Life in the Treatment of Eating Disorders
Moria Golan1,2, Tali Gogol-Ostrowsky1
1Shachaf-Eeting Disorders Intensive Treatment Center, Kibbutz Nasn. 2School of Nutritional Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot
The aim of this article is to describe a community-based multi-modality intensive treatment program, which demonstrates a significant reduction in symptoms of eating disorders while providing an opportunity to deal with the functional and social skills. Treatment is delivered through a multidisciplinary team. The uniqueness of the team is in the inclusion of clinical mentors. These are social workers, art therapists and graduate level psychology students who are trained to connect with clients in an informal, intensive manner (10-40 hours a week). The mentors focus on legitimizing healthy attitudes to food, eating and life, while highlighting the pain and loss associated with the disorder. The mentors serve as meal companion and calming figure, representing the healthy self-caring voice. The relationship established during the many hours spent together becomes a powerful experience, completely different from the isolation of the disorder. The treatment intervenes in most areas of life, focusing on an active search for possibilities, in contrast to the emptiness associated with the disorder.
This article presents the results and principles of a 2.5-year practice. Seventeen patients, ill for 6 years and more, completed this program more than a year ago. An assessment of their BMI and their general outcome using Eckert scales was performed. One year after completing the program, 76% of the patients were defined as recovered and 12% were almost recovered with only a few remaining symptoms. All of these patients function satisfactorily in the community, both in social and occupational aspects. Six percent were partially recovered and 6% suffered from regression during the first year of follow-up.
This treatment provides the intensity required in hospitalizations, while enabling patients to stay in the community and maintain those activities that survive the disorder. This program has proven to work well with chronic patients. Further data, not analyzed as yet, also indicates the efficacy of this treatment in acute cases.