Family Based Treatment or
The Maudsely Approach
Dr. Boyers also offers Family Based Treatment (FBT) for adolescents struggling with anorexia nervosa. This form of treatment, which involves treating the child at home with his/her family, is found to be extremely effective in a number of recent clinical trials (references available upon request). The best way to describe this treatment is that the parents essentially create a treatment center in their home.
There are several advantages to this form of treatment. Mainly, it allows the young person to stay at home and under the supervision of his/her parents rather than to live at a residential treatment center which could be far away. Since the family is fully involved in the treatment, they have acquired the necessary skills and understanding of how the eating disorder works when they are confronted with symptoms. This helps prevent some of the regression that happens when patients return from residential settings and go back into their home environments. Another important advantage is that it is far less costly than residential treatment, which can be extremely expensive for those whose insurance does not provide residential treatment benefits.
Although extremely effective, it does require a major committment on the part of the parents who will be executing the treatment. Of course, every person and family is unique and a thorough evaluation with Dr. Boyers will help determine whether this intervention is appropriate for your adolescent and your family.
There are 3 phases to treatment:
Phase 1 focuses on helping parents take control of weight restoration processes. The family receives a high level of support and instruction on how to implement this phase of treatment. This phase is generally about 8-10 weekly sessions but can be longer.
Phase 2 focuses on helping the adolescent to eat independently. Parents slowly transfer food and weight control back to the adolescent with the guidance of Dr. Boyers. Typically, the frequency of sessions begins to decrease in this phase of treatment.
Phase 3 is fairly short and focuses on helping the adolescent fully re-engage in his/her life and address appropriate developmental tasks. In some cases, the adolescent may choose to continue their psychotherapy beyond the Phase 3 sessions in order to address issues outside the eating disorder that may still require some attention.
In order for FBT to be successful, the entire family (meaning both parents, siblings, step-parents, and in some cases, grandparents) must be involved in the treatment. This involves coming to weekly sessions and implementing the treatment plan on a daily basis at home. While parents will take on a more direct role, siblings and grandparents often play a very important supportive role in this process.