DRG’s Treatment of Unhealthy Body Image, Eating Attitudes, and Behaviors

By Thalia Moshos, Psy.D.

Adolescence can be a particularly difficult time for young women in our society. In addition to the daily challenges that teens face in their social, familial, and academic lives, young women are perpetually bombarded with unattainable ‘ideals’ and unhealthy messages from our media and society.

Discovery Ranch for Girl’s Disordered Eating Program will provide your daughter with the opportunity to restore healthy eating behaviors, utilize alternative coping strategies to replace negative compensatory behaviors, challenge unhealthy preconceptions about self-worth and societal pressures, and build a stronger, healthier sense of self.

Our Approach to Disordered Eating and Compensatory Behaviors

‘Disordered Eating’ and ‘Compensatory Behaviors’refer to a variety of abnormal and unhealthy patterns of behavior that may, or may not, meet criteria for an eating disorder diagnosis.

These behaviors may include food/fluid restriction, compulsive dieting, bingeing, over-exercise, calorie-counting, abuse of laxatives/diuretics/diet pills, and purging.

Although frequency and severity of symptoms may not reach a diagnostic threshold, disordered eating and compensatory behaviors can have serious long-term implications and consequences. At Discovery Ranch for Girls, we recognize the dangers associated with disordered eating behaviors. We also acknowledge the difficulty arising from long-term identification as an ‘eating disordered’ individual. Our approach is to support your daughter in her recovery through education, empirically supported therapeutic interventions, and balanced eating and exercise. Additionally, our emphasis on building pride and mastery in various areas of life will help support your daughter’s formation of a solid, positive identity.

Benefits of Our Approach to Treatment of Disordered Eating and Compensatory Behaviors

Although Discovery Ranch for Girls is not an eating disorder specific treatment facility, many of our students come to us with eating disorder histories and/or current disordered eating behaviors. At Discovery Ranch for Girls, your daughter’s eating difficulties will be assessed by a psychologist with specialized training in eating disorder treatment, and treated according to her individual needs. Utilization of various modalities, including motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral, and acceptance-based approaches ensure our ability to meet your daughter where she is.

While we do not institute meal plans or place emphasis on calculating dietary exchanges, we do provide well-balanced meals that will increase your daughter’s comfort with food and ability to restore healthy perceptions of appropriate nutritional intake. As a residential facility, we are capable of implementing behavioral interventions and protocols to support appropriate food/fluid consumption and monitor behaviors following meals. In extreme circumstances where medical stability may be compromised, we will recommend a short-term admit to an acute care facility to guarantee physical health and safety before resuming treatment. At Discovery Ranch for Girls, we believe that balance is essential in treatment. Our emphasis on providing appropriate treatment interventions while maintaining the least restrictive experience possible allows us to treat your daughter- not just the disorder.

Discovery Ranch for Girl’s Body Image Group

The Body Image Group is designed to support recovery and restore healthy beliefs and behaviors through education, utilization of skills, and therapeutic support. This group employs Dialectical Behavioral, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy processes to provide a comprehensive and valuable experience for members at any stage of change. Members of this group will address unhealthy beliefs and behaviors in a recovery-oriented approach, give and receive support from young women with similarly shared difficulties, and challenge each other to advance in their recovery.

Benefits of Our Body Image Group

The Body Image Group provides your daughter with an opportunity to increase understanding about factors underlying body image distortions, identify her own personal triggers and experiences contributing to distress, challenge unhealthy thoughts and beliefs, and take ownership of her views about herself. Your daughter will gain insight regarding her individual and shared difficulties, while simultaneously increasing her ability to express herself in appropriate and adaptive ways. Weekly homework will be assigned to promote personal responsibility with implementing skills and increasing healthy thoughts and behaviors in daily life.

Women’s Issues through Art Group

The Women’s Issues through Art Group is a lightly structured, theoretical and process oriented group. This group is adapted from a variety of therapeutic approaches, with core components stemming from feminist psychology and social awareness. This group is designed to increase awareness of the social and gender roles impacting young women and promotes development in individual’s self-confidence, empowerment, and equality.

Benefits of Women’s Issues through Art Group

The Women’s Issues through Art Group provides your daughter with an opportunity to explore personal, cultural, and societal values in an artistic and multimodal venue. Guided by a clinical psychologist with undergraduate training in fine art, the purpose of this group is to provide a creative outlet for identifying and processing issues unique to women.

Utilizing art to support your daughter’s exploration of her own difficulties and insecurities will promote openness, increased objectivity and ability to challenge longstanding anxieties and assumptions, and practice using art as a healthy and adaptive coping strategy. Members of this group will also have opportunities to increase skill level and confidence in artistic expression.

ThaliaAbout Dr. Thalia Moshos

Thalia received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at Friends Hospital, the first private psychiatric hospital in the country.

Thalia served as the post-doctoral resident for the eating disorder inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs at the Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment in Philadelphia. Dr. Moshos’ most recent projects have focused on adapting dialectical behavioral skills to inpatient eating disorder treatment and behavioral modification settings with longer-term adolescents. She is experienced in treating trauma, eating and personality disorders, mood disorders, addiction, and emotion dysregulation disorders.