Group Therapy for Adolescents With Eating Disorders

Beth Hartman McGilley, Ph.D., FAED

Eating disorders (ED) are complex, multidetermined illnesses. The biopsychosocial model of ED stresses the confluence of genetics, temperament, biological phenomena, and sociocultural influences as etiological in their development. Successful treatment typically requires several years and may include psychiatric medication as well as individual, group, and marital or family treatment. This article addresses the role of group therapy in the treatment of adolescents with ED. Group therapy provides a fertile environment in which adolescents can address underlying issues such as self-esteem, body image, emotions, conflict avoidance, family and interpersonal relationships, and sexuality. The emergence of group themes and healing mantras are described as curative factors in the healing process.

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