Ann Jacob Smith, PhD, LCPC
Specializing in individual and family counseling
Ann Jacob Smith
240-392-1049
5480 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 210
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

info@annjacobsmith.com
Family-based treatment

When you have a child or adolescent who is suffering from an eating disorder, they may not come to you and ask for help.  In fact, they may attempt to convince you they do not have a problem at all, or have multiple rational explanations for their recent weight loss and obsession with food, exercise or their body/appearance.  It is important to remember that eating disorders are deadly diseases that require outside help, even if your child or loved one insists they don't need it.

If you notice your child  or adolescent has altered how they eat and are now engaging in dangerous food restricting/calorie burning activities, it is important to have them evaluated by someone who specializes in eating disorders  Often even pediatricians will overlook or dismiss their condition if they do not perceive your child as medically compromised, but who wants to wait until their child is deemed "medically unstable" before seeking expert advice?

The media has recently caught on to clinical research examining the effectiveness of family based treatment for eating disorders, or the Maudsley method of treating eating disorders.  Researchers concluded that when compared to individual therapy for eating disorders, those adolescents who were in family based treatment recovered more quickly and sustained their recovery over time.  Those who enagaged in individual treatment did not see the same success rates or continued recovery rates for those who did recover. These results were revolutionary in a field commonly associated  with chronic struggles and abysmal relapse rates!

As a therapist initially trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, I worked for years to help suffering individuals recover from their eating disorders.  I found myself perplexed as to why so few individuals were able to overcome eating disorders on their own.  After receiving training in the Maudsley method and ongoing training in family systems theory, I transitioned to a family-based approach to eating disorders and recovery rates have tripled!  This approach works and families emerge stronger and more connected as a result. 

While family-based treatment isn't for everyone, most families are capable of participating successfully in family-based treatment (FBT).  FBT is a specialized three phase treatment that focuses on restoring your child's weight to a healthy level, re-establishing new and healthier ways of eating and dealing with the underlying issues that may have made your child susceptible to an eating disorder.  FBT involves parents actively in the process of recovery and often leads to a deepening of family connections and cooperation.  I will work tirelessly with parents and their child or adolescent to restore health to your family and home.  I work closely with nutritionists, pediatricians/internists and psychiatrists to ensure seamless care. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions regarding this effective treatment.