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Yellowbrick Eating Disorders Service

Jesse Viner, MD
Founder and Executive Medical Director


Stabilization of Behavioral Problems

Persistence of behaviors such as restricting nutrition, food avoidance, feeding others, bingeing, vomiting, compulsive exercise, use of laxatives, diuretics and stimulants, social isolation and deception all contribute to sustaining the eating disorder illness.  Research demonstrates continuation of these behaviors is correlated with poorer prognosis.  Behavioral analysis attempts to identify which behaviors are central to the life of the eating disorder, with the subsequent negotiation of evolving different modes of adaptation which includes modifying existing patterns as well as introducing new strategies that compensate for the functions and satisfactions lost as the eating disorder behaviors are minimized.

Psychological Treatment & Support

Eating disorders represent a maladaptive effort to cope with a troubled emotional life.  Each individual’s troubles have roots and evolve from their unique genetic, biological, familial and personal contributions.  Individual, family and group psychotherapies offer a safe, secure and affirming environment within which there is opportunity for personal reflection, exploration, struggle, and growth.  Due to the entrenched, often chronic, presentation of an eating disorder, it is frequently necessary to provide intensive psychotherapy several times a week in multiple formats.  Identification of core struggles and the assistance Yellowbrick enables patients to live through and beyond their struggles, and the deepest assurance of recovery, relapse prevention and the fulfillment of authentic personal ambitions and desires.

Family treatment is often necessary and helpful to prevent complications to the family of the eating disorder patient, support recovery and prevent relapse through addressing troubled family relationships, which interferes with facilitating emerging adult development.

Eating Disorders Group Program

Research has clearly established the powerful value of group therapy for eating disorders.  Due to anxiety, shame, the loss of perceived uniqueness and the threat of recovery, many patients struggle with the recommendation for group therapy.  Once begun, however, patients come to appreciate the unique support that only peers with similar experience can offer.  This often allows for a more honest and deep personal reflection.  Patients visualize their eating disorder in action and how it affects relationships and other commitments.  Groups offer the opportunity to witness others who have progressed in recovery, thus offering encouragement and hope.

The Eating Disorders Group Program requires a four-month commitment and insists upon absolute confidentiality.  Patients may enroll in the Eating Disorders Group Program while receiving treatment services from other professionals in the community. 

The Eating Disorders Group Program meets Thursdays in the late afternoon from 3:00-6:00 pm with the following format:

  1. Experiential Therapy
    Art Therapy and Mind-Body Integration Exercise alternate in sequence every two weeks.  These therapies emphasize the importance of accessing emotions through non-verbal experiences and emotionally arousing techniques which focus on the relationship of the body, self and the eating disorder.

  2. Peer-Supported Meal
    The group eats together with the Registered Dietician.  The goal is to have an enjoyable and successful meal experience; socializing, receiving/offering support as indicated and attempting to enact one’s individual food plan goals. Goals from the previous week and the experience of efforts to achieve them are discussed and strategies reviewed.

  3. Group Walk / Staff Rounds

  4. Interpersonal Group Therapy
    This group explores the experiences within oneself and those relationships that contribute to the origin and sustenance of the eating disorder.  Patients discuss their relationships both within and outside the group and their feelings about their struggles in treatment.

Parents as Partners Weekend (once per month)

  1. Family University
    This consists of a presentation and an experiential session with families designed to increase understanding of clinical and developmental issues, roles and relationships, and how to build basic skills of emotional recognition, regulation and expression through enhanced self-awareness and communication skills.

  2. Lunch
    Socialization and Q & A with Yellowbrick Professional Staff

  3. Multiple Parent Group Discussion
    This group attempts to utilize the skills focused upon in the earlier Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) section to discuss family experiences related to the eating disorder within family life.

  4. Individual Parent Couple or Family Consultation

  5. Snacks with Q & A

  6. Sunday Brunch Hosted by Yellowbrick Residents