The eating disorder program at Alfred Child and Youth Mental Health Service has had significant impact on the lives of young people with eating disorders over the last 6 years.
Clinical service overview
Utilising the evidence based Family Based Therapy mode of treatment for adolescents applied in a community setting, hospital admissions have been reduced and 60% of clients using the service have regained weight.
Individual family programs
Brief family intervention
There is evidence demonstrating that treatment of an eating disorder at the earliest possible opportunity improves the likelihood of a good outcome significantly. The Brief Family Intervention for emerging anorexia nervosa aims to get started as quickly as possible when a young person is showing early warning signs.
A two-hour intensive single session family consultation is held where the family is supported to understand the nature of the early changes, form a better understanding of the problem and is supported to work together to develop a plan for management aimed at getting the young person’s eating and health back on track.
A physical health check of the young person is undertaken prior to the session and information about the current physical state provided to the family.
A member of the team follows up with the family two weeks following the session to determine what kind of change has occurred, to reassess the young person’s health and decide with the family whether further intervention is required.
Clinic-based family treatment
Alfred CYMHS outpatient teams have been providing family based treatment for eating disorders for many years. This is an evidenced based outpatient treatment that aims to restore the health and weight of the young person as a priority.
By utilising and maximising the strengths and resources of the family, parents are typically empowered to fight the eating disorder for their child and assist them to get back to life and restore their wellbeing.
In this treatment approach, hospitalisation of the young person is limited to managing medical safety and instability, is short term and works towards allowing the young person to return to the care of their family.
This outpatient treatment is clinic based and whilst clinicians can provide some coaching to families in between sessions, the contact is usually weekly.
Intensified Family Based Treatment
Intensified Family Based Treatment (IFBT) is provided by an outreach team including a mental health clinician, dietitian and family peer worker and aims to support the ongoing clinic based treatment a family are undertaking.
IFBT is a “step up” intervention for families in order to avoid hospital admissions and improve treatment outcomes in the community.
IFBT allows a family to have more in-depth assistance with their current concerns and for in-situ work to be done with the family on specific goals relating to eating and managing meal times.
Typically, key 'working points' are identified as part of the IFBT team’s attendance into the family home, to assist the family and the referring clinician to achieve some further therapeutic gains and enable greater success in the clinic based treatment setting. IFBT is an outreach (in home) intervention available from Monday to Friday, that provides a time limited (2- 4 week), goal-orientated treatment package.
The ‘in home’ nature allows for ample opportunities to seek alternative ways of responding and managing the eating disorder in the ‘real world’ of family life. The IFBT aims to be flexible to best meet the needs of families, as such the intervention is tailored for each case and reviewed regularly throughout the intervention.
Group family programs
Multi-Family Therapy Group for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa
Recovery from anorexia nervosa involves restoring weight and health, getting back to normal eating and helping young people deal with ongoing fears, mood problems and body image concerns. Families are a key resource in recovery but they may feel isolated and under resourced in meeting this challenge.
Multi-Family Therapy (MFT-AN) is an intensive, 4 day group treatment which is attended by the family and the young person experiencing anorexia nervosa.
- Bringing together families with shared experiences
- Focusing on the impact the problem has had on family life
- Rediscovering family strengths and resilience to enable parents to take a central role in tackling their child’s eating problems
- Learning new skills and useful ideas to support their family member towards recovery.
- A collaborative process with health professionals and other families in the group
All family members attend the MFT group over 4 days and a pre-group information night.
The Eating Disorders Program also offers Collaborative Care Skills workshops and education sessions for families and clinicians.
Refer your patient
GP, specialist or self-referral
We accept referrals from GPs, specialists, health professionals, family, carers, case managers and patients.
- Referral phone (03) 8552 0555
- Referral fax (03) 8552 0444
Special referral instructions
Call the intake worker to discuss a potential referral prior to faxing the referral form. This is to ensure that there is not a delay in treatment if the client is not suitable for the service.
If the intake worker accepts the verbal referral, complete the CYMHS referral form and fax to the service.
|Monday||Child and Youth Mental Health Service||8.30am - 5.00pm|
|Tuesday||Child and Youth Mental Health Service||8.30am - 5.00pm|
|Wednesday||Child and Youth Mental Health Service||8.30am - 5.00pm|
|Thursday||Child and Youth Mental Health Service||8.30am - 5.00pm|
|Friday||Child and Youth Mental Health Service||8.30am - 5.00pm|
- Dr Paul Denborough: Psychiatry
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