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I’ve been writing treatment plans for clients at different worksites since the late 1980s, and now do them for telephone/Skype clients when I do an initial consultation. It recently dawned on me that disregulated eaters would benefit from developing their own treatment plans. It’s a pretty straightforward endeavor. Here’s how.
A treatment plan gives structure to getting from here to there. It’s a crucial tool for disregulated eaters who crave the do’s and don’ts inherent in diets (minus restriction). A treatment plan is different from devising goals because of its flexibility and internal exploration. In most clinical settings, a treatment plan review is done quarterly or even monthly. After each review, the plan is rewritten to meet current needs.
You can devise one for yourself. My treatment plans have four parts but you can create your own: Strengths, Challenges, Goals, and Avenues to Reach Goals. Strengths include abilities and competencies, such as insight, support networks, motivation, stability, personality style, internal resources, life skills, and previous therapy. Challenges state what isn’t working well or could work better and what needs to change. For example, I might say: non-hunger eating when client returns home after work, focus on weight not eating, lack of friends with whom to share feelings, history of sexual trauma leaving client fearful of romantic relationships, alcoholic parent, phobias, or difficulty experiencing distressing emotions, especially anxiety, etc.
Goals might look like this: establish appropriate ways to unwind after work, focus on eating not weight, develop formal or informal support network of intimates, become comfortable developing romantic relationships, and handle emotions effectively and appropriately. Avenues to Reach Goals contains specifics activities to reach goals and might include: create a relaxing ritual for when you return home from work and practice it every night for two weeks, choose one rule of “normal” eating and focus on it at every meal, put your scale away and do not weigh yourself, search out support groups/group therapy in your area, pick one friend to tell something s/he doesn’t know about you, be mindful of speaking of your sexual abuse in the past tense and practicing relaxation when thinking and talking about it to diffuse intense affect, use a timer and practice sitting with difficult emotions, such as anxiety, for 1-2 minutes, etc.
Follow my guidelines and create a 2012 treatment plan for yourself, read it over daily or more often if possible, and review it at the end of every week to chart.
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