HBH Treatment & Therapies

Eating Disorder Treatment & Counseling in Massachusetts

Therapy for Eating Disorder Treatment in Western MA and Greater Boston Area

stepping on scale

“I don’t have an appetite, so I don’t have to eat.”

“Food doesn’t sound good to me anymore.”

“If I don’t exercise, I won’t eat.”

Are you or your loved one experiencing negative thoughts and/or behaviors associated with food? Are you struggling with anxiety or depression and using food and/or exercise as a way to cope with your emotions?

Our team of trained therapists and counselors at HBH in Massachusetts are here to help you become more aware of your eating disorder and reframe your disordered thoughts into more rational and healthy thoughts about food and your body.

Through a combination of treatment therapy that focuses on mental health recovery and physical health stability, our trained therapists in our offices around Western MA and Eastern MA will

help you through your healing journey.

“An eating disorder is about so much more than food, it’s about control, and using food as a way to cope with pain, or cope with emotional needs that aren’t being met.”

-Cary Alberini, LCSW, LADC-1 with HBH Therapy

Through a combination of treatment therapy that focuses on mental health recovery and physical health stability, our trained therapists in our offices around Western MA and Eastern MA will help you through your healing journey.

If you are seeking therapy for an eating disorder for yourself, or for your loved one, therapy and counseling is available. To learn more about eating disorders, and our treatment at HBH, please read on. We can be reached by phone at (413) 343-4357.

What is an Eating Disorder?

The National Institute of Mental Health defines an eating disorder as a, “Serious, biologically influenced medical illness marked by severe disturbances to one’s eating behaviors and associated distressing thoughts and emotions.”

As such, eating disorders affect an individual’s physical, psychological, and social functioning. In some cases, they can be life threatening.

For some people, an eating disorder might start with food restriction. Over time, the pattern of restricted eating develops into a distorted coping mechanism to deal with life struggles, despite severely damaging the physical body.

An eating disorder might “serve” an individual suffering with low-self esteem or poor self-worth, particularly if the sufferer equates a severely thin or underweight appearance with desirability.

Some eating disorders might develop during times of change, such as returning home from college in the midst of a pandemic. The individual might “use” the disordered eating pattern as a coping mechanism to deal with the transition.

In time, the individual’s disordered preoccupations with food, weight or shape, or with anxiety about eating or the consequences of eating a certain food takes over their life.

What are the Common Types of Eating Disorders?

Types of eating disorders that our counselors in Franklin and Western Massachusetts treat include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, other specified feeding and eating disorder, pica and rumination disorder.

  1. Anorexia nervosa: A condition where people avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa may weigh themselves repeatedly. Even when severely underweight, they may see themselves as overweight.
  2. Restrictive subtype: People with the restrictive subtype of anorexia nervosa severely limit the amount and type of food they consume.
  3. Binge-purge subtype: People with the binge-purge subtype of anorexia nervosa also severely limit the amount of type of food they consume. Additionally, they may have binge-eating and purge-eating episodes: eating large quantities of food in a short amount of time followed by vomiting or using laxatives or diuretics to get rid of the food they consumed.
  4. Bulimia nervosa: A condition where people have recurrent episodes of eating abnormal quantities of food and feeling a lack of control over their eating. Binge eating might be followed by behaviors to rid themselves of the food and prevent weight gain: forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors.
  5. Binge eating disorder: A condition where people lose control of their eating and repeatedly eat abnormally large quantities of food. Episodes of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting.
  6. Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): A condition where people limit the amount or type of food consumed. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with ARFID do not have a distorted body image or extreme fear of weight gain. When a child goes through ARFID they do not consume enough calories to grow and develop properly; an adult who goes through ARFID does not consume enough calories to maintain basic body function.

If you or your loved one can relate to any of the above situations, you deserve professional therapy with a trained mental health professional. The therapists at HBH in our Western MA and Eastern MA offices are here to understand your own unique experience with an eating disorder, and work to develop the best treatment plan to help you on your healing journey.

Levels of Eating Disorder Treatment:

The severity of the eating disorder and any co-occurring disorders determines the initial level of treatment the individual needs.

  • Outpatient eating disorder treatment, the least restrictive level of care, involves participation in outpatient programs with a nutritionist, therapist, and other recovery professionals typically 2-3 times per week.

Initially, the individual seeking eating disorder treatment will typically receive outpatient treatment. They will work with a therapist and other recovery professionals at one of our HBH offices.

  • Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Eating Disorder Treatment offers the participant more individualized therapy, personalized nutrition consultation, topic-focused groups, and/or family support groups 3-5 days per week.

Individuals receiving IOP treatment function adequately in their lives, but need more support and structure than what outpatient therapy provides to help them with their recovery. A therapist at one of our HBH offices will work with the individual 3-5 days per week for 3-5 hours per day, depending on the program.

  • Residential Eating Disorder Treatment involves 24-hour care at a live-in facility, with constant medical supervision, structured treatment programs, and an intentional setting focused on physical and psychological recovery. Inpatient/Hospital Treatment offers a continuum of care 24 hours a day in a hospital setting. The primary goal is medical stabilization.

While HBH does not offer Residential Eating Disorder Treatment or Inpatient/Hospital Treatment we can provide you with the information necessary to seek Residential and Inpatient Treatment.

What Types of Eating Disorder Treatment Does HBH provide?

Eating disorder treatment with your therapist at HBH involves a combination of psychological and nutritional counseling, mixed with medical and psychiatric monitoring.

Therapy type and treatment plan totally depends on the individual; the severity of their condition, their personal culture, background, and preferences; their age, etc. Your therapists at HBH will work with you to determine the best treatment modality to fit your needs.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy which focuses on negative thinking patterns and beliefs that contribute to those thought patterns. The individual receiving CBT will learn to identify problematic beliefs around their relationship with food and self as well as healthy ways to cope with their emotions.In relation to helping individuals struggling with eating disorders or mood disorders, CBT can involve educational components, development of a meal plan, and addressing familial, societal, and psychological factors.While CBT is the most common form of therapy she uses to treat eating disorders, the therapeutic method depends entirely on the individual.

“Many of my patients suffering from anorexia don’t benefit from CBT because their mind operates in a fixated way. First, I have to understand how my patient’s mind works before I can apply the right treatment.” -Caryn Alberini

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT):
    Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy which integrates cognitive and behavioral methods as a method to cope with painful emotions. This form of treatment has proven effective for individuals who react to emotional circumstances with extreme behaviors, such as substance abuse and eating disorders.In dialectical therapy, therapists and patients strive to balance change with acceptance.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):
    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is used to help individuals concentrate on ways to become more aware and acceptant of their emotions and experiences. ACT can be beneficial for eating disorder treatment as it encourages individuals to build healthier relationships with their emotions and intellect.
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI):
    Motivational Interviewing (MI), a talk form therapy that encourages clients to take control and pushes for change, can play a transformative role in overcoming eating disorders.

“I love motivational interviewing because it encourages the patient to regain control over their life. It’s most effective in substance abuse and eating disorder treatment, when the patient is a victim to something occupying their life.” -Caryn Alberini

How Can I Schedule an Appointment with a Psychotherapist?

One of the most difficult steps in your recovery journey is making the decision to seek treatment. At HBH Therapy, one of our many experienced therapists in Amherst, Wilbraham, West Springfield, Franklin, and across Massachusetts will guide you through your recovery. Seeking treatment for mental health can be daunting and filled with questions. If you’re unsure of where to start, reach out to HBH Therapy and we will help you begin the healing journey that you deserve.

During your treatment program at HBH Therapy, you will learn the deeper causes of your depression as well as healthy coping mechanisms to help you recognize your triggers and actively overcome your depression in a sustainable way. Contact us today at (413) 343-4357 or request an appointment online.

About The Author

Nettie Hoagland Headshot

Nettie Hoagland is a writer with experience in local news reporting and nonprofit communications and community development. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts from Saint Michael’s College. Nettie is a believer in the healing power of the arts to create connection and community. She is passionate about using writing and storytelling as an instrument for personal and social growth in the field of mental health. Nettie is endlessly curious about all things mental and behavioral health.

Caryn Alberini, LADC, LCSW Headshot

Caryn obtained her MSW from Boston College and has worked in mental health and substance abuse counseling for over 15 years. She provides psychoeducation for understanding and assists in developing the skills and techniques to navigate current stressors and achieve client goals.