Aftercare for Eating Disorders
Mirasol's Focused Continuing Care Program
One of the highlights of the Mirasol's eating disorder treatment program program is Focused Continuing Care. Continuing care and support is the key to long-term recovery.
Clients begin planning for life after residential treatment the moment they arrive at Mirasol. During weekly aftercare groups, they identify their personal triggers and the core needs that must be addressed as part of their recovery plans. They also practice assertiveness, setting boundaries and expressing their true feelings.
As the end of treatment approaches, the focus shifts to putting into practice the tools they have acquired at Mirasol.
"Different tools work for different women," says Mirasol Adult Aftercare Coordinator Ann Twilley. "Some clients respond well to energy psychology techniques such as tapping to reduce anxiety, while others use affirmations to address their inner critics."
Each client leaves Mirasol with a "toolbox" containing interventions and coping skills they can use to replace unhealthy coping behaviors.
Each client also goes home with a complete plan of action for continuing her recovery, including individual and group therapy. Ann recommends that Mirasol alumni initially see a primary therapist at least twice a week as well as joining a weekly process group. Twelve-step programs, which are generally free, can fill the gap for women who have dual diagnoses, limited funds or who just need additional support.
For one full year following treatmen, Mirasol's aftercare specialists remain in regular contact with their clients. Focused Continuing Care begins with weekly phone therapy sessions that gradually decrease to monthly calls. Call frequency may increase if the client is struggling. Mirasol's therapists also work as a team with the client's regular therapist to prevent relapse. Follow-up includes assessing the client regularly to find out what strategies are the most effective for them. Focused Continuing Care serves not only to track the client's progress and provide appropriate feedback and support, but also helps Mirasol refine its aftercare program and provide data for outcome studies.
"I learn so much from our clients," says Ann. "They're the ones who are out there trying to live in recovery, and sharing what has worked for them can really benefit other women who are just starting the recovery process."