Teenage Eating Disorders
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
In Teenage Eating Disorders, Dr. Raine Weiner demonstrates her approach to working with adolescent clients who present with eating disorders. Eating disorders, which include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, are common among teenagers, especially among girls.
In this session, Dr. Weiner works with a girl who is experiencing obsessive thoughts, recurrent anxiety, and periodic sadness regarding her weight and appearance. She uses an eclectic approach that incorporates aspects of psychodynamic and cognitive–behavioral therapies. Dr. Weiner challenges the client's view of the "perfect body" and helps her work toward a stronger self-image and an awareness of what might be causing her obsessive thoughts and painful emotions.
Adolescents with eating disorders are sending a message of distress to their families and friends. Sometimes they know what is causing this distress but are conflicted about expressing it. Others are not conscious of the reasons for their eating disorder. Psychotherapy is a process that helps clients translate the language of their symptoms and how they use their bodies to communicate emotions.
Dr. Weiner works with adolescents and their families to understand and bring out the messages behind their symptoms. This process begins with slowly building a therapeutic relationship based on trust and openness. Without the formation of this relationship, there can be no movement in therapy.
Treating teens involves more than treating behaviors. The therapist's work is to help people, not just eliminate symptoms. Each client comes with his or her own unique, multidimensional experiences. Therefore, recovery usually involves different types of treatment, including individual, family, nutritional, and group therapy.
Some adolescents may also see a psychiatrist for medication to treat common, coexisting issues such as clinical depression, severe anxiety, and obsessive–compulsive disorder. All clients see their physicians on a regular basis due to the many medical complications that can arise and because medical conditions such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and adrenal tumors can masquerade as eating disorders.
Adolescents may require hospitalization or residential treatment to stabilize their medical condition or to more intensively address the issues around their eating disorder. Following discharge from an inpatient setting, they are then able to more fully engage in outpatient psychotherapy.
Adolescents generally push their parents to give them greater independence while they are simultaneously fearful about leaving the comfort of childhood. Teens who are unable to eat in healthy ways are certainly sending out a message that they are not ready to enter adulthood. Parents, too, are often ambivalent about their readiness to let their children leave home.
Dr. Weiner helps teens and their parents struggle through this separation–individuation process and learn to communicate more openly with each other. Uncovering hidden fears, insecurities, secrets, and concerns can lead to healing.
The therapist's job is to create a safe, supportive environment in which adolescents can begin to better understand themselves and others and cope more effectively with stress, while separating themselves from their eating disorders. Once they begin to learn the strength that comes from expressing themselves verbally rather than through the language of symptoms, adolescents find that they no longer need their eating disorders.
Raine Weiner, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who graduated from the University of Michigan and received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1986. She ran a group home for emotionally disturbed adolescents in Los Angeles before moving her practice to Maryland in 1988. In 1991, she cofounded the Eating Disorders Center of Potomac Valley and Potomac Valley Psychotherapy Associates in Rockville, Maryland.
Dr. Weiner sees adolescents and adults in individual, group, family, and couples psychotherapy. While she works with clients who have a wide range of issues, she has particular interest in eating disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, parenting concerns, abuse survivors, and relationship difficulties.
Dr. Weiner is a member of the American Psychological Association, the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, the Academy of Eating Disorders, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, and the National Eating Disorders Association.
She has spoken at local and national conferences on such topics as adolescents in psychotherapy, treatment of eating disorders, and challenges in parenting. Dr. Weiner spoke at a congressional briefing at the United States Capitol in 2003 on "Eating Disorders Treatments: Rarely Covered Health Care."
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- Problems of Eating and Weight Management
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- Teenage Girls
- Weight Loss and Control
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- Beyond Appearance: A New Look at Adolescent Girls
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- Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth: Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment
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- Coping Strategies Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa
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- Eating Disorders: Innovative Directions in Research and Practice
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- Exacting Beauty: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment of Body Image Disturbance
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- Spiritual Approaches in the Treatment of Women With Eating Disorders
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