June 2011 | Mirasol Teen | Eating Disorders & Trauma | IAEDP-AZ

Mirasol Teen is Back!

The integrative eating disorder treatment center for teen girls reopened on June 6, 2011.

Mirasol's adolescent residential program is licensed as a Level I sub-acute mental health facility that is a preferred provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield, UHC and most other major carriers.

Like Mirasol's acclaimed adult residential treatment program, Mirasol Teen is staffed by a multidisciplinary treatment team including psychiatrists, psychotherapists, nurses, doctors and dietitians who work closely with practitioners of alternative medicine, including neurofeedback, EMDR and adventure therapy.

By identifying the root cause of their eating disorders and teaching new ways of communicating and coping, Mirasol Teen helps girls ages 12 to 17 acknowledge the past, live in the present, and achieve the rich, full lives they deserve. For more information, visit www.mirasol.net, or call 888-520-1700.


Emotional or physical abuse is a known risk factor for the development of an eating disorder, and people with PTSD are approximately three times as likely to develop bulimia nervosa. Most experts agree that at least 50% of those seeking treatment for eating disorders have experienced serious trauma.

Mirasol's adult residential eating disorder treatment programs now include EMDR-based trauma stabilization for all incoming clients. EMDR combines guided imagery with bilateral stimulation through eye movements, alternating audio tones or tapping. The EMDR therapist prompts the client to focus on all aspects of a particular memory — visual, emotional, cognitive and physical — while following rhythmic bilateral hand movements or tones. It is believed that this bilateral stimulation creates a new neural pathway that can eventually replace the pathway that caused the person to feel, think and react in a negative way.

"A fundamental goal of EMDR is to teach clients that they have the power to change their emotional states," says Mirasol therapist Twilley. These are some of the tools that Mirasol therapists will "install" during trauma stabilization:

  • A safe place that elicits comfortable feelings and a positive sense of self — that can be used as a resting place during prolonged reprocessing or as a way of reducing disturbance at the end of an incomplete session.
  • A container to prevent powerful from overflowing. Some clients visualize the container as a file folder, hard drive, cabinet, on a shelf, or some place out of the body.
  • A nurturing or protective figure who might be a beloved pet, deity, parent, shaman, teacher, friend, or anyone who can join the client in his or her safe place to offer comfort, support, counsel, and love.

Once the client is stable and can easily utilize the safe place and other EMDR resources, the client may begin processing the underlying trauma slowly, carefully, and with clinical support from her treatment team.

"Their bodies tell the story, and there's a narrative behind each symptom," says Twilley. "Our mission as eating disorder therapists is to find out what the eating disorder behaviors are trying to tell us, and to help the client find healthier and more creative ways of expressing and processing those feelings."