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Treating Eating Disorders: An Integrative Approach

A Presentation by Mirasol Clinicians to the University of Arizona College of Medicine Psychiatry Grand Rounds.

Maeve Shaughnessy, MS, LPC, Clinical Director

Mirasol clinicians were recently featured at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Psychiatry Grand Rounds. Speakers included Medical Director Stephen Remolina, Executive Director Diane Ryan, Clinical Director Maeve Shaughnessy, Nutrition Director Anne Ganje and Trauma Therapist Ann Twilley Garcia.

The purpose of the Psychiatry Grand Rounds series is to provide mental health professionals with updates on psychiatric topics with the goal of increasing knowledge, competence and patient care. The full presentation is available on the Univeristy of Arizona's Biomedical Communications website at

Eating disorders rarely occur in a vacuum. They are frequently accompanied by anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, so it's essential to treat the whole person — mind, body and spirit.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was developed to treat borderline personality disorder, but Mirasol has found that the DBT modules also help eating disorder clients learn to remain present in the moment, improve interpersonal relationships, and develop tolerance for stress.

psychodrama is another key component of Mirasol's integrative approach. Working with a therapist — individually or in a group — the client acts out situations or events incorporating specific memories and thereby gains valuable insights and fresh perspectives.

Eating disorders affect everyone in the family. Parents and siblings struggle with feelings of guilt. Family therapy helps client learn to establish boundaries and also be accountable for their behaviors.

Finally, adventure therapy creates unusual physically and emotionally challenging circumstances that stimulate problem-solving and coping strategies, and also foster the development social skills and self-confidence.

The synergy of all of these strategies is what supports stable and long-term recovery.

More Videos in This Series

  • Dr. Stephen Remolina The Complexity of Eating Disorders
    Stephen Remolina, MD, Medical Director
    Dr. Remolina shares some of his experiences in working with eating disorders and demonstrates how complicated they can be by presenting case histories for bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
  • Diane Ryan What's New in Eating Disorder Research?
    Diane Ryan, LPC, MA, Executive Director
    Ryan highlights some of the latest research on eating disorders, especially binge eating disorder, which is in the spotlight right now because of its recent addition to the DSM-V
  • Ann Twilley Garcia EMDR in the Treatment of Eating Disorders
    Ann Twilley Garcia, MA, LPC, Trauma Therapist
    By accessing traumatic memories in a safe environment, EMDR enables clients to develop new and more positive associations between the traumatic memory and more adaptive memories or information.
  • Anne Ganje The Registered Dietitian's Role in the Treatment of Eating Disorders
    Anne Ganje, RD, Nutrition Director
    The dietitian's role is challenging because she is in charge of the clients' food. This can be very activating and stressful for clients, but it also provides many opportunities for the client to process anger.