Healing and recovery is different for each individual person and here at Ellern Mede we offer a range of therapeutic interventions from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Remedial Therapy (CRT), Art Therapy and Psychotherapy. Each therapeutic intervention is matched to suit the individual needs of the young person. Eating disorders are usually a multi-faceted condition, where a young person can have numerous and complex needs. At Ellern Mede, this is supported by the multi-disciplinary approach to treatment that we offer. We not only treat the eating disorder, we treat each individual as unique whilst adopting a specialised and suitable treatment plan catered to their specific needs.

A typical misconception of an eating disorder is a focus on food, when in reality it is often a deeper issue, symbolic of something else. An avoidance of feeling or a hunger for something else, for love, for understanding. Psychotherapy asks ‘What is the patient saying with their body that they cannot put into words?’ Working psychotherapeutically with individuals that have an eating disorder is with the intention of allowing them an expression of their emotions, and to develop an understanding of themselves, their motivations and to gain insight into their patterns of behaviour. This is with the aim of helping them to develop different ways of being in the world and gaining a more robust way of coping with their difficulties. An eating disorder can be an extreme coping strategy, Psychotherapy offers them something different.

The use of psychotherapy treatment in eating disorders is a personalised process where different therapeutic modalities will be integrated to address the unique nature of a young person’s difficulties. Psychotherapy is primarily a talking therapy but can encompass different techniques and methods to help a person express their emotional difficulties. My practice is an integrated approach underpinned by theories of attachment and humanistic psychology but delivered through creative techniques based on art and play. I aim to create a safe space for the patient in which we can develop a therapeutic alliance where they feel secure, heard, understood and attuned to. In the process of developing this alliance I invite the patient to tell me their life story and express their experiences, thoughts and feelings via the use of creative means as well as verbal expression and reflection.

We have a fully equipped therapy room which has a sand tray for sand tray therapy and lots of other creative and sensory materials. Creative psychotherapy allows the young person to explore not just with words, but to safely access their unconscious processes and challenge them in the here and now of the therapeutic relationship. This will help the young person make sense of their experiences and be better equipped to form healthier relationships with themselves and with others, vastly improving their quality of life.

Lesley Kollikho
Integrative Psychotherapist
Ellern Mede Services