Rapid Response: Columbus Parkâ€™s Early Change Model to Promote Lasting Eating Disorder Recovery
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / January 18, 2023 /Factors like isolation, increased anxiety, lack of access to medical services and lack of structure led to a significant surge in the number of people who reported struggling with eating disorders during and after the pandemic. Increased need for specialized care has shone a spotlight on companies like Columbus Park, a center that focuses on evidence-based eating disorder treatment designed to keep people out of costly and disruptive treatment programs and hospitals. At Columbus Park, the focus is on the use of proven psychotherapies that promote rapid response in the form of swift relief of eating disorder symptoms. According to Melissa Gerson, the Founder and Clinical Director of Columbus Park, "the most repeated finding over decades of psychotherapy research is that those patients who start showing symptom reduction or signs of improvement within the first few weeks of treatment, fare much better overall. For this reason, psychotherapy for eating disorders - and any other condition for that matter - should be wholly focused on promoting early change in treatment."
Twenty years of psychotherapy research support the assertion that there is a direct correlation between rapid response to therapy and positive treatment outcomes. With Columbus Park's Early Change Model, the expectation is that most of the change that's going to take place in a treatment happens within the first 4 to 8 weeks. According to Gerson, "The truth is that it's best to sprint at the start of treatment. Slow and steady does not mean a better outcome." In fact, the research is clear that people who experience change early on in treatment need fewer sessions overall, are twice as likely to achieve remission of symptoms and tend to maintain their improvement long term.
Credit: Columbus Park
Columbus Park is a unique model in that they are deliberate about getting patients out of treatment; even more so than getting patients into treatment. Gerson shares, "we don't want to waste precious time when people are struggling. The leading research-based treatments are change-oriented and designed to move people swiftly towards health." These specific therapies are also structured to keep patients out of costly and disruptive hospital and program settings which many people may mistakenly assume are the only course for severe eating disorders. Gerson explains that the treatments that have been most researched, tested and proven over time are all designed for delivery at home - not in hospital or program facilities.
Per Gerson, "if you or a loved one needed treatment for cancer, wouldn't you want access to the most well-studied interventions? You'd want to be sure that the treatment you were receiving had been reviewed and tested carefully before you put your life on the line. And it so happens that with eating disorders, the proven treatments are designed to be delivered at home." According to Gerson, even severe eating disorders can often be treated at home as long as there is proper medical supervision and clearance.
There has been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from eating disorders in recent years. In order to cater to the growing demand from such patients, there has been a proliferation of treatment centers popping up around the country. Most of these centers require overnight stays or full-time attendance in group therapy during the day. According to Gerson, "there is absolutely a subset of eating disorder patients who will need inpatient, residential or partial hospital treatment but the needs of the vast majority will be met in outpatient."
Gerson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who founded Columbus Park in 2008 with the goal of providing a high standard of care for eating disorders and delivering treatments grounded in science. Gerson explains that many eating disorder treatment providers offer eclectic or hybrid treatments that use techniques from the research-based protocols but invariably water them down since they are not delivered as they were designed. Still, many of these providers claim to be using "evidence-based treatments." Per Gerson, "it would be like creating your own chemotherapy cocktail because you think it works well, but the truth is that this cocktail has never been studied or shown to be effective. We don't take that chance. Instead, we deliver the treatments as designed, which is probably why our outcomes are so good."
Columbus Park provides treatment for a wide spectrum of eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia nervosa, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder ("ARFID"), binge eating disorder and also conditions that may not fit neatly into a diagnostic category. Most people with eating disorders struggle with other coexisting conditions like anxiety or depression and in order to fully recover, these conditions need to be addressed as well. After careful evaluation, patients receive treatments that are specifically tailored for their condition.
According to Gerson, the key factor that differentiates Columbus Park from similar facilities is their effectiveness in keeping people, even with severe eating disorders, out of the hospital or other residential facilities. Over the past 14 years, Columbus Park has developed a reputation for providing treatment that works and that gets people better in the least amount of time and with the fewest amount of services.
About Columbus Park
Columbus Park has been providing cutting-edge, evidence-based eating disorder treatment since 2008, guiding recovery for individuals of all ages and genders
Name: Julie Pappalardo
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