Treatment > Levels of Care • Treatment Formats • ACE in Alpharetta • ACE in Decatur • Group Descriptions • Program Schedules
In the context of this group, participants will learn to identify their body's cognitive and physical response to anxiety and recognize situations in which chronic worry interferes with daily activities. By monitoring anxious symptoms, sharing experiences with group members, and practicing new techniques outside of session, participants will develop a set of skills to manage anxiety. Through imagery and relaxation, they will increase their repertoire of ways to comfort and soothe themselves.
Art Therapy Group
Another form for identifying and expressing feelings is through art therapy. In this group, participants will utilize art to communicate more fully with themselves and other group members. They will be asked to express a theme such as comfort or anger through some form of art. Time will be saved for talking about feelings about images with others in the group.
Behavior Therapy Group
This group is a skills-oriented group focused on developing behavioral skills that are specifically useful for decreasing bingeing and purging symptoms. The group also focuses on stages of readiness to change and on developing strategies that increase your motivation and desire to change eating disordered behaviors.
Body Acceptance Group
This group employs both psychoeducational and experiential techniques to help members increase their appreciation of their physical selves, decrease obsessive concern about physical appearance, and enhance their awareness of their bodies as the instrument through which we all work, play, create and relate. Emphasis will be upon broadening self-image to include more than simply physical appearance.
Breaking Through Fear
This innovative group blends martial arts concepts with group psychotherapy. Participants will gain crucial coping tools to challenge life-limiting fears and will explore, face and learn how to overcome them. Members will learn to do basic kicks, punches,
self-defense, and to carry themselves with greater confidence and self-awareness.
The children’s group is an activity-oriented group designed for participants ages 9-12, wherein the focus of therapy is on experiential exercises to help facilitate the development of age-appropriate social and problem-solving skills. The activities encompass both individual and group work to promote healthy behavioral changes and a positive self-image. While not a part of regular weekly programming, the children’s group can be organized and incorporated into participants’ treatment schedules upon recommendation by the ACE team.
Cognitive Therapy Group
Most of us have learned ways to talk to ourselves that may inhibit our growth, healing and well-being. This group helps the participant to learn the automatic nature of his/her thoughts and ways they may be incorrect or based on past experiences which are no longer current. The patient will learn to monitor and control his/her mood by learning to modify self-statements about food, self, and others.
This group is separated into an introductory, skills-based group and a longer-term, process group to help apply skills to daily living. The groups are designed to help individuals who are ready to eliminate the symptoms of binge eating or compulsive overeating by exploring the relationship between feelings and food. Participants gain awareness of ways food is used to meet needs and identify ways to break the cycle of symptoms.
Emotions Management Group
Many individuals with eating problems have lost the ability to identify and express feelings. In this group, skills are taught for healthy emotion management (anger, grief, anxiety) and the opportunity is given to practice this expression within the safety of the group. Participants in this group often share intense feelings and help others develop plans for expressing feelings outside the program.
This group involves exercises called "initiatives," which involve group problem-solving and cooperation. These initiatives are designed to address individual and group issues, achieve personal growth/awareness, and promote behavioral changes. During participation, issues and roles may emerge which are explored in group discussions. The primary responsibility of the group is to establish and maintain physical and emotional safety in which personal risk-taking is appropriate. As the group increases its ownership and responsibility for building group safety, greater physical and emotional challenges can be attempted.
Experiential Yoga Group
This group uses gentle Hatha yoga and Yoga Nidra (meditation/relaxation) to integrate themes of recovery into a yoga practice focusing on breath work, postures and body awareness. Participants identify intentions for each group such as balance, flexibility, acceptance or being gentle with yourself. Often what shows up in this practice (our reactive patterns and judgments) has implications for the overall recovery process. Gaining insight and awareness into our self defeating patterns will help us transcend our misperceptions and achieve greater self acceptance.
Faith in Recovery Group
This group is for people who are invested in exploring how their personal faith can be a strength in the recovery process. The group will strive to create an environment of mutual respect and hope. Members are encouraged to share specific “steps of faith” they have taken and plan to take, ways they hope to grow in faith, and ways that their faith is providing strength to them. Group members are also encouraged to explore and be honest about struggles with regard to faith. The group focuses on a different topic each week relevant to strengthening personal faith (e.g., gratitude, forgiveness, prayer/meditation, having faith in the midst of pain or adversity). Group members of all faith backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to share their personal experiences of faith.
Family Support Group
A free support group where parents, spouses and other adult family members of patients, can meet to get support and ideas for helping their loved one through recovery from other family members and staff at ACE. Family members also receive tools for taking care of themselves in order to be of the best help to their loved one. This group is free to families and loved ones of current ACE patients.
Intuitive Eating Group
As an eating disorder begins, food moves beyond the role of nourishment for the body and becomes the object of rules, regulations and judgments that dominate your life. This group teaches participants to make peace with food by relearning to trust the body and its signals. Through ten simple -- but not always easy -- principles, this group teaches how to break the cycle of restricting and bingeing. In addition to using handouts, the group teaches specific skills and allows for discussing personal application. Each group member is also encouraged to have his or her own copy of the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
Meal Process Group
During the evening, participants of ACE will have a meal together. They will be asked to bring a meal with them which may be heated in the microwave. They will eat their meal with a therapist and other ACE participants, after which members will talk about their feelings regarding the meal. Participants are encouraged to speak openly about any feelings so that they will not carry them home with them that evening. The goal is for a relaxed, healthy eating experience.
Mindful Eating Meal Process Group
This meal group is partnered with the Connections Group. You will practice mindful eating in a supportive setting and reconnect with your body’s cues for hunger, fullness and satiety.
Mindfulness Skills Group
This skills-based group is designed to help participants learn and practice mindfulness skills in two primary domains. Interpersonal Skills focus on increasing awareness of interpersonal style, examining currently held myths about relationships, and learning the most effective ways of relating interpersonally. Emotion Regulation Skills focus on developing effectiveness in identifying, coping with and expressing emotion, and learning skills related to tolerating distress. Additionally, participants learn specific strategies to build and experience positive emotions. Participants are educated on the physiology of emotions and how to increase control within the emotional realm.
Motivation to Change Group
This group focuses on helping patients identify, examine and resolve ambivalence to change. Members are taught how to develop or enhance coping skills to increase or maintain motivation levels. A variety of motivational activities, videos and speakers will be presented. Members and facilitators work collaboratively to strengthen each participant’s own motivation and possibility for positive change.
Multi-Family Meal Group
Based in the Maudsley Method of family-based treatment, families attend this group together in an effort to “bring to life” in treatment the issues they discuss in other places. Facilitators join the families in a meal, providing direct feedback and solutions for making the refeeding process more successful.
Multi-Family Process/Experiential Group
Following the meal, families get the opportunity to participate in learning, process and experiential activities specifically designed to identify challenges in the family dynamic and to strengthen them. Activities are designed to help teach communication skills, develop healthy boundaries, and facilitate healthy growth and development.
New Patient Orientation
New patients coming to treatment often need help from family or loved ones, and the Saturday orientation allows your support system to become informed and acclimated to their role in your treatment. The structure of this time is both educational and interactive. Questions are welcomed so families can voice their need for direction in the process of supporting you in a journey of recovery.
The nutritionist leads this group to both educate about physiological aspects of eating and dieting and to help in personal meal planning. The patient may be asked to bring a proposed meal plan to be discussed in order to help determine what meals to bring to ACE for the Meal Process Group.
Positive Focus Group
In this group, participants will work on identifying and building unique strengths. It is based on the belief that there is a "wonderful you" inside of everyone that needs to be developed. Participants struggling with an eating disorder may not be focusing enough on their unique strengths and talents. They will be encouraged to talk about their positive characteristics and to focus on doing things that bring a sense of pleasure, creativity, or self-esteem.
Recovery Skills Group
This group is designed primarily for people in the Day Program to educate them on various topics regarding one's eating disorder. There is evidence from research that education about eating disorders is an important component of the treatment process. This group will include the use of live, videotaped lectures, and practical application activities.
Many people with eating problems find it difficult to relax. This group gives the participants the opportunity to relax several times a week during the program as well as teach them how to utilize these skills during the stressful times of everyday life. Oftentimes, individuals with eating disorders use food, or the abstinence from food, as a way of calming themselves. They will be taught such healthy ways to relax as breathing exercises, muscle relaxation and the use of imagery for relaxing.
This group places emphasis on taking time in one’s life to focus on healthy strategies to make life enjoyable. Examples of topics discussed are: time management, healthy relationships and how to deal with difficult emotions like anger more effectively.
This group is a dynamic group, which utilizes various creative media to explore issues related to eating disorders. The creative process challenges you to express yourself in new ways, often making difficult topics easier to discuss. You will develop a vocabulary of symbolic images that allow deeper processing. In each group session, individuality is considered in determining the various topics, from which you may choose. Through artistic media and writing exercises, you will gain confidence in self-expression and self-knowledge.
This group is designed for ACE participants ages 12 to 20. The Adolescent Group encompasses aspects of all the groups at ACE with a focus on how particular issues specifically apply to individuals in this age range. In addition to providing a safe, therapeutic atmosphere to explore individual issues and develop new skills, emphasis is placed on understanding the various functions that eating problems may serve, learning new coping mechanisms, understanding and improving family dynamics, and developing more effective ways of relating interpersonally.
Weekend Planning Group
This group focuses on coping skills and problem-solving skills as well as planning and preparation for activities outside of ACE. You will be encouraged to brainstorm healthy activities in which you can engage during the weekend and after hours, particularly self-soothing activities. Group discussion will also address barriers faced outside of treatment that impede recovery and strategies you can use to overcome these dilemmas.
In this group, participants have the opportunity to address any lingering thoughts or questions from the previous groups. The group also focuses on the skill of goal setting and follow through. The participants are guided through the goal-setting process and are able to rely on themselves and the other group members to help them remain accountable to the goals they set. This group also encourages the participants to practice being kind to themselves.