At Chrysalis Center, we’re frequently asked about our services and how we help our clients work through their problems. While the following questions and answers aren’t one size fits all, we’ve addressed our most commonly-asked questions.
Absolutely! While we have a specialized program for eating disorder treatment, Chrysalis does not exclusively treat eating disorders. We provide counseling services for a variety of concerns, including: depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, trauma and abuse, grief and loss, substance use disorders, self-harm, and relationship, family, and marital issues.
Therapy frequency and duration varies depending on the individual. You collaborate with your therapist to determine how often you meet. Typically, clients start off seeing their therapist once a week or once every other week and adjust the frequency as progress is made or as your needs change. A person’s time in therapy is dependent on the complexity and chronicity of the issues being addressed.
Our administrative team provides exceptional customer service, including billing services. The cost of therapy is dependent upon on your method of payment and can range from $0 to $150 per service. If you have health insurance coverage, we are happy to work with your insurer to submit claims on your behalf. Prior to your first appointment, we encourage you to contact your insurer and request your benefit information for outpatient mental health services in an office setting so that you are informed of payment expectations. We will need you to bring your insurance card to your first appointment in order to determine your costs for therapy that day and for subsequent visits. If you are without insurance or prefer to self-pay, we offer a reduced rate for all of our services to help with feasibility of payment.
All of our therapists are licensed mental health professionals, not medical doctors, and can only provide counseling services. Therefore, no therapist at Chrysalis is able to prescribe medication for clients who may need it. We contract a nurse practitioner, Jenny Benton, to provide medication management services to our clients in-house. Additionally, we collaborate with members of the Wilmington medical community and have established relationships with psychiatrists whom we refer clients to when specialty care is required.
The first appointment is considered an intake and involves a lot of information gathering. You will fill out paperwork prior to seeing your therapist and they will review the contents before visiting with you. The first face-to-face interaction consists of history taking as well as learning what present day concerns bring you to counseling. You will discuss your goals for therapy and what you hope to gain from the experience.
We believe eating disordered behaviors exist on a spectrum. We use the following continuum model to explain one’s relationship with food and the body:
Conceptualizing these behaviors across a continuum allows you to see the progression of symptoms from normative eating with healthy body image to a full blown clinical eating disorder. Most American adolescents and adults report that they struggle with body image, are preoccupied with their weight, and have a history of dieting. However, when these struggles become a primary focus in one’s life and begin to interfere with functioning, it’s important to seek help.
Pressing concerns, including medical complications, arise when these behaviors progress into unhealthy means to manipulate one’s weight or body, such as excessive exercising, abusing laxatives, or self-induced vomiting. Using food to manage underlying emotional needs, whether through overeating or restricting, is also indicative of eating disordered behavior. If you think you are struggling with body image, weight (or how you feel about your weight), or your relationship with food, we strongly encourage you to seek support from a specialist to further understand your behaviors and to begin treating them.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder. In fact, approximately 10% of those with an eating disorder will die from their disease. These disorders greatly impair one’s mental, physical, and emotional functioning, hindering one’s quality of life.
There is significant hope for recovery when treatment begins. Research shows that after just a year of consistent treatment, clients report a significant remission in active eating disorder behaviors. While those with a chronic history of an eating disorder should expect a longer duration of treatment, full recovery can be achieved and sustained.
Whether you are a parent, partner, or close friend of someone with an eating disorder, we do not recommend that you forcefully confront your loved one regarding their behavior. Keep in mind that they may not realize that they have a problem, and it is not your responsibility to “fix” them or rescue them from the disease. Rather, gently express your concerns while offering suggestions for support and help. We encourage parents and partners to seek professional support through the treatment process as well, even consulting with a specialist prior to establishing care for their loved one.
A traumatic event is an experience that threatens one’s sense of safety or wellbeing. This kind of event can be emotional, mental, physical, or even spiritual in nature. Trauma can be a single, isolated event or can be complex with multiple events occurring over time. Traumatic experience is diverse and includes surviving events like childhood neglect, poverty, sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, witnessing a tragedy, unexpected loss, car accidents, natural disasters, verbal and physical abuse, sexual assault, rape, incest, and war.
Traumatic events have a direct impact on one’s physiological and emotional functioning. At the very least, trauma will heighten a person’s future experience of stress and will trigger new, intense emotions that need to be addressed. When these emotions aren’t expressed, the body is forced to store this emotional energy that can manifest in unhealthy ways (i.e. anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, etc.) Often times, survivors struggle with chronic depression, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, and a strong need for control.
Research suggests that the majority of people experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Roughly 10 to 20 percent of people develop full-blown Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in response to these traumas. Sexual trauma, in particular, affects one-third of the female adult population with the majority of rape events occurring during adolescence.
There are strong parallels between traumatic experiences and current struggles with mental health disorders. Often times, clients approach us with concerns like prolonged anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addictions, chronic pain, and relationship problems. We frequently find that their past traumas have never been explored or resolved, which plays a key role in maintaining these presenting problems. In fact, research points out that most mental health diagnoses, and some medical disorders, are often linked to childhood sexual abuse.
Eating disorders have a strong correlation with traumatic experiences. Research has found that those who report past traumatic abuse have higher rates of bulimic symptoms, particularly self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse. Additionally, higher rates of traumatic experience are associated with those who have binge eating disorder. “Food addicts” who meet the criteria for PTSD report higher frequencies of out-of-control food experiences in which they consume fast food and soda.
First and foremost, it is important to clarify that a client is not expected to initiate trauma treatment until they are ready. A client’s sense of safety in the therapy setting is paramount to the success of trauma work. Initially, treatment involves thorough assessment, which includes establishing a clear timeline of traumatic events and understanding the relationship between these events and the development of other problems or disorders. Assessment is followed by psycho-education and skills training to establish a solid foundation of safety so that a client feels prepared to engage in trauma exploration. Provided that this safety is achieved, traumatic processing will be pursued. This therapeutic experience takes time and utilizes modalities such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERPT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Interpersonal Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. Ultimately, a client will achieve trauma resolution in which these past events no longer interfere with or hinder their current quality of life.