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What Is Unified Treatment for Families?

At The Renfrew Center, it is our belief that growth fostering relationships are essential to healing and recovery from an eating disorder-this is true across the lifespan.

Far too often, family and those in a supportive role are only marginally involved, especially for adult patients.

The Renfrew Center Unified Treatment Model for Eating Disorders®

Throughout treatment, patients develop the strength and confidence to take back their lives through the development of four competencies: 

1. Understanding how our emotions impact our ability to engage in authentic, mutual relationships.

2. Learning to courageously approach rather than avoid emotional experiences, including painful and comfortable emotions.

3. Increasing emotional tolerance and psychological flexibility to decrease the need for unhelpful coping behaviors.

4. Building emotional skills like self-empathy, self-efficacy and meaningful relationships.

Recovery Is a Team Effort

We have found that those in a supportive role often want to be helpful and knowledgeable in their efforts, but do not know where to begin. Families often find themselves feeling powerless and overcome with fear, shame and confusion as their loved one embarks on recovery. At Renfrew, we help families apply skills from the Unified Treatment Model, as well as other evidence-based tools, to reduce overcautious, avoidant behaviors and increase effective communication-this approach is known as UT Family.

Families may feel lost in their loved one’s recovery and unsure of the next steps following discharge from higher levels of care. At Renfrew, we know that family involvement increases recovery success rates astronomically, no matter the age of the patient. Using evidence-based treatments alongside our foundational Unified Treatment Model, families of loved ones will have a unique, individualized opportunity to take a deep dive into learning more about themselves, building confidence, gaining clarity on eating disorders and practicing the same skills their loved one is learning in treatment.

About UT Family

UT Family is for anyone who is in a supportive role and has a loved one in treatment at The Renfrew Center. It includes, but is not limited to, parents, grandparents, friends, spouses, and partners. Skill-building, psychoeducation and opportunities for enhanced communication are considered an essential aspect of treatment. Discussing family situations through weekly individualized family sessions and multi-family groups are also a unique and integral aspect of the program.

Families Will Learn

  • How to be a recovery coach
  • What the steps of emotion coaching are
  • How to become their own emotion-expert
  • How to address their own fears and approach uncomfortable emotions

The skills families, caregivers and those in supportive roles learn will last a lifetime. Renfrew’s experienced clinicians help families and their loved ones feel confident and empowered in mastering the skills and tasks involved in supporting eating disorder recovery.

Family Involvement at Renfrew

In addition to individual weekly family sessions facilitated by an experienced and trained clinician, family involvement includes:

  • Multi-Family Groups: Our multi-family groups are attended by current and former patients, as well as their friends, partners and family members. In a group format, discussion focuses on the influence of family communication styles and roles in eating disorder treatment, as well as the application of Unified Treatment skills. This group is a supplemental way for supports to have a space to connect with others in similar positions.
  • Support Person Services: Attendees receive support from clinical staff and each other, while increasing their understanding and learning how to effectively communicate with their loved ones to help them move forward in their recovery.
  • Family Days: Family days are offered for those who have loved ones in residential treatment. Throughout this day-long program, attendees learn about their integral role in the recovery process through educational and interactive workshops led by our clinical staff. Families acquire skills from The Renfrew Center’s Unified Treatment Model for eating disorders to support their loved ones.
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