July 11, 2012 by Deanna James, LPC, CEDS in Eating Disorder Relapse, Staff SpotlightKatie Thompson is a primary therapist at Castlewood, is a licensed professional counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor. She started working at Castlewood in 2010 after several years of experience working at another residential eating disorder program. Katie began her career working with inner city foster children in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She had many clients with eating disorders or eating disordered behavior. Katie shared that “this job sparked her interest in the disorder and the underlying attachment issues and family dynamics that contribute to the development of some eating disorders.” Katie then went to work for a residential eating disorder program and completed specialized training in the treatment of Eating Disorders and Anxiety Disorders.
Katie specializes in the treatment of all types of eating disorders but has unique experience working with Binge Eating Disorder. She facilitates the Binge Eating group therapy at Castlewood. In this group she stated that she “helps clients to bring their insight from a cognitive level to an experiential level while learning emotional regulation.” Binge Eating Disorder treatment at Castlewood includes a psycho-educational piece; learning about different kinds of binging, the functions of binge eating, understanding thought processes and emotions related to binging behaviors, and identifying triggers that lead to binge eating which can be used to for relapse prevention plans. Katie shared that she “challenges the clients to take their work deeper and explore the role of family messages and dynamics, the role of trauma or neglect, and any other factors that contribute to the perpetuation of binge eating behaviors.” She also incorporates exposures and experiential exercises into her groups and individual sessions. Some of these activities include: guided imagery around binge foods, bringing actual binge foods into the group, practicing eating binge foods in a mindful way, having binge foods in their rooms for exposure while practicing relapse prevention skills, or going to a restaurant outing and ordering a typical binge food. “The goal of these experiential exercises is to teach clients mindfulness, being mindful of balance, not restricting or binging, being present in their body and going to the table in a mindful way using containment skills for emotions, " shared Katie.
Katie feels that working with clients with eating disorders is an extremely rewarding experience. She shared that “each day is different, and each client is unique. Eating Disorders have so many layers, and facets that you need to manage and explore all at once.” I like the challenge of exploring so many underlying reasons and collaborating with the client to help them understand what maintains and perpetuates the disorder,” said Katie. Executive Director Nancy Albus, LPC shared that “Katie has a compassionate approach to challenging both eating disordered behaviors and thinking. Her other specialty is working with the clients helping them address fear foods or confront binge behaviors. Her talents extend well beyond treating the eating disorder but providing a solid foundation to work through any anxiety issues that make life difficult to both live and enjoy!”
Katie’s work supports Castlewood’s philosophy of intuitive eating. “Castlewood works to help our clients redefine food and the categories they have placed on food. We work to get rid of forbidden foods and learn all things in moderation. We want our clients to learn to trust their bodies and have a balanced life style, " shared Katie. Katie shared that she enjoys working at Castlewood because of the constant supervision and collaboration with the staff, as well as the high standard for excellence that has been set. “We are expected to continue to grow as clinicians, we talk about our struggles, counter transference, and own issues. It’s amazing what I have learned in the last 2 years and have been able to apply. We meet the needs of managed care, but attempt to treat the underlying issues and teach clients to do a piece of work and then continue to work in an outpatient level of care,” said Katie.