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Family-based treatment is an outpatient, evidence-based therapy designed to address the symptoms of anorexia nervosa in three phases. It is a family-centered approach for adolescents and young adults that allows the recovery process to be done at home with the family. FBT views families as the most important resource in the treatment of an eating disorder so the approach is centered on empowering parents and caregivers to take the lead in helping their child return to a healthy weight and normalized eating behaviors. The therapist then serves in a consultation role that guides decisions and expectations in a warm and empathic way. According to James Lock, MD, PhD, and Daniel Le Grange, PhD, in their book, Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder, research has shown that “FBT worked more quickly in promoting weight gain and decreased the need for hospitalization” compared to adolescent focused treatment and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

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Phase One: In phase one, parents and caregivers are empowered to take control of the treatment process by making weight and health promoting decisions on behalf of the patient. The entire family is invited to learn about anorexia nervosa and how to best support the patient through this difficult process. During this phase, we often say that food is the best medicine. 

Phase Two: The adolescent or young adult patient plays a larger role in phases two and three as he or she experiences increased motivation and resists eating disorder behaviors. Phase two slowly reintroduces food control back to the weight restored patient with support and supervision from parents and caregivers. During this phase, the patient might return to age-appropriate activities like playing a school sport or going to dinner with friends. 

Phase Three: The third phase centers on normal adolescent or young adult developmental issues and other therapy needs.

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•Family style therapy: once weekly sessions with the patient and at least two parents/caregivers. These sessions provide education and consultation. The therapist guides the family in problem solving and working together to achieve treatment goals

•Collaborative weighing: once weekly weighing with your FBT-AN therapist prior to starting the family therapy session. The dietitian works with the assigned FBT-AN therapist to identify age-appropriate weight expectations using pediatric growth charts

•Family meal: a one-time 90-minute therapeutic meal lead by your FBT-AN therapist

•Nutrition coaching: once weekly for at least the first 5 weeks. Sessions use a balanced nutrition philosophy. 

•Psychiatry: optional psychiatric assessment, medication evaluation, and medication management

•Medical monitoring by your external pediatrician or primary care physician. This is required in order to participate in our FBT-AN services, and follow-up appointments will be scheduled at the discretion of your provider

•Care collaboration between your providers. A multidisciplinary team is essential to eating disorder treatment. Your assigned FBT-AN therapist is the team lead and will spend time between appointments communicating with and updating your dietitian, psychiatrist, and medical provider.

We are pleased to offer FBT-AN services in person and via telehealth. 

Family Based Treatment for AN: Our Services



Caroline Hartman is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist who brings a wealth of experience to her work with children, teens, adults, and families/caregivers who have struggled with or been impacted by disordered eating, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Caroline enjoys empowering clients to find relief and freedom from symptoms and when working with families, helps to increase caregivers’ confidence to reduce unhelpful accommodations while removing the shame and blame commonly felt.



Liza Du Plessis, Psy.D., HSP, is a licensed clinical psychologist dedicated to delivering evidence-based therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, and families struggling with a wide range of emotional, behavioral, and adjustment concerns, including: trauma, disordered eating, eating disorders, parent/child relationships, and mood and anxiety disorders.



Heidi Hensley is a masters-level clinician who has been working with families and individuals from infancy to late adulthood for over ten years. She has over six years of experience treating clients with eating disorders at both the inpatient and outpatient levels, and she is trained in Family Based Therapy for Eating Disorders. Heidi utilizes many evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Response Prevention Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, depending on the needs of the client or family.



Rosie is a  master’s level clinician experienced in treating clients presenting with eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, trauma, attachment wounding, parentification, and dysfunctional parent/child relationships. Rosie draws from a variety of evidence-based models, including ACT, CBT, DBT, EMDR, and FBT, to treat adolescents, adults, and families. She is a member of the NCFWC DBT Team providing individual and group therapy for clients with chronic self-harm and suicidal thoughts.



Stephanie Pennacchia is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has a passion for specializing in eating disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression. Stephanie has worked in a variety of mental health settings such as crisis, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient therapy. Stephanie enjoys working with children, adolescents, their families, and adults overcome barriers, decrease symptom use, increase coping, and ultimately reach their therapeutic goals.

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Family Based Treatment for AN: Meet the Team




Samantha Hamby is a registered and licensed dietician/nutritionist who brings a wide array of experience as she has worked in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels of care. Samantha provides nutrition counseling to children, adolescents, adults, and their families struggling with disordered eating, eating disorders, and other co-occurring disorders. She enjoys empowering others to strengthen their relationship with their bodies while also helping to expand food variety and achieve a more balanced plate.

Family Based Treatment for AN: Meet the Team
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