Casa Serena Leading Eating Disorders Treatment Provider in Bay Area

Leading Eating Disorders Treatment Provider in Bay Area

Leading Eating Disorders Treatment Provider in Bay Area

In the crowded field of mental health providers who specialize in treating addiction and eating disorders, business longevity is rare.  Start-up facilities come and go at lightening speed, here one day and-Poof!- gone the next.  To survive and thrive in the business of treatment and recovery it takes a clearly-stated vision, an ongoing commitment to the mission statement, compliance with licensing and state regulations, solid business acumen, and, most importantly, a sincere and compassionate desire to help people regain their healthy lives.

Casa Serena, a treatment provider that specialized in eating disorders, is one such success story.   Where some treatment facilities are created and driven solely for financial gain, Casa Serena was started in order to fill a void in the care being offered in the Bay area.  Founder Jackie Holmes, M.Ed., MFT, was motivated on a personal level to start a new kind of eating disorder treatment program.  Jackie had been struggling with bulimia and binge-eating disorder herself and was frustrated by the scarcity of ED services within Contra Costa County while on her path to recovery.  To remedy this, Casa Serena was born in 2005.

Jackie’s immense professional experience, spanning over 30 years in the eating disorders field, includes 18 years as an outpatient therapist, five years as an inpatient clinical coordinator, and a teacher in the Eating Disorders Certification Programs at UC Berkeley and JFK University.  This extensive background made her uniquely qualified to put together a successful intensive outpatient program (IOP) like Casa Serena.  An IOP provides more structure and a wider range of services than a typical outpatient program, offering a middle ground between residential inpatient care and an outpatient program.  Clients benefit from the intensity of the program, but are still be able to go home each day.

Casa Serena offers specialized programs for teens and adults, each program customized to address the specific needs and differences between these age groups.  The adult program meets in the evenings to allow for clients to be able to work at a job or parent their children, where the teen program meets mid-afternoon, allowing for enough time in the evening for homework.

The components of each program are also tailored to the demographic.  The adult program includes group therapy, yoga and mindfulness group, nutrition class, supportive meal groups, body image class, living skills, and dialectic behavioral therapy skills training (DBT).  The teen program offers one-on-one counseling sessions, group therapy, community meetings, multi-family group, expressive arts, dinner-prep class, as well as the nutrition class, body image class, and living skills class.
Casa Serena has built its stellar reputation over the past eleven years by providing compassionate support and care to its many clients, and by focusing on the importance of family as an important component in the treatment and recovery of eating disorders.   The Multi-Family group allows family members and loved ones to gain a broader understanding of the multiple dynamics inherent in eating disorders, allowing for open communication between all parties.  In the Multi-Family group new skills are taught to help family members to better support their loved one in recovery, including better communication skills.

Casa Serena Can Help

Casa Serena has flourished all these years because it remains dedicated to the wellbeing and personal growth of each and every client.  The amazing staff at Casa Serena includes clinical therapists of the highest caliber, as well as professional specialists, such as dietitians and yoga practitioners, all ready to help clients discover their personal journey back to healthy eating and overall wellness.  Our experts frame every step of the recovery path in compassion and understanding, as some of them have also battled eating disorders personally.  They understand the multi-dimensional aspect of how eating disorders originate and the challenges in treating them.  Contact Casa Serena today at (925) 682-8252.

Don’t Oversimplify the Cause of Eating Disorders

Common Misunderstandings about the Cause of an Eating Disorder Dismiss Important Factors

We humans can be a simple-minded breed. In order to make sense of difficult or challenging issues in our lives we seek ways to make quick and easy assessments, avoiding the work involved in plumbing the layers of complexity to get to the real root of a problem. This tendency to find a simple explanation for a serious condition applies all too often when trying to understand eating disorders. When a loved one is in the grips of an eating disorder, there is a desire to explain it away. The usual default most people turn to is that he or she is so obsessed with emulating the svelte, toned bodies of their favorite celebrities that they are willing to starve themselves to look like them. Or, that the images they have grown up with—the Barbie dolls with the microscopic waistlines, the emaciated fashion models teetering on the brink of collapse on the catwalk, or overly airbrushed images in the print media—are what’s really to blame for the unhealthy desire to be stick thin. No one wants to face the music, to dig below the trite superficial reasons for disordered eating and expose the often-complicated psychological underpinnings to the disorder. Why is that? It’s because looking under the hood may reveal damage that is unsettling and difficult to accept—like ignoring a funny sound your car is making thinking it’s just in need of a simple tune-up, when in reality the transmission is going out. Who wants to deal with that?

The BioPsychoSocial Roots of an Eating Disorder

The harsh reality is that deep psychological disorders, personality traits, or even genetics can be the causes of a serious mental health condition manifesting itself in disordered eating habits. Addressing these uncomfortable possibilities is difficult for the parents, spouses, or friends of the person suffering from an ED. There may be feelings of guilt, shame, or confusion after uncovering the painful truths that may be at the root of their loved one’s problem; it is much easier to simply blame the media or culture for it. The different types of eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder) each have their own unique set of factors that may have contributed to the ED. For instance, someone with anorexia may be a perfectionist where someone with bulimia may have an impulsive nature. Some common underlying factors across the ED spectrum may include:

– Anxiety and/or depression
– Sensitivity to reward and punishment
– Excessive persistence (especial in anorexia nervosa)
– Perfectionism
– Sense of having no control over one’s life
– Coping skill deficits
– Trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse or the death of a loved one
– General feelings of inadequacy
– Genetic predisposition if close family members have ED
– Altered brain circuitry in anterior insula, striatal region, and anterior ventral striatal pathways
– Disruption in serotonin pathway
– Low self-esteem
– Family dysfunction or disruption such as divorce
– Impulsivity (especially in bulimia nervosa)

While it is true that an eating disorder results in the obsession with food, appearance, weight, and size, what drives the individual to become so obsessed is a complex and varied set of factors. If eating disorders were simply the result of a culture obsessed with thinness, why is it that only about 3% of the American public struggle with one? Wouldn’t the effects of the societal pressures to conform to an idealized physical size or shape affect everyone in the same way? Since this is not the case, it points to the certainty that the development of an eating disorder has its underpinnings in factors other than simply cultural influences.

Casa Serena can help

The compassionate professionals at Casa Serena are trained to identify which set of factors is contributing to an individual’s eating disorder. Understanding that the reasons are varied and unique to each individual, our program is successful because we get to the root cause of the disorder and will guide the individual to a path of recovery based on their own individualized treatment plan. At Casa Serena we place understand the importance of a support system, so family involvement is considered a key component in the individual’s long-term recovery. Call us today at (925) 682-8252

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