Avoidant I Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) - treatment with a cognitive-behavioural framework - 17 March 2022 at 12:30pm (AEDT)


ARFID is a feeding and eating disorder that affects children, adolescents, and adults who cannot meet their nutritional needs, typically because of sensory sensitivity, fear of aversive consequences, and/or apparent lack of interest in eating or food.
ARFID can have significant medical (e.g., weight loss, dependence on enteral feeding) and/or psychosocial (e.g., inability to eat socially) consequences. ARFID is often under-recognized and under-treated, particularly given its new addition to DSM-5 and its significant overlap with anxiety-spectrum and behavioural health presentations.

To increase clinicians’ awareness and skillset, Dr. Breithaupt will cover treatment of ARFID within a cognitive-behavioural framework. My colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital manualized cognitive-behavioural strategies for ARFID (CBT-AR; Thomas & Eddy, 2019). Dr. Breithaupt will provide a comprehensive workshop on individual and family- supported formats of our 20-30 session CBT-AR, including its four stages:

(1) psychoeducation and regular eating;

(2) re-nourishment and treatment planning;

(3) addressing maintaining mechanisms (including sensory sensitivity, fear of aversive consequences, and/or apparent lack of interest in eating or food); and

(4) relapse prevention.

Dr. Breithaupt will provide an overview of empiric support for CBT-AR, including findings from our recently completed clinical trial on CBT-AR, as well as new insights on bio-behavioural mechanisms of ARFID (from our NIH-funded longitudinal study, R01MH108595).  Combining both didactics and interactive components, we will provide case vignettes, role plays, experiential exercises, and materials (e.g., patient handouts) for clinicians to use in their practice. We will also provide ideas for adapting CBT-AR to different treatment settings (e.g., telehealth). Overall, our workshop will fulfill a critical need of clinicians who are already seeing patients with ARFID and as yet have no resources on which to base treatment plans.

This Workshop is designed to help you:

• Develop a case conceptualization of dimensional ARFID symptoms from a cognitive-behavioural framework

• Understand how to employ CBT-based techniques for ARFID treatment, using our manualized approach as a guide

• Recognize implementation approach options for different clinic settings, including virtual treatment.


Featured Speaker:

Dr. Lauren Breithaupt is a clinical psychologist and KL2 appointee at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), based at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program (EDCRP).
Her research focuses on advancing the neuroscience of eating disorders, using advanced neuroimaging tools and richly phenotype data collected over multiple time-points of the disease. The ultimate goal of this work is to rigorously apply findings from biological, neurological, and environmental risk investigations to refine and personalize detection, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders.
Dr. Breithaupt has published extensively on eating disorders and her work is funded through federal, foundational, and university-based funding.

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