Although clients differ and require individualized plans of care, the basics for care plans are similar among those with the same diagnosis, in this instance, a food addiction. An interviewer also knows that, although counselors have different approaches, general knowledge of different addictions will determine the course of action taken. A question like this is not an attempt to have you explain a whole care plan, but more of an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge of how to engage a client with such a sensitive diagnosis.
"Having battled with food addiction myself, I learned that one of the things that helped me the most was keeping a food diary. When I work with clients who also have issues with food addictions, I like to introduce them to the idea of a food diary. With this approach, I ask the client to have a small notebook or journal that he can keep with them at all times. I ask them to record everything that they eat and any thoughts or feelings they may be experiencing at that time. Each time the client comes in, I ask them to bring the journal with them and we discuss it. Many clients find that being able to actually look at what they are eating and reflect on what things may lead to stress eating, as evidenced in their journals, is a way to begin to identify stressors and develop healthier ways of coping."
"Clients with food addictions require a great deal of patience, just like any other client. One thing that is common among these clients is that many of them either are or have battled other addictions and then turn to food as a way of coping. They often have feelings of guilt related to their constant 'need' for food and the subsequent weight gain that goes along with it. One thing I try to instill in my clients is that it is not necessary to weigh every day or even weekly, as weight can change from day to day, and for various reasons. I like to introduce my clients to the additional assistance of a nutritionist so that they can begin to understand the importance of healthy foods and portions as we journey through the path of healing."
"As with any type of addiction, the first step is to attempt to build a solid relationship with a client and let them feel as though they are in a 'safe zone,' so to speak. The unfortunate thing about food addiction is, many people are unaware that this is even a real addiction. Because of this, unless a doctor has been following a client for other reasons, it may not be quickly diagnosed. Once the issue is identified and a client comes to me, I like to use a couple of different approaches. If a client can get to a point where they feel comfortable talking about the stressors they experience that lead up to overindulgence with food, we can create a plan for when they begin to feel the anxiety brought on by those stressful triggers. For example, instead of eating, if they can, I encourage my client to take a short walk. I also encourage my clients to keep healthy snacks such as carrot sticks or fresh fruit. As patients learn to identify their stressors and redirect their thoughts, and can identify healthier food choices, they begin to feel more control over the addiction. Of course, like any other addiction, recovery is a process and one that clients will face daily. With time, however, they can learn to make better choices and get the addiction under control."