Friends and Family Support Group

Support, connection, and hope is here for you. Our Family and Friends Support Group is open to anyone who has someone in their life struggling with an eating disorder.

The group is being held virtually for the time being.

Montecatini Outpatient Office
6183 Paseo Del Norte, Suite 110
Carlsbad, CA 92011

Guided by a professional therapist, you’ll find a community of support and healing. We hope to see you there! If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us!

Friends & Family Support Group

If you are a family member or friend of someone who has an eating disorder, you may struggle to know how to best support your loved one during their recovery process. Or you may find yourself trying to manage difficult emotions, such as feelings of helplessness or sadness, that stem from your concern about their well-being. If either of these scenarios resonates with you, the team at Montecatini is here to help. We acknowledge the vital role trusted friends and family members play in the healing journeys of our clients, and we want to ensure that these individuals have the resources they need to be dependable sources of support for their loved ones at every stage of treatment.

Just as our clients can benefit from peer support, so can their friends and family members. For these loved ones, finding a community of people who empathize with what they’re going through can be paramount for their emotional health. This is why we are committed to providing easily accessible resources for the loved ones of our clients. We hope that through our friends and family support groups, participants can regain a sense of control and improve their quality of life.

Our comprehensive support group services include a recurring monthly meeting for family members and friends of those who are seeking recovery from an eating disorder as well as an intensive weekend event for the loved ones of those in our care. We strive to remove barriers to participation and proudly offer friends and family weekend events and recurring monthly support group meetings virtually and at no cost to attendees. The monthly meeting is provided by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) and occurs the first Wednesday of every month from 6-7 p.m. Guided by a professional therapist, these sessions can help participants build meaningful bonds with peers to expand their network of support.

Our family and friends weekend event is offered every six weeks. Because we value family systems therapy, we are delighted to provide this virtual event for all loved ones of those in our care, including parents, spouses, partners, siblings, children, and friends. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for participants to gain the knowledge they need to play an active, supportive role in their loved one’s therapeutic process.

Our three-day course is designed to raise awareness about eating disorders and provide information about topics including:

  • Nutrition
  • Developmental, psychiatric, and medical aspects of eating disorders
  • Relapse prevention
  • Helping versus enabling

During our virtual family and friends weekend event, participants attend a combination of educational sessions and process groups. We strive to help those who are identified members of support systems learn more about eating disorder diagnoses and treatment so that they can better understand the challenges their loved ones are dealing with. Each event features an alumni speaker who is prepared to discuss the obstacles someone who struggles with an eating disorder might face and how their loved ones can help.

Friends Support Group

If you are a spouse, partner, parent, child, sibling, or close friend of someone who is battling an eating disorder, know that you are not alone. Our team is committed to helping you make connections with individuals who are in similar situations, and we’ll work diligently to help you find the additional resources you need to feel supported.

We urge anyone who is struggling with emotional distress to join our friends support group each month. This virtual meeting is a chance for participants to share what’s on their minds and gain perspective from other attendees. Meetings provide individuals with a welcoming environment where they can offer one another comfort, encouragement, and a listening ear and receive the same level of support in return.

At Montecatini, we understand that you may be hesitant to speak up about your concerns or register for a friends support group. However, we encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and attend a session because it can be a constructive way to support your loved one during their healing process. If you are in a perpetual state of worry or feel emotionally unstable, it can be difficult to help someone else who is struggling. By participating in a friends support group, you’ll be engaging in a form of self-care that can help you process intense emotions and remain healthy and encouraging.

In addition to prioritizing your own mental, physical, and emotional health, there are several other ways you can support your loved one during their healing journey, including:

  • Educating yourself on eating disorders and triggers
  • Validating your loved one’s feelings without judgment
  • Helping them find specialized care
  • Showing them empathy and compassion
  • Spending meaningful time with them
  • Acknowledging that the recovery process is not linear and continually cheering them on regardless of any setbacks that might occur

This list is a sample of the types of topics and practices that may be covered during our virtual friends and family support group sessions and weekend events. We understand that every individual has a different experience while supporting their loved one, and we aim to provide a forum in which you feel comfortable discussing your unique concerns. If you have specific topics you would like to address, we encourage you to share them with the group. Collaboration is a key component of our virtual support groups, and we believe that when attendees actively participate in discussions, meetings are more successful.

Our friends support group meetings and weekend events are just a couple of the many resources available to you. To locate additional support groups for family and friends near you, you may want to consider asking the following resources for referrals:

  • Doctors or pediatricians
  • Local hospitals or residential treatment centers
  • Therapists or other mental health professionals
  • Nonprofit organizations

Family Support Group

It is not uncommon for family members to be emotionally impacted by their loved one’s struggles with an eating disorder. Watching someone you care about suffer from the negative effects of an eating disorder can be stressful and may even lead to feelings of isolation — but it’s important to understand that you are not alone. When you join a family support group, you can access a community of compassionate people who know exactly what you’re going through, and together, you can build lifelong bonds.

While family support groups can help participants feel less judged and lonely, that is not the only benefit they offer. In addition to providing solace for those who are struggling with upsetting emotions, family support groups can help people:

  • Educate themselves on eating disorders and treatment options
  • Learn strategies for coping
  • Improve communication skills
  • Reduce depression, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Gain perspective
  • Learn practical advice
  • Discover additional community resources available to them

Our family support group meetings provide a safe space where loved ones can talk honestly and openly about their feelings. We hope that through meaningful discussions, you can develop a clearer understanding of your loved one’s struggles and regain control of your emotions.

Friends & Family Virtual Support Groups

By offering our friends and family support groups virtually, we can help more people access the services they need. Virtual support groups can be a convenient option for those who struggle with limited mobility due to illness, lack of transportation, or child care. To join our free family and friends virtual support group, you’ll simply need an internet connection and a device with a camera so that you can connect by video. You can access the platform using a desktop computer, smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

In addition to accessibility, there are many other benefits of virtual support groups. Communicating with others through a screen can provide a sense of anonymity, which might be appealing to those who have social anxiety or other fears that may prevent them from joining large group settings. The convenience of virtual therapy may also help you remain committed to attending sessions. Consistent attendance can help you connect with a greater number of people as well as give you the opportunity to regularly practice coping and communication skills.

Though our family and friends support groups are held online, they operate as an in-person meeting would. Each session is prescheduled and begins promptly. Virtual programming lasts for the full hour and follows an open group format. If you are interested in joining our monthly support group meetings for family and friends or learning more about our virtual weekend event, we invite you to reach out to a helpful member of our staff today.

The treatment I received at Montecatini was unlike that of any other treatment center I've ever been to. I'm so thankful to everyone there for helping me get my life back on track!

– Former Client
A Dynamic and Vibrant Healing Community
Located in scenic Carlsbad, California, three miles from the Pacific Coast.