EDV SE-ED Program - Eating Disorders Victoria
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EDV SE-ED Program

Home ~ Find support ~ EDV SE-ED Program

This page explains EDV’s SE-ED program for Victorians with Severe and Enduring Eating Disorders.

What are Severe and Enduring Eating Disorders?

There is currently no standardised criteria for Severe and Enduring Eating Disorders (SE-EDs).

Whilst there is currently no set definition for severe and enduring eating disorders (SE-ED), the most common defining criteria relates to the duration of the disorder (usually 10 years+) and that attempts at treatment have thus far been unsuccessful. 

It’s important to note that, whilst the limited amount of research into SE-ED focuses on Anorexia Nervosa, a SE-ED can occur in any eating disorder diagnosis. 

Everybody’s experience of SE-ED is different, however common themes in the literature on SE-ED demonstrates:  

  • Severe loss of quality of life
  • Increased fear
  • Decreased social cognition
  • Anxiety
  • Problems with work (gaining and maintaining)
  • Difficulty with social adjustment and interactions
  • Dysfunctional emotion processing

Why has EDV created the SE-ED Program?

For too long, people with SE-EDs have felt like they don’t ‘fit’ anywhere in the health system.

At EDV, we believe that people don’t fail treatments; treatments fail people”. 

Evidence shows that, after the 10-year mark, SE-ED can become more challenging to treat, when treatment is weight and/or recovery-focused. Individuals with SE-ED can develop more rigidity in attitudes due to repeated treatment failures; stigma and labels from medical professionals that they are “treatment resistant”; or a loss of faith in the medical system. This can result in the cycle of reinforcement that I’m too sick to get better”; or “No treatment will work for me”. 

Rather than focus on weight or recovery-focused treatment, which demonstrate low engagement for those with SE-ED, EDV’s new and innovative program incorporates a more holistic approach – taking into consideration well-being, social functioning, connection and belonging, and quality of life. Literature demonstrates that with a more rounded focus on quality of life, this can have flow on effects, including reducing eating disorder and other mental health symptoms. 

The SE-ED team at EDV are made up exclusively of those who are recovered or in recovery from SE-ED.  

Program background

The SE-ED Program at EDV is a world-leading program for those with Severe and Enduring Eating Disorders, funded by the State Government, and is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

The first round of the SE-ED Program commenced in February 2022, with the second round commencing in May 2022. Round three is set to commence in September 2022. 

Following the conclusion of Round 1, participants have spoken of the benefits of having someone to talk to, feeling accepted and understood, experiencing care and companionship, and having people they could rely on and trust. 

The SE-ED Program recognises the significant impact long-term eating disorders can have on quality-of-life, including people’s ability to identify, engage, and maintain participation in meaningful activities, occupations, and life roles. 

The SE-ED Program focuses on increasing quality-of-life for participants by providing education, fostering learning and independence, increasing hope and enhancing social skills.  The program is guided by recovery principles of dignity, hope, responsibility, peer support, self-directness and empowerment. 

The program will utilise four models of practice – psychosocial and educational group work; group peer mentoring; one-on-one wellbeing check-ins and social engagement. Group Facilitators, Mentors and Wellbeing Counsellors will guide participants as they learn to re-engage in meaningful roles and activities, learn and implement new skills, and navigate community health systems. 

Lived experience is a hallmark of the program. Designed through extensive community consultation and co-design, and delivered by those with lived experience, the program will actively foster and adapt to the needs of SE-ED community.

SE-ED Program Goals

  • Improved functioning and quality of life for those with a SE-ED, their carers and significant others, through increased engagement with social and emotional connection with self and others.    
  • Improved self-care and increased hope for future prospects of recovery.    
  • Increased connection with eating disorder services.   
  • Those with SE-ED feel heard and engaged with all aspects of program design to decrease sense of alienation and helplessness.    

SE-ED Program Format

The SE-ED program is an intensive 12-week program, comprising of: 

  • a combination of one-on-one sessions and group work sessions. 
  • a fortnightly SE-ED carers and significant others group.  

This program is available to people across Victoria and is free for all participants. 

Are you interested in learning more about the program?


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