Parents’ FAQ #1
What does intensive treatment for an eating disorder involve?
There are three levels of treatment — two types of intensive treatment and an aftercare program.
Partial Hospitalization or Day Hospital (PHP): These terms are used interchangeably and refer to our most intensive level of care. In this program, participants are at the center for six to eight hours during the day from 12:30–8:15 p.m. (we offer no overnight treatment at ACE). This level of care is recommended for people whose symptoms are such that they need structure throughout the day to enable them to manage food. Most participants are only in this program for two to three weeks, after which they taper down to three to four hours a day.
Participants in the day hospital will have Relaxation Therapy, lunch with a therapist and Recovery Skills Group. This group is designed primarily to educate participants on various topics regarding their eating disorder. There is evidence from research that education about eating disorders is an important component of the treatment process. This group includes the use of live and videotaped lectures, as well as practical application activities. At 4:00 p.m., the group will join together with participants of the intensive program for evening groups.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): A participant is considered to be in the IOP program if they are in two or more groups. IOP groups are held Monday through Thursday between 4:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. There are many different groups offered, and each group meets once a week at the same time each week. Some participants may come only one day a week and others may come every day depending on the severity of symptoms, their resources, their schedule and their level of commitment.
Aftercare Program (AP): The Aftercare Program consists of one group per week with individual and/or family therapy. When a person reaches discharge criteria (healthy weight, etc.) they are no longer in need of intensive treatment. However, most people benefit from continuing in therapy to maintain their progress, reduce the likelihood of a “slip,” and to continue working on the underlying issues (e.g., perfectionism). On occasion a person will be admitted to the aftercare program right after their initial evaluation if their symptoms are very mild and/or have just begun.