When a client approaches The Body Image Therapy Center about treatment for their eating disorder, they rarely give any thought to the level of care they need to start their recovery journey. For those who have mild to moderate experiences of an eating disorder, a Partial Hospital Program (PHP) is often suggested. This recommendation is often met with intense fear, and understandably so. Let me break down why we make this suggestion and for whom.
Let’s look at some of the criteria developed to identify those who would benefit from Partial Hospitalization – or “Day Program.” This is a generalization and not a complete picture of a true assessment.
- Mental Health
- Existence of anxiety or depression symptoms that interfere with normal daily routines of school, work, or other aspects of life
- Mild suicidal thoughts present without a plan or intent
- Fair motivation to recover
- Eating disorder behaviors
- Needs additional structure to gain weight or stabilize their weight
- Needs additional structure to meet nutritional needs
- Needs additional structure to refrain from compulsive exercise
- Binge eating and/or purging 4-7 times per week on average for the last month
- Medically stable to the extent that daily medical monitoring is not required
- Weight as a percentage of their pre-eating disorder weight is greater than 80%
The average client in PHP is suffering from anxiety and/or depression, needs help refraining from their eating disorder behaviors, and needs to be followed medically about once or twice a week. As with any treatment, the time it takes to progress from PHP to Intensive Outpatient Programming (IOP) can be anywhere from two to 12 weeks. And sometimes more.
My hope is sharing this insight to a Partial Hospital Program makes it a little less scary and intimidating. Truth is, by giving a client the structure they need during the day, they can apply the skills they learn and insight they’ve developed into their home life at night and on the weekends. That’s where so much of the recovery really happens. Ultimately, we all have to learn how to live our lives in the real world where food is abundant, body image concerns rampant, and triggers are everywhere. A good PHP helps a client learn to navigate that world with increasing competence and confidence. And yes, we have a very good PHP, if I do say so myself!
If we can be of assistance, please give us a call at 877-674-2843 x 0 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Andrew Walen, LCSW-C, LICSW, CEDS, Founder, Executive Director at The Body Image Therapy Center. For help call 877-674-2843 or email email@example.com.