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Ten Questions to Ask an Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Eating disorders are complex psychological conditions that affect close to 30 million people in the United States alone. Due to the complexity, it is important for those who have symptoms to seek the services of an eating disorder recovery center. Eating Disorder Treatment Center Options Before asking specific questions pertaining to an individual treatment center, it is important for any potential patient to understand what they should expect from an effective and high-quality binge eating disorder treatment center. A comprehensive treatment program will provide different levels of care, including residential and day treatment, in order to facilitate lasting binge eating recovery. With these two levels of care, an individual is able to step down to a lower level of care, day treatment, when they are ready to take on more responsibilities, while maintaining a level of consistent support on the path to binge eating disorder recovery. A holistic approach to eating disorder treatment has been shown to be the most successful; meaning patients should receive physical, psychological and medical treatment throughout their stay at the binge eating disorder center. Good treatment centers offer tools designed to help prevent a relapse. The main tool being the utilization of step down options that help patients transition from a more intensive level of care to more responsibility and freedom, with continued support. Finding a binge eating treatment center that is a good fit starts with asking treatment center staff the following questions:

Is residential treatment provided? What is it like?

A person with an eating disorder needs to feel safe and secure in their surroundings. This can be partially accomplished by providing a home-like environment that allows the patient feel at ease and supported throughout their stay. Monte Nido provides luxurious accommodations with gorgeous views of their thoughtfully landscaped grounds. This natural and relaxed setting encourages recovery, acceptance and healing.

What accreditations does the eating disorder treatment center hold?

A licensed and accredited eating disorder treatment center is preferable for a number of reasons. Meeting the requirements of licensure and accreditation ensures the patient has access to high-quality care. Organizations such as the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium (REDC), the Joint Commission and the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) are highly respected within the industry and hold treatment centers who have been accredited to a high standard. Monte Nido holds an accreditation with all three organizations.

What types of treatment are offered?

While residential treatment is typically recommended, it may not be the option that works best for all patients. For example, day treatment is an option offered by an eating disorder treatment center and is best suited for individuals stepping down from a residential level of care or individuals currently in outpatient therapy that need a higher level of support. At Monte Nido, individualized treatment is provided to every client. Supported living, as well as intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization options, are also available. With locations in California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon and Pennsylvania, Monte Nido is conveniently located to serve women, men and adolescents throughout the United States and abroad.

Is the eating disorder treatment program individualized?

No two patients are going to have the same experiences and challenges, even if seeking treatment for the same eating disorder. Additionally, a patient being treated for anorexia nervosa today is likely to require different goals, programming and approaches next week, next month and so on. Each patient must be met on her or his level and have his or her unique needs addressed. In order to be successful, the treatment center should regularly assess these changing needs and ensure programming is still providing the patient with the services and support to move them forward on the path to full recovery. Clients who enter Monte Nido’s programs will find the ongoing support and re-assessment of needs to be a cornerstone of the treatment center’s collaborative approach. Based on the strong belief that each person possesses a healthy self at her or his core, Monte Nido uses a unique level system to provide empowerment, support and increased autonomy that builds the foundation to true recovery.

What kind of therapeutic approach is used?

The treatment center’s therapeutic approach can provide a potential client a great deal of information about their philosophy and treatment methods. Addressing the patient’s relationship with food is vital to his or her recovery; a comprehensive treatment center will dive deep to explore and address the underlying causes of these negative thoughts and behaviors and provide alternative, positive coping tools to utilize when triggered. There are multiple areas that can be addressed while in treatment. Some components could include delving into the feelings a client has surrounding food and working toward a mindful and flexible relationship with food and movement. In this same area, learning to accept one’s natural body shape and size while working to improve her or his body image must also be addressed. Additionally, learning to express one’s feelings in a productive manner can be another important aspect of an individual’s binge eating disorder recovery. Monte Nido’s therapeutic philosophy is grounded in a holistic and supportive approach. Working with each client without judgment and supporting him or her on the path to recovery. Monte Nido’s treatment team will work diligently to challenge each client’s eating disorder thoughts and behaviors, strengthen their resolve and nurture their positive coping habits and support system.

Is the family supported as well?

No one who is seeking an answer to the question “what is the best eating disorder treatment near me?” is doing so in a vacuum. Instead, he or she most likely has loved ones there to support the individual on the journey to recovery. It is important the treatment center understands and fosters the crucial role family members play in their loved one’s recovery and provide services that support the family unit. At Monte Nido, family support takes several forms. The treatment team works closely with family members and significant others, if applicable, to help identify patterns that could negatively impact the client’s recovery. Another component of Monte Nido’s approach is therapy. Depending on the needs of each individual client, a variety of family therapy options are available, including weekly multi-family groups, monthly two-day family weekends and individual family sessions.

Is nutritional guidance provided?

No comprehensive eating disorder treatment center is complete without thoroughly addressing the nutritional component of their clients’ treatment. It is important for clients to have access to a specially educated and eating disorder trained nutritionist. Nutrition therapy should be individualized for each client. The therapist needs to address the client where he or she is in their treatment, consider individual preferences and support the individual’s healthy self, while challenging the eating disorder self. Monte Nido has an expert team of dietitians who work closely with each client every step of the way, helping clients develop a mindful and intuitive relationship with food and movement.

What types of therapies are offered?

Therapies offered by an eating disorder treatment center seek to address and explore the underlying causes of the eating disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, provides each client with a safe and supportive environment in which to address negative thought patterns. Once these patterns are identified, healthy coping skills are introduced when triggers arise. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) uses behavioral and cognitive methods to support clients as they struggle with painful situations or emotions. Clients struggling with their emotions have found DBT to be successful. Monte Nido offers a range of therapy options including CBT and DBT. In addition, they offer interpersonal and psychodynamic group therapy. Special groups address various topics including feelings and food, relapse prevention, stress, assertiveness and more.

Does the center treat co-occurring conditions?

As a matter of course, every client who enters a binge eating disorder treatment center should undergo a thorough medical and psychiatric assessment. This is the only way to accurately develop an individualized treatment plan. During this assessment, a client’s co-occurring conditions should be noted so they can be addressed during the formulation of the treatment plan. The philosophy at Monte Nido involves the thorough assessment and treatment of any co-occurring condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, depression or bipolar disorder. Monte Nido believes their clients can become fully recovered; supporting their healthy self and challenging the eating disorder self.

Are complementary therapies offered?

Additional therapeutic experiences can provide a client with awareness, relaxation and a boost in their mood and healing. Designed to complement CBT and DBT, these therapies serve as a creative outlet. While many therapeutic modalities offered at a binge eating disorder treatment center focus on the mind and emotions, a comprehensive program also acknowledges the effects mindful eating and movement has on recovery. Monte Nido provides clients access to an array of complementary therapies, including those mentioned above. These therapies may include nature walks, orthopedic services, yoga, chiropractic massage, physical therapy and more. Mindfulness and meditation are part of the recovery process at Monte Nido, including a body and soul group that is offered weekly. Enriching, relaxing and fun outings and experiences, both those that have a food component and those that do not, are also part of the treatment plan for Monte Nido clients. Pottery, jewelry making, bowling, museums, equine therapy, plays, restaurants, beach outings and more are available. At Monte Nido, many of the treatment team members are recovered. Providing a full range of services, activities, therapies and more, Monte Nido offers a supportive, encouraging and comfortable environment in which clients can rediscover their healthy self once again. We are a nationwide eating disorder treatment center, including locations in: Agoura Hills, CA | Boston, MA | Chicago IL | East Bay, CA | Eugene, OR | Glenwood, MD | Glen Cove, NY | Irvington, NY | Los Angeles, CA | Malibu, CA | New York, NY | Newport Beach, CA | Philadelphia, PA | Portland, OR | Westchester, NY


Melissa Orshan Spann, PhD, LMHC, RTY 200, is Chief Clinical Officer at Monte Nido, overseeing the clinical operations and programming for over 50 programs across the U.S. Dr. Spann is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and clinical supervisor as well as an accomplished presenter and passionate clinician who has spent her career working in the eating disorder field in higher levels of care. She is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals where she serves on the national certification committee, supervision faculty, and is on the board of her local chapter. She received her doctoral degree from Drexel University, master’s degree from the University of Miami, and bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.