Intensive Therapies

Eating disorders can have a number of causes, not to mention effects, on life and happiness, and we know that each case is different. Our goal is to provide a unique, customized therapy solution that will give you the tools you need to overcome your disorder.

Our therapy options:

  • Individual therapy. Participants meet three times a week with a master's- or doctoral-level therapist to decide which areas the most need focus. The most common content relates to trauma, self-esteem issues or stress management. Individual therapy in the program can point to directions for future outpatient therapy. The program therapist coordinates with outpatient providers regarding past treatment and future care.
  • Family/marital therapy. An eating disorder can put a lot of stress on interpersonal relationships, so these sessions focus on how families and couples can cope with eating disorders. It's all about creating an environment where patients are supported by the people they care about most. Families or significant others participate in two sessions each week with a doctoral-level therapist. Sessions focus on how families and couples can more effectively cope with the eating disorder, appropriately support recovery and change patterns of interactions that may have inadvertently facilitated symptoms. Out-of-area families or significant others may participate by phone or video conference calls.
  • Group and experimental therapies. Whether it's an open-ended discussion or striving toward a set of goals, group sessions use cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and interpersonal therapy with experimental approaches, like art, music and movement to reach the underlying emotions that can hold back recovery.
  • Nutritional counseling. A registered dietitian works closely with each participant. The goal of nutritional treatment is to restore a healthy nutritional balance and assist the individual and family in learning ways to maintain this balance after discharge. At the initial session, the dietitian and participant formulate nutritional objectives along with an initial meal plan. The dietitian meets regularly with participants providing assistance with daily menu planning and nutritional education. The program dietitian also works with families to be sure that family members understand in detail the meal plan the participant will follow post-discharge. To promote personal responsibility for healthy nutrition most participants have the opportunity to practice food selection in the dining room with the dietitian's guidance and to eat some of their meals independently with their family or significant other.

    Our program has the ability to address both the medical and psychological components of co-occurring diabetes and eating disorders. Research has indicated that females diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes are typically two to three times more likely to develop an eating disorder than their peers. We understand it is imperative to find a proper balance between adequate insulin intake and maintaining a healthy weight. Our diabetes programming assists individuals of all ages as they start their journey to recovery. Individuals will receive additional support from our consulting board certified endocrinologist, our registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Participants receive complete medical management including nutrition education, blood sugar monitoring/testing instruction and a monitored exercise program. Individual, group and family therapy sessions that address food, weight and body image are also included. With proper treatment, individuals learn, positive ways to cope with their eating disorders and diabetes.

  • Psychiatric management. Program participants meet daily with a psychiatrist. The program Medical Director, Michael Pertschuk, MD meets four days per week with each participant. He oversees treatment planning and daily care, coordinates medical consultations and prescribes medication when needed. There are no "standard medications" used to treat eating disorders. If there appears to be an indication for a specific medication, Dr. Pertschuk will discuss this with the program participant. In the case of adolescents, he also will discuss the use of any psychoactive medications with the parents before prescribing.
  • Discharge planning. The entire treatment team works with the participant and family to arrange a sound discharge plan. Discharge plans include follow-up therapy, the participant's meal plan, and plans for meal supervision at home and arrangements for constructive activities.

Meet our doctor:
Michael Pertschuk, MD, is the medical director of the eating disorder program at Brandywine Hospital.

For more information, please contact: