Our Treatment Philosophy for Eating Disorders
Our treatment philosophy is designed to address the many factors that contribute to an eating disorder. Our treatment plan is based on Family-Based Therapy (FBT), also known as the Maudsley Method, which is the most extensively researched intervention for eating disorders in children and adolescents.
About our treatment
Our primary goal is to provide kids and families with the skills they need to recover from a disorder like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Our unique approach to treatment gives families the support and education they need to manage an eating disorder and work toward recovery, while minimizing time out of school and away from home.
Family-Based Therapy puts parents in charge of all aspects of daily nutrition, whether kids are in or out of the hospital. The patient focuses on developing skills to identify and cope with the symptoms of an eating disorder, while working with their family to be able to continue to make progress at home.
Why do we use Family-Based Therapy and the Maudsley Method?
Focus on the importance of family involvement in treating eating disorders dates back to the mid-1970s. Family therapy research at the Maudsley Clinic in London during the late 1980s and, more recently, Lock and LeGrange’s Family Based Treatment Model, has strengthened the importance of the family’s role in treatment with impressive data supporting that it works.
Our program includes the family in all aspects of treatment, with parents planning meals and the family eating together, daily parent groups, family rounds and parent support groups.
The family’s role in getting better
Although eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia continue to be challenging illnesses to treat, one dominant factor emerges: the importance of family involvement. Our family-centered approach to care has improved outcomes, decreased the length of hospital stay and the need for re-admission, improved family satisfaction, and resulted in children’s quicker return to home and school.
Although Family-Based Therapy was designed for kids and adolescents, we’ve found that modifications of this approach can be quite effective with young adults (ages 18-21) as well. We can adapt FBT by including the young adult in decision making about their care, working with their parents on meal planning, and practicing skills for more independent living.
Requesting an appointment
It is important to make an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss your child's situation and ask for a referral. Please ask your primary care physician to check your child's height, weight in a hospital gown, laying down heart rate, and electrolytes; this will help determine whether immediate hospitalization is necessary and the urgency of scheduling an appointment.
Our intake clinician, Suzie Jordan, will then review your child’s clinical situation and assist with gathering the information necessary for an evaluation with the Eating Disorder Team.
If you would like to contact us directly to discuss concerns about your child, please call (720) 777-6452 and have the following information available:
- Child's current weight, height and weight history
- Past and current eating patterns
- Other symptoms or behaviors you are concerned about
- Routine exercise habits
- Current care providers (MD, therapist, nutritionist, etc.)
Many insurance policies cover medical and psychiatric treatment for individuals with eating disorders. Please consult your policy regarding the specific terms. A referral from your child's primary care provider is often necessary prior to initiating care at Children's Hospital Colorado. Limitations within individual policies may lead to expenses beyond insurance coverage. Financial counselors are available to assist families with questions in this area. Our intake and case management staff work with families regarding the complexities of insurance reimbursement and financial expectations for treatment.
Families from other states often seek care in the Eating Disorder Program. We'll help you find information about places to stay near Children's Hospital Colorado.
Watch an interview with Madi O'Dell, a former patient who shares her experience as a teen.