• Programs for Eating Disorders

    IOP for Adolescents


    When adolescents are unable to make consistent progress in outpatient therapy or assessed as otherwise requiring a higher level of care, IOP may be an effective boost to regular outpatient services.

    Treatment is highly individualized to maximize the best outcome.

    The overall goal of our Intensive Outpatient Eating Disorders Program (IOP) at St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute is to provide additional treatment to break patterns that are creating barriers to recovery while still within the family home.  

    Many adolescents feel the eating disorder gives them control when instead; the eating disorder is a cause of loss of control over behaviors basic to health.  Healthy restoration of control over eating and health provides the foundation upon which further therapy and personal growth can occur.

    We design our IOP to help the adolescent with readiness to assume responsibility for healthy behavior as well as to offer support and strategies for parents.

    Often teens who were initially fearful or resistant toward change, gain new insight into their eating disorder, develop motivation to change as well as coping skills to help manage symptoms, emotions, and body image concerns. 

    IOP staff work partnership with parents to provide empowerment and skills to move forward.  Daily treatment serves to extend the recovery support that parents provide in the family home.

    What is the Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Adolescents?

    • Small therapy groups in a private treatment setting with a high therapist to client ratio provide the chance to discuss feelings with peers while working toward recovery.
    • Includes a daily, supervised meal and provides daily structure to support healthy behaviors.
    • Groups provide skills with specialized focus on anxiety management, mood regulation, distress tolerance, self-esteem, and relationships.
    • Offers 1:1 individualized sessions with a licensed dietitian.
    • Offers weekly individual family therapy sessions with an eating disorders expert.
    • Includes a weekly Parent Only group and Multi-Family group.
    • Incorporates key Family Based Treatment (FBT) treatment components, such as recognizing the critical role of parents in their child’s recovery.

    You do not have to be working with an FBT therapist to benefit from our IOP and we are happy to collaborate with outpatient treatment providers when additional services are necessary to promote recovery in adolescents.

    Why Our IOP?

    • We base our Adolescent IOP on FBT due to the evidence supporting the effectiveness of this approach with adolescents. (link)  IOP is designed to help augment individual family FBT services.  However, you do not have to be engaged in FBT to benefit from our IOP.
    • We can provide addition intervention and supervision for teens who are struggling with mood, motivation, and anxiety that interfere with recovery in outpatient weekly therapy or FBT sessions.
    • State-of-the-art individualized group modules designed to extend structure and accountability into the home environment.
    • Accessibility – your entire treatment is highly accessible to you. Our primary goal is you and your needs. We always have time available for you, when you need help guidance and advice – we are there for you.
    • Our eating disorder treatment team – our staff is comprised of experts in the field of eating disorders with experience treating eating disorders. We are proud that our team has a wealth of years treating eating disorders.  Our experience, professionalism, compassion and ability to collaborate together means that you receive exceptional care.
    • Family focused approach includes time invested in each family including groups, one on one sessions, family sessions, phone calls and ongoing advice and guidance available to all families.
    • Incorporation of anxiety treatment and planned exposure-response prevention interventions to help reduce anxiety related to food and eating disorder behaviors.
    • Supervised outings to restaurants and stores according to individual plans.
    • Coping skill practice in the home environment prepares for transition to less frequent outpatient services. 
    • Closely managed and collaborative treatment with community providers.

    Our licensed therapists work with individual clients and families, as well as lead therapy groups to insure consistent quality and personalized treatment.  If needed, we work closely to help facilitate transition to a higher level of care, such as residential treatment.

    Is your teen struggling with an eating disorder? Learn more about how SLBMI’s Eating Disorders Program helps teens and their family during the treatment process.

    What to Expect? 

    Easy access to intake appointments.  Before someone begins treatment, we conduct a confidential and extensive assessment to determine what level of care is appropriate. We make every effort to expedite intake assessments within 48 hours of calling our intake department.

    We are in network with most insurance companies. We verify insurance benefits prior to your appointment in order to provide information regarding coverage. Private pay is also an option.

    IOP is geared for teens age 13-18 (senior year of high school), all genders.

    Adolescent Groups will meet 5 Days a week:  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5:00-8:00pm; and Saturday 8:00-11:00am

    We carefully design our IOP therapy groups to reflect current trends and research on treatment effectiveness.  We also individualize treatment based on the needs of participants. Please review our Adolescent Group Schedule for a complete list and description of our therapy groups. 

    The first day of IOP includes an individual orientation and education session to discuss individual goals and family involvement. A parent participates in these sessions

    Each client will work with our dietitian within the first few days in order to develop a meal plan and will meet for follow-up sessions according to their individual needs.  We expect a parent to attend this appointment.

    The Adolescent Program includes an additional Parent Only Group on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. and a Multi-Family Group on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

    We recommend parents and other caregivers or adult family members attend the Complimentary Family Workshop to learn about eating disorders and how to help.

    If you are currently working with an outpatient treatment team, you are welcome to take advantage of our services that may not be available in a traditional outpatient setting.  We look forward to collaborating with your outpatient provider(s) and physicians.

    We expect individuals who attend our IOP to be working with a physician who will monitor their physical health. Prior to admission, an evaluation and physician statement is required stating that clients are medically stable and able to participate in outpatient treatment.  Please review and print the Adolescent Medical Clearance Form and the Adolescent Lab Recommendations for your physician to complete. If you do not currently have a physician, our program can assist in finding physicians to work with you.

    Our IOP is an intensive schedule designed to offer maximum support to achieve success at an outpatient level of care.  Each IOP day is comprised of three hours of group therapy, including a therapeutic and supervised meal.  We schedule additional therapy and nutrition appointments around these core groups.  We expect parents to attend all individual nutrition and family sessions.

    Learn in the video below about how the team at SLBMI’s Eating Disorders Program incorporates FBT into the Intensive Outpatient Program.

    The length of time that you spend in the IOP is highly individualized but a typical average is 4-6 weeks. In most cases, insurance companies determine length of stay based on your plan and their determination of medical necessity.  We will make every effort to work with your insurance company to determine a length of stay that matches your treatment goals.  In cases when you may wish to extend treatment days, private pay is an option.  

    Throughout treatment, we focus on discharge planning. Upon completion of the program, we highly encourage teens to attend a weekly complimentary Recovery Group.

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