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Virtual Treatment

Care that connects with you

The Emily Program is committed to increasing access to quality eating disorder care. That’s why we’ve taken our comprehensive treatment model and made it available online. With our leading virtual treatment programs, people with eating disorders can find lasting recovery from the comfort and convenience of their homes.

Our virtual eating disorder treatment services* include partial hospitalization programs (PHP)/intensive day programs (IDP), intensive outpatient programs (IOP), and outpatient sessions. These virtual programs offer an innovative path to recovery, without sacrificing the crucial components of in-person care.

*Note: Virtual treatment is currently offered in Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Washington, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Virtual treatment across state lines has limitations.

What is virtual eating disorder treatment?

Virtual treatment uses technology to deliver care to clients. It allows you to connect to your treatment team via secure video to receive the structured support you would typically receive in person at an Emily Program treatment center.

Like traditional intensive programming (IDP/PHP and IOP), virtual programming at The Emily Program includes individual, group, and family therapy; therapeutic meal support; nutritional counseling; psychiatry sessions; and medical appointments, as appropriate. Your eating disorder treatment plan will be personalized to fit your specific needs.

Prior to receiving virtual treatment at The Emily Program, you will attend an orientation that introduces your programming schedule and curriculum. Orientation staff will ensure you have access to the appropriate food and nutritional supplements, technology, and other resources you will need to participate in virtual treatment.

Medical and safety needs will be assessed regularly to ensure you are receiving the level of care appropriate for you.

What services are offered in virtual treatment?

Online eating disorder treatment puts The Emily Program’s compassionate, evidence-based care within greater reach. With a wide range of specialized multidisciplinary services, our online programs are thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of clients of all genders facing eating disorders of all types.

  • Virtual Partial Hospitalization/Intensive Day Programming (PHP/IDP): Our virtual PHP/IDP programs provide a minimum of 30 hours per week of intensive treatment. Clients can expect highly structured care from multidisciplinary treatment teams, with virtual access to individual and group therapy sessions, nutrition education and therapeutic meal support, and medical and psychiatric monitoring as needed.

  • Virtual Intensive Outpatient Programming (IOP): Our virtual IOP programs provide structure and support beyond traditional outpatient care. For a minimum of 12 hours per week, clients virtually engage with multidisciplinary treatment teams, participating in therapeutic and skills-based sessions in both individual and group settings.

  • Virtual CARE IOP for Binge Eating: CARE IOP (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience with Experience/Eating/Emotions) is an online-only program designed exclusively for adults with binge eating disorder or OSFED marked by binge eating. Emphasizing inclusivity and intersectionality, the program offers support tailored to the unique challenges of those struggling with binge eating.

  • Virtual Outpatient Treatment: Our virtual outpatient program includes regular online eating disorder therapy sessions with a therapist, along with online visits with a dietitian or other clinician as needed. Individual, family, and group sessions are thoughtfully designed to provide support tailored to each client’s needs and goals.

What setting would be the most recovery-promoting for me?

No matter the setting, The Emily Program’s treatment team is committed to helping you nurture self-compassion, resilience, and empowerment, supporting you as you hone the skills and strategies you’ll need to cope with triggers and maintain recovery long-term.

That said, treatment works best in an environment conducive to recovery-focused behaviors. Through treatment, you are prioritizing your well-being, so we ask you to consider where you’ll be able to feel the most calm and present.

Does your home environment offer enough privacy, comfort, and safety to promote open, honest conversations? Some clients prefer receiving treatment in a space away from the routine and people of their everyday life. A neutral, on-site location can allow for additional comfort when sharing private information and create a needed sense of separation and intentionality for recovery. Moreover, you may live in a setting that triggers urges to engage in eating disorder behaviors, in which case in-person support may be preferential.

Alternatively, virtual care may be optimal if you are most comfortable in a familiar space to explore your relationship with food and body. Virtual care lets you develop coping skills in real-time, in real-life – the environment where lasting recovery and relapse prevention take place. Additionally, virtual programs increase treatment access for individuals who have historically felt excluded from traditional in-person treatment programs, such as individuals living in larger bodies.

Will a screen affect my experience?

The prospect of opening up to someone about the details of a personal eating disorder experience can feel incredibly vulnerable – if not outright terrifying. We recognize both the privilege and responsibility of navigating this uncomfortable, extremely personal terrain, and our team is highly trained to build a strong, supportive therapeutic alliance with you. If you are considering virtual vs. in-person treatment, consider how comfortable you are engaging on a personal level with others via technological means.

For some, particularly younger generations, virtual communication comes more naturally, while others may find it uncomfortable or forced and may respond better face-to-face. The added visual component of virtual care can be a trigger for some people. If you feel urges to engage in eating disorder behaviors post-video call, for example, it may behoove you to opt for in-person treatment.

Do I have any time or accessibility constraints?

Is the prospect of driving to an appointment (or even accessing transportation) a logistical nightmare for you? Attending treatment online means a lower time commitment as there is no need to commute to appointments. Virtual care offers minimal disruptions to daily life, which may be especially beneficial for you if you have a hectic work or school schedule and/or family responsibilities. For those who live in more remote locations without eating disorder treatment centers, virtual treatment increases access by bringing expert care to those who need it.

At the same time, setting up recurring in-person appointments at a nearby place that serves your needs might work just as well. These time and accessibility constraints are necessary to consider, as treatment should work for you and add to your life, not the other way around.

What are meals like in virtual treatment?

Therapeutic meals over virtual treatment will involve you joining others at the table virtually. You will have a short amount of time to prepare your meal prior to sitting with the group to eat. To allow for more interaction and support, the group size at meals will be smaller than in other virtual treatment groups. Staff and your peers in the group will offer support at the meal so that you can accomplish your meal-related treatment goals.

How do I prepare for treatment?

Read through these documents on how to get ready for treatment prior to your first appointment.

What if I don’t have internet access at home?

Please let us know if you have any technology concerns (e.g., internet access) that would make it difficult for you to participate from home. We will provide internet for you on-site at The Emily Program so that you can participate in virtual programming.

Will my sessions be private?

If you have others present in your space while you are in virtual programming, we imagine it may be a time you could enlist those around you for extra support. When/if you do that during programming, please ensure that they understand these are confidential services. Please ask that they maintain confidentiality regarding anything they may hear or see while you are involved in virtual treatment.

Which eating disorders are treated in virtual treatment?

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by restrictive eating due to a fear of weight gain and distorted body image, resulting in a significantly low body weight.

Virtual treatment for anorexia involves:

  • Restoring a healthy weight and nutritional status
  • Addressing medical complications associated with malnourishment, such as electrolyte imbalances and cardiac issues
  • Addressing body image distortions and facilitating the development of a realistic perception of body weight and shape
  • Addressing food-related anxiety and phobias
  • Identifying and addressing underlying psychological issues contributing to the development and maintenance of anorexia
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Fostering the development of adaptive coping skills
  • Addressing any interpersonal issues contributing to the maintenance of anorexia
  • Fostering the development of a positive self-concept
  • Improving insight and fostering motivation for ongoing recovery

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by episodes of binge eating followed by purging behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise, in an attempt to control their weight.

Virtual treatment for bulimia involves:

  • Establishing regular and balanced eating patterns
  • Addressing medical complications associated with purging behaviors, such as electrolyte imbalances and dental issues
  • Challenging and modifying attitudes and beliefs related to body weight and shape
  • Developing healthier coping mechanisms to manage emotional distress and stressors
  • Identifying and addressing underlying psychological issues contributing to the development and maintenance of bulimia
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as mood disorders or substance use disorder
  • Promoting self-monitoring and awareness of binge and purge behaviors
  • Addressing any interpersonal difficulties or conflicts that contribute to the maintenance of bulimia
  • Building self-esteem and fostering a positive body image
  • Encouraging relapse prevention skills and strategies to maintain long-term recovery

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterized by frequent consumption of large amounts of food in a short time, accompanied by a sense of loss of control.

Virtual treatment for BED involves:

  • Establishing regular, balanced meal patterns
  • Addressing the physical consequences of binge eating
  • Addressing emotional triggers and developing healthier coping mechanisms to manage emotions without relying on binge eating
  • Identifying and addressing underlying psychological issues contributing to the development and maintenance of binge eating disorder
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety
  • Promoting mindful eating practices and increasing awareness of hunger and fullness cues
  • Addressing any interpersonal or social factors that contribute to binge eating behavior
  • Encouraging self-compassion and positive body image
  • Providing strategies for relapse prevention and maintaining long-term recovery

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

ARFID is an eating disorder that involves restrictive eating due to fears of choking or vomiting, sensory aversions, or lack of interest, leading to potential nutritional deficiencies and weight loss.

Virtual treatment for ARFID involves:

  • Gradual exposure to feared foods and broadening the variety of foods consumed
  • Addressing nutritional deficiencies and promoting healthy weight gain or maintenance
  • Identifying and addressing sensory issues related to food, such as texture or smell aversions
  • Addressing underlying psychological factors contributing to the development and maintenance of ARFID
  • Providing education and support for caregivers to create a positive mealtime environment and encourage adherence to treatment goals
  • Teaching strategies for coping with anxiety and managing food-related anxiety or phobias
  • Providing ongoing support and monitoring to ensure sustained progress and relapse prevention

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)

OSFED is a category of eating disorder diagnoses that encompasses a range of disordered eating behaviors, including restriction, purging, and binge eating.

Virtual treatment for OSFED involves:

  • Identifying and addressing specific disordered eating behaviors, such as night eating syndrome or purging disorder
  • Addressing any physical complications associated with the specific disordered eating behavior(s) present
  • Addressing emotional triggers and developing healthier coping mechanisms to manage emotions without resorting to disordered eating behavior(s)
  • Identifying and addressing underlying psychological issues contributing to the development and maintenance of OSFED
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to OSFED symptoms
  • Promoting balanced eating patterns and addressing nutritional deficiencies
  • Addressing any interpersonal or social factors that contribute to disordered eating behavior(s)
  • Encouraging self-compassion and positive body image
  • Setting specific goals and providing strategies for relapse prevention and maintaining long-term recovery

Contact The Emily Program for more information about our virtual eating disorder treatment, tailored to your specific needs. 

Take the first step today by calling 1-888-364-5977 or completing our online Get Help form. We’re here with the unwavering support, compassionate care, and expert guidance that will empower you on your path to healing.

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