Carolina House (which is owned by the CRC Health Group) has been providing comprehensive eating disorder treatment for women 17 and older in North Carolina since 2006. Its mission is to help women suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorders and related issues to conquer pathological relationships with food.
Accommodations and Food
Carolina House’s residential treatment facility is a luxurious craftsman-style farmhouse on 10 acres in Durham, North Carolina. Sixteen women live together, sharing four large rooms and three bathrooms, each with a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower. The house is full of windows, with expansive views of the surrounding greenery. There is a large open kitchen for the extensive food therapy and a cozy living room with a fireplace where clients can socialize.
A licensed dietician with extensive culinary training works with each client to prepare her food. Residents are involved in all aspects of food preparation and portion control once it is deemed appropriate. Skilled in all aspects of health and nutrition, the additional cooking staff can accommodate all special dietary needs, as long as the clinical team approves them. Three times a day clients eat family style in the comfortable dining area. Staff-supervised restaurant outings are also part of the program, providing the residents with an opportunity to make choices from a menu and dine in a public setting.
Treatment and Staff
This is truly an individualized treatment approach; there is a strict baseline of structure that is adjusted on a one-on-one basis as issues come up. Clients are expected to check in with their primary Master’s-level therapist every day in addition to meeting for individual therapy three times per week. DBT is the core therapeutic modality employed by the staff and additional individual sessions may be scheduled as needed. Residents also have weekly individual sessions with the registered dietitian, a psychiatrist and an internal medicine physician to monitor general health and medications. Family therapy is also scheduled based on need. Families meet with their loved ones and the primary therapist once a week as a jumping off point to gauge where the rest of treatment will take them.
Weekly group therapy includes a general process group, relapse prevention, addiction education, spirituality and empowerment. 12-step fundamentals are taught using A Women’s Way Through the 12 Steps. Meal times are also considered primary therapy. Clients are constantly confronted with food: how to shop for it, how to prepare it, how to eat in the group, how to order off of a menu. Forming a healthy relationship around food and eating is the goal. To that end, each woman interacts with the chef and the dietician in the kitchen at least twice per day.
A typical day at Carolina House varies depending on each woman’s needs but most clients wake up at 6:30 am for a medical check-in with the nursing staff. After preparing their own breakfasts, residents who have received clearance from their treatment teams may take a walk or engage in another approved activity. Physical activity is closely monitored at Carolina House because, of course, over-exercising can be an eating disorder symptom. By 9 am, residents begin a full day of individual and group therapies, lectures, activities and meetings. In the same way that exercise is often built into substance abuse programs, Carolina House builds rest into its schedule—clients have an hour to nap after lunch. In the evenings, they have free time to talk on the phone, attend 12-step meetings, socialize or learn how to relax and sit quietly with themselves. By 9:30 pm everyone is expected to be in her room preparing for bed.
On weekends, after a Saturday morning therapy group, Carolina House takes the women on supervised group outings. Visiting hours take place on Sunday afternoons, when the facility also makes an effort to accommodate spiritual needs.
Outpatient services and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) are offered at the Carolina House facility in Raleigh, North Carolina, Monday through Friday from 11 am to 7 pm. This day program is of similar design to that offered at the residential facility but without the added structure of the overnight stay.
Carolina House offers a variety of experiential therapies, including art, mindfulness, culinary, gardening, yoga and movement. Meal outings as well as trips to the bowling alley, movie theaters, botanical gardens and stores are also included in the program.
The tools to master eating disorders are definitely accessible at Carolina House. Their comprehensive treatment approach includes a great deal of individual attention from highly qualified professionals and an extensive culinary program. Carolina House could be the ideal place to peel the layers of the proverbial onion.
Carolina House Durham
176 Lassiter Homestead Rd
Durham, NC 27713
Carolina House Cost: $67,500 (45 days). Reach Carolina House by phone at (866) 690-7240. Find Carolina House on Facebook
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