Center for Change is an individualized treatment program for women who suffer from an eating disorder. The treatment available at Center for Change is both highly customizable and comprehensive and they are equipped to treat a range of eating issues. Beyond anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, they also treat OSFED (Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder) as well as disordered eating associated with substance abuse, athletic pressures and diabetes.
Accommodations and Food
Located in the quiet city of Orem, Utah, just 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, Center for Change has created a home-like living environment for its clients. All living areas are comfortably furnished and the “Great Room” in the main residence is complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and a welcoming fireplace. There are also several smaller family rooms with overstuffed sofas, TVs and pool tables, designed for when loved ones visit. There are 98 beds available, with units separated according to treatment levels and age groups. The average client is between 15 and 30 years of age.
There are 28 beds for inpatient treatment, 14 for inpatient stabilization and 84 for residential treatment. Two women share a bedroom, each of them sleeping in a twin bed with their own bedside table. Roommates either get their own bathroom or share one with the neighboring room. All of the residential treatment options are for women only. Men are only eligible to receive treatment here on an outpatient basis.
Registered dietitians and sometimes therapists strictly supervise all meals and snacks. In the beginning, dieticians plate all food for clients. A wide variety of food is offered; one day a snack might be carrots and hummus while the next it’s a donut. In the hope of freeing women from the confines of restricted eating mindsets, they do not cater to any particular type of diet like vegan or gluten-free.
Treatment and Staff
Center for Change offers a number of treatment options; where a client is assigned depends on the circumstances of her disease. Potential clients undergo medical, psychiatric and psychosocial assessments. Inpatient treatment is the highest level of care, for clients whose health is in immediate jeopardy. The goal is medical and psychiatric stabilization. The individual component of this level of care calls for therapy sessions with a licensed therapist four times per week as well as regular checkups with a dietician and the medical and psychiatric team. The group therapy topics, which are consistent through most of the treatment levels, include skills group (incorporating CBT and DBT), open process group, balance and awareness group and relapse prevention. Clients remain in inpatient as long as it takes to stabilize before stepping down to a lower level of care.
The inpatient short-term stabilization is designed for women who might also fit the criteria for long-term inpatient care but have limited financial resources or insurance coverage. It’s also a resource for someone in an active outpatient treatment program who needs emergency services. Clients remain here for anywhere from seven to 21 days.
Residential treatment clients are not in as precarious a position in terms of their immediate health. Individual counseling occurs two times per week and most of the group therapy topics are the same as those offered in inpatient. There is no set length of treatment for residential as clients stay until it is decided they are ready to graduate. A typical day includes body image group, nutritional therapy, dietary counseling, skill building classes and experiential therapy, all happening alongside structured meal and snack times.
The Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is designed for women the Center for Change believes are dedicated enough to implement treatment strategies at night and on the weekends. They meet 51 hours a week for five weeks. The programming includes individual counseling with a clinician and dietician twice a week, as well as medical, psychiatrist and nursing evaluations once a week. These clients go on guided grocery store trips and restaurant outings. Weight and vitals are checked on a regular basis.
The independent living program provides furnished apartments for women in the PHP—ideal for women who want to do this program but who are not local residents. Transportation is provided to the Center for Change every morning and night. Both the independent living and the partial hospitalization programs are freestanding, allowing women to participate directly or as part of a step down from residential treatment.
The evening Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is designed for men and women who are stable medically and at a healthy weight. Co-occurring disorders are generally not a characteristic of clients in this treatment level. They meet once a week individually with a therapist and dietician. On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, they attend group meetings and have dinner with residents at the facility.
The general outpatient treatment program provides therapy and treatment for those who are otherwise efficiently managing their eating disorders in daily life. These clients are able to maintain their weight and physical well-being but need additional support for the emotional aspects of recovery. There are both group therapy options and weekly individual sessions with licensed clinicians and/or dieticians. Outpatient treatment is also available at Center for Change’s satellite location in Salt Lake City.
Nutritional therapy is an essential part of all programming. The Center for Change teaches “intuitive eating”—both at mealtime and in individual and group therapy. The goal for clients is to learn to listen to internal hunger cues rather than eating emotionally or dieting. A true pioneer in the field, Center for Change was the first eating disorder treatment facility to adopt the Intuitive Eating Recovery Model.
Upon admission, each client is assigned a primary therapist and primary registered dietician who remain with her throughout their journey at Center of Change. Staff members include Master’s- or Ph.D-level therapists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners, registered dieticians, experiential therapists and care technicians. There are 100 to 200 staff members on-site at any given time, depending on the census.
Clients engage in adventure therapy like ropes courses, hiking and other outdoor activities in the Utah mountains. Yoga, dance and movement therapy, sand play therapy and music therapy are also included in treatment at Center for Change. Traditional exercise is allowed only when deemed appropriate and always supervised by a trained dietician or exercise specialist.
Center for Change has specialty services for athletes and addicts. They communicate with coaches and trainers and use holistic exercise to help the athlete reconnect with her sport. For substance abusers, they offer the Mid-Track Program, which uses 12-step recovery, drug and alcohol educational groups and relapse prevention strategies.
Center for Change offers a monthly five-day Family Week where loved ones participate in multi-family group therapy and ropes course outings. Families are included in eating disorder psycho-education groups, dietary education and guidance for developing effective family dynamics. The families of adolescents in treatment are required to attend so their loved one can officially complete the program.
A full-time specialist plans each woman’s aftercare, which includes finding resources close to her home. She also has access to a three-day intensive workshop for follow-up care. Clients can check in with the team at Center for Change for up to five years and there is an active alumni program.
For teenagers receiving treatment, there is also a fully accredited high school on-site.
Eating disorders are progressive, paralyzing and even fatal. There is no doubt the Center for Change tackles the problems associated with disordered eating from every possible angle. The level of care, scope of treatment and aftercare resources are necessary when dealing with food—since abstinence is not an option. This kind of recovery isn’t easy and it doesn’t come cheap. Still, Center for Change is one of the more reasonable options for eating disorder treatment. For those who can afford treatment here, it seems like one of the most hopeful options for support in the country.
Center for Change
1790 N State St
Orem, UT 84057
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