River Oaks Hospital


The Eating Disorders Treatment Center

A Safe Place for Healing

Because eating disorders are not about food or weight, the real issues must be discovered and sensitively explored, while the potentially deadly symptoms are alleviated. This challenge is the mission of our program. Comprehensive inpatient and partial hospitalization treatment programs for male and female adults with anorexia, bulimia and related eating disorders.

Our Philosophy

The Eating Disorders Treatment Center is committed to an eclectic approach which concurrently addresses physical and mental health problems. Staff members consistently guide and support patients in developing a healthy relationship with food, body, self and others, based on empowerment, self-responsibility and personal safety. The psychological treatment goal is to enable patients to work through the conflicts and issues underlying their eating disorders so that the actual causes of their symptoms can be identified, addressed and relieved. The medical treatment goal is to restore normal weight and/or eradicate unhealthy eating behaviors.

The multi-disciplinary treatment team is comprised of nationally known experts who have many years of experience working with eating disordered patients. Physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, nutritionists, and expressive arts therapists join their collective expertise in addressing the unique and complicated needs of this clinical population. An eclectic approach, including (but not limited to) CBT, DBT, and insight oriented psychotherapy, is used to treat the psychological underpinnings and the aberrant behaviors simultaneously.

The appropriate level of care for each patient is based on the severity of physical and emotional impairment. Conditions warranting inpatient hospitalization may include:

Unique Aspects of the Eating Disorders Treatment Program

• A specialized track is available for the treatment of males.

• Specialty care is available for patients who can benefit from addressing sexual, physical and/or emotional trauma issues. The New Orleans Institute at River Oaks Hospital partners with us to provide the most innovative and effective treatment available for trauma survivors.

• Patients with drug or alcohol abuse issues can benefit from a collaborative treatment effort supported by River Oaks’ specialized Chemical Dependency Program.

• Discharge planning begins at the time of admission. Communication with referring clinicians is seen as a critical process that allows us to provide continuity of care. For those patients who do not have an existing outpatient treatment team (an individual therapist, a family therapist and a nutritionist), such a team is constituted and coordinated prior to discharge.

• The Eating Disorders Treatment Center is a non-smoking program.

If you have specific questions regarding The New Orleans Institute or The Eating Disorders Treatment Center at River Oaks or would like to begin the admission process, please contact: [email protected].

Acute Inpatient Program

The Center embraces a comprehensive, individualized approach to patient care that is characterized by an aggressive group therapy schedule, intense individual and family work, focused nutrition correction and prompt and complete discharge planning. Our ultimate treatment goal is to eliminate the symptoms that endanger our patients’ lives while dealing with the issues that drive the eating disordered behaviors.

Upon admission, an individual therapist, family therapist and nutritionist are assigned to each patient. A thorough assessment is completed by each discipline and appropriate diagnostic laboratory studies and psychological testing are ordered. Each patient has three individual psychotherapy sessions and two family therapy sessions per week. If the family resides outside of the area, which is typically the case, most of the family sessions are conducted by way of conference calls on speaker phones.

The Center is committed to providing patients with practical tools with which to contain symptoms. Modifying distorted thinking, normalizing body image, correcting disordered eating, and normalizing weight are major goals of the program. Emphasis is placed on understanding the underlying dynamics, developing healthy coping skills, managing stress and preventing relapse.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

The Eating Disorders Partial Hospitalization Program offers patients a less intensive and transitional step that serves to bridge the way between inpatient and outpatient treatment. Patients may be admitted to this step down program after participating in our inpatient treatment program. Typically, patients transition from a seven days per week treatment schedule to fewer days, until they are fully prepared for discharge to outpatient treatment. For patients living outside the area, their individual therapist assigned to them upon their inpatient admission can assist in coordinating convenient, affordable housing through area hotels we are contracted with.

Mealtime Treatment

When sufficiently stable, rather than dining on the unit, patients begin eating in the hospital cafeteria from a prepared tray. They then progress to going to the cafeteria with a menu and, finally, to choosing their foods from the cafeteria line. This process enables patients to gradually test and utilize the tools they have acquired in order to be able to ultimately meet the challenges of normal social dining.

Our goal, thus, is to empower patients to make healthy food choices for themselves. During the hospital stay, patients go on a grocery store outing to choose the ingredients for the two cooking activities held on the unit each week. They also practice eating out as a group on a weekly restaurant outing. As discharge time approaches, therapeutic passes into the community enable patients to dine out, testing their ability to tolerate the stress of eating alone outside the safe haven of the hospital. After measuring each consecutive level of eating normalization, patients become confident that they can successfully assume responsibility for eating healthfully and safely on their own.

Outpatient Services

The Eating Disorders Treatment Center’s outpatient treatment is located in a separate medical office building on the River Oaks Hospital campus. The clinic is staffed with licensed therapists, nutritionists and a psychiatrist, all specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. Outpatient services include individual, family and group therapy, as well as nutritional counseling and medication management.

If you have specific questions regarding The New Orleans Institute or The Eating Disorders Treatment Center at River Oaks or would like to begin the admission process, please contact: [email protected].

Group Treatment Schedule:

 Individual Treatment Schedule:

If you have specific questions regarding The New Orleans Institute or The Eating Disorders Treatment Center at River Oaks or would like to begin the admission process, please contact: [email protected].