Eating Disorders – Intensive Outpatient Program


The Intensive Outpatient Program is for medically stable adolescents (14-18) struggling with eating disorders.  The group format offers adolescents struggling with anorexia and/or bulimia three main components of care:

1) Group therapy

2) Meal support

3) Psycho-education and coping skills

Each program is six weeks in duration.   Participants registered in the group are expected to attend all sessions, meeting 2-3 times per week.  Parent participation at one session per week is a key feature of the program.  Parent participation enables parents (primary caregivers) to deepen their  own understanding of issues related to eating disorders, as well as experience with each participant the unique struggle and/or journey through the recovery process.  In turn, parents may further develop their own coping skills and help to bolster their adolescent’s recovery process.  The parent participation dates are provided upon registration.

The program is scheduled for after school hours allowing participants to remain connected to their community, family, friends and school.  Connectedness encourages the recovery process and may provide additional, much needed, support.

The program consults with pediatricians, a registered dietitian and psychiatry as necessary, operating under the belief that a team-based approach for addressing eating disorders is a best-practice.

The program is intended for medically stable, outpatient clients.  Participants should be free from any medical complications and cleared by a medical doctor or pediatrician for outpatient care.

Readiness is vital.  Participants should be at a place where they feel ready to engage in recovery but need additional support in the recovery process.  Participants must be prepared to work towards the elimination of restricting or purging behaviour, including outside of program hours.

Group Therapy

This is a closed-group format.  Participants in the group are established prior to the program’s start and remain the same until completion.  Group therapy is proven to assist in recovery.

Group members will likely be at various stages in their overall recovery.  They are invited to share their experience, attempt new behaviours and engage in new ways of thinking in a safe and respectful environment.

As participants progress through the program and begin to experience their own success, as well as the success of other participants, they begin to learn from each other and to develop new ways of viewing the world in addition to developing healthier thought processes..  Group therapy encourages members to share coping skills and management techniques that address challenges in their recovery process

The group facilitator serves as a model of positive, healthy behaviours and coping strategies.  The group facilitator guides participants through their journey in recovery and promotes  participant confrontation of negative thought as well as inconsistent thinking by introducing more realistic and healthy ways of reasoning.

Meal Support

The participants and the program facilitator sit together for each session meal.  Meals are catered by Whole Foods, thus providing high quality and balanced options.  Using the “magic plate”, an eating disorders term whereby meals are pre-plated, serves to remove the eating disorder’s strength and participant control of food; the focus is on acceptance of everyday food.  Meal support is an integral component of the program as it serves to directly challenge the eating disorder and in some cases may provide family respite over a meal period.

Psycho-Education and Coping Strategies

Each session ends with psycho-education focused on media-awareness, body image, cognitive restructuring and healthy coping mechanisms.  As the program progresses, members will develop an understanding of how widespread the problem is, reinforcing a sense that they are not suffering alone.

Upcoming Dates

January 21– March 1, 2014

Tuesday/Thursday – 3:30pm – 6:30pm
Saturday – 10:00am-11:00am

706 Queensbury Avenue, North Vancouver, BC

Information/Intake: 604-728-7193