Recent experience with residential eating disorder treatment?

Our daughter needs residential treatment for her eating disorder. Does anyone have recent successful experience with a residential program in California? We have had Cielo House, Clementine/Monte Nido, and Montecatini (San Diego) recommended to us. Any information would be much appreciated.

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First of all, I am very sorry that this is happening to your child and your family. We discovered our teen’s Anorexia Nervosa in early 2022. This is the hardest thing my kid and our family has ever dealt with. I am sure you know that eating disorders are an insidious mental illnesses with the highest mortality rate for any mental illness. I only write this here because I want to bring more visibility to this issue because it can be so misunderstood by the rest of society. Our teen’s eating disorder was brought on by the pandemic; the loneliness and isolation really affected our kid. The good news is our teenager is thriving and is close to a full recovery. We are aware that this is something that may resurface during stressful times in life, but the earlier you catch it and comprehensively treat it, the higher chance of full recovery. 

I heavily researched residential treatment programs and were on many waitlists, but I also didn’t feel satisfied with any of the Glass Door reviews. Many of these residential programs are for profit companies, and they seem to employ too many overworked and not ideally qualified people. We couldn’t bring ourselves to send our teen away. We implemented Family Based Treatment at home, which is the hardest thing we ever did. It is the gold standard for treating anorexia in teens, but it is really hard on the parents because you basically turn your home into a treatment center. Although this sounds less than ideal, if you can push through and implement FBT at home, the long term results are phenomenal because your kid learns to eat at home and in society with you. If they go to a residential treatment center, they may get better but often times, when the kid gets back home, they fall back into old habits because they didn’t learn to eat at home. These are the programs that were recommended to me and that I would have sent my teen to if FBT didn’t work. I like the outpatient model because it keeps you connected with your kid. I also added a list of resources below (books, the therapist, our pediatrician at Kaiser who truly understands eating disorders and is excellent with teens and helped identify our kid’s comorbidity of depression). I wish you the best. This is such a stressful time for you and your family, but you can push through and help your kid overcome this hardship. You will all be stronger and closer on the other side of it. We are enjoying meals and travels as a family again. We have our teenager back. This was also very difficult on our other kids so we did some family therapy together too and helped them understand what their sibling was going through. It is very hard for the siblings too, so try to give them some special time too.

  • Amrita (IOP in San Rafael)
  • Center For Discovery was recommended to me by Amrita (Menlo Park residential) 
  • Healthy Teen Project (PHP / IOP) 
  • Avalon Hills (Utah residential)
  • Eating Disorder Resource Center: excellent non profit resource and they facilitate a parent support group via Zoom on Saturday mornings
  • Bri Byrne in Lafayette (excellent therapist who specializes in eating disorders). 
  • Dr. Fong Gomez (Kaiser Oakland Pediatrician; she was trained by their eating disorder specialist MD before she left and is excellent in providing evidence based medical support). 
  • Excellent Podcast with expert Dr. Laura Hill: Part 1 and Part 2 
  • Book: Plate by Plate method 
  • Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder