Guilford Courier
May 2016

Individuals suffering from an eating disorder can now find specialized treatment closer to home. Walden Behavioral Care, the leading program for treating eating disorders, recently opened a new location in Guilford, making it the first specialized treatment center of its kind in the shoreline area.

The 6,000 square foot facility, located at 157 Goose Lane, was presented to the public at an open house on May 19. Guilford Program Director Rebekah Bardwell Doweyko said they are excited about the new location.

“There is no ambulatory treatment that specialized in eating disorders from Rhode Island all the way until you hit Fairfield County,” she said. “Whenever there is a large area where there are no specialized services, there is a great number of people that have gone without specialized care for a long period of time. What we know about eating disorders is if they are not intervened with early they will continue to fester and only get worse.”

The clinic offers partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, as well as outpatient services for both adolescents and adults. The clinic also provides an intensive outpatient binge eating program and accepts both male and female patients.

All services provided are considered ambulatory, meaning patients do not sleep at the facility. A team of 14 staff members including one psychiatric nurse practitioner, one dietician, five clinicians, and three mental health counselors are on staff to provide treatment. Doweyko said it is important to offer these services close to home.

“What we try to do is keep people from having to go to the hospital and having to leave their families, their homes, their loved ones,” she said. “If we can be effective at that level of care and then people don’t have to come out of their environment, which is really great because they learn how to get well in their own environment”.

Doweyko said the new clinic’s location among other medical facilities is a big plus.

“Because of its proximity to the Shoreline Medical Center, it made it the best fit for us because we really need a partner in the medical field,” she said.

The need for a facility like this is present in shoreline towns, according to Gina Macdonald MA, LPC, CEDS, a certified eating disorder specialist who has a private practice in Branford.

“On the shoreline there has never been a treatment program for higher level of care,” she said. “Finally we have that facility opening in Guilford.”

Macdonald said she treats people of all ages, but sees a number of young girls and high school students at her practice.

“It does change depending on the school and the values that the school puts forth in terms of expectations,” she said. “Most of these people that come to me tend to be high achievers. On the shoreline, I see it more in Madison and Guilford.”

Macdonald said the competitive sports environment can also cause problems for men and women.

“Wrestling for boys and weightlifting for boys,” she said. “They tend to think in muscle, not fat, but they are preoccupied with it and their thoughts can be 60- to 70 percent of their day can be focused on food, weight, calories, exercise, and presently the use of apps to calculate obsessively.”

Overall, Macdonald said eating disorders can have a negative impact on many people.

“Families have been disrupted beyond comprehension,” she said. “The mothers, the fathers, the sibling—it just creates such a chaos for them.”

To learn more about Walden, visit