Anyone entering one of Walden’s residential eating disorder treatment programs for the first time is bound to have many questions—some philosophical and some practical.  Some questions, and their answers, will help to make treatment decisions and some will relieve anxiety about the process.

Common questions asked by patients include:

  • What is a typical day like?
  • What kind of groups will I go to?
  • Who will be part of my treatment team?
  • Will I be making my own food?
  • Will I be able to have visitors?
  • What will I be able to bring with me?

What is a Typical Day Like?

Your day will start with a friendly wake up call, getting ready for your day, and then heading to breakfast with the group.  After breakfast, you will participate in a Goals Group and discuss objectives for the day with other residents and staff.  Throughout the day you will attend several different therapy groups. Three days a week staff will take your weight and vitals, and once a week you’ll get blood work done in the morning.  There are three meals and three snacks each day, and all are eaten with other residents and staff.  Your day will end with “Tea Time” and Wrap Up Group, and you will be able to watch TV and movies during evening free time.  Staff members are available 24/7 for check-ins, to answer questions, and for anything else you might need.

What kind of groups will I go to?

Throughout the day you will attend groups such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Body Image, Relapse Prevention, Stress Management, Self-Esteem, and Eating Disorders and the Media.

Who Will Be Part of My Treatment Team?

Your treatment team includes a social worker, dietitian, nurse, and attending psychiatrist or nurse practitioner. You will meet with members of your treatment team at least two to three times each week and they will be involved in your treatment planning process.

Will I Be Making My Own Food?

You will prepare your own meals in the program, and we can accommodate most allergies and other special dietary needs.  Your dietitian will create a meal plan specifically for you, and the staff will help you figure out what foods fit your meal plan requirements.

Several times each week we have “shared meals” planned by the dietitian and designed to help residents challenge food fears and practice cooking for the group and eating food prepared by others.  You may also earn passes with family members or other supports to practice meals, grocery shopping, and other “real life” activities outside the program.

Will I Be Able to Have Visitors?

We have visiting hours each week day evening and on weekend afternoons, and we believe that family members and friends play a critical role in your recovery!

What Will I Be Able to Bring With Me?

The residential program is in a home-like setting, and we work to make it feel normal and to include some of life’s daily conveniences.  You will have phone and internet access during free time, and you are welcome to bring your iPod, Kindle, etc. as long as they don’t have cameras and you are responsible for them.  We provide linens, towels, and food, and you just need to bring comfortable clothing, medications, and any personal items you want (photos, journal, books, knitting, etc.)

We know that entering treatment can be scary and overwhelming, and we will do our best to make you comfortable and support you in your journey towards full recovery!

About the Author: Emily Slager, M.Ed., LMHC, is the Director of Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs for adolescents and adults at Walden Behavioral Care’s Waltham location. In this role, she manages all aspects of these programs including administrative, fiscal and clinical management.   Ms. Slager earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Boston College. Her professional interests include the development of eating disorders in athletes and in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.