Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Intensive Outpatient Program

What is the Eating Disorders Intensive Outpatient Program?

The Eating Disorders Intensive Outpatient Program provides evidence-based treatment for older children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder. The clinic-based program provides intensive support for children and teens and their caregivers to build skills that support recovery. Because this program is funded by special state funds, we can only take families covered by Apple Health (Medicaid) and Medicaid Managed Care Plans at this time.

Children/teens and their caregivers participate in all aspects of care. The program is intensive and requires a commitment of 20 hours per week for 3 weeks. The program runs 4 days per week, 5 hours a day, for 3 weeks. We expect youth and caregivers to attend every session.

The program includes:

  • Two family meal support sessions per day
  • One individual family therapy session each week
  • One individual child therapy session each week
  • Youth skills and education group sessions to talk about emotions, tolerating distress and addressing body image concerns
  • Caregiver group sessions that provide education, skills and support for helping your child recover
  • Skill-building group sessions on mindful movement and expressive arts
  • Family advocacy and case management services to help families with their next steps after they complete the program

Participants will have scheduled appointments before the program starts. These include a medical evaluation, an orientation and family-based therapy (FBT).

At this time the program is only offered remotely via telemedicine. Children/teens and families participate through an online video platform.

Who can this program help?

Our program is only for children and teens covered by Apple Health (Medicaid) or Medicaid Managed Care Plans and their caregivers. It is for children and teens ages 10 to 17. We may also accept 18-year-olds who are living at home. Your child and family must live in Washington state to participate.

Your child may be eligible if they have been diagnosed with:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorders
  • Unspecified eating disorder
  • Binge eating disorder

Your child must be cleared by a medical provider and not require a nasogastric (NG) tube for feeding.  

What to Expect

  • In the week before the program begins, we will schedule an initial medical evaluation for your child in our Adolescent Medicine Clinic. Families will meet with a psychologist from the program for orientation and FBT.

  • Youth and caregivers will participate in the program together to build the skills for support and recovery.

    The program meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. More than 1 parent or caregiver may join their child. We expect all participants to attend the entire 3-week program. We will work with families to find a start date that coordinates with your schedule so you can attend all sessions.

    The program includes group therapy, individual therapy and FBT. Youth and caregiver groups meet at the same time.

    Youth will learn skills such as coping, managing strong emotions and improving body image. They will have expressive arts groups and be able to engage in guided gentle yoga.

    Caregivers will learn about how to help their child cope with distress, provide distraction and redirection and use supportive language to help their child complete meals. Caregivers also will learn about mindfulness and coping to support their own wellness.

    Youth and families will meet together for a snack and a meal during the day. A mental health therapist will provide coaching during these times.

    Each family will have an individual day every week. On this day, your child will have an individual therapy session and all family members will participate in an FBT session. Caregivers also will be able to meet with their family advocate case manager to plan next steps and learn about resources.

    Please note that all treatment will be delivered virtually via telemedicine. The program does not meet on Tuesdays or holidays.

  • Each week on Tuesdays, we provide a brief in-person medical check-in for your child through the Adolescent Medicine Clinic. If it is not convenient to travel to Seattle Children’s, you may be able to arrange medical check-ins with your child’s existing primary care provider. We can discuss this at your child’s initial evaluation.  

    If at any point your child becomes medically unstable, we may recommend you stop the program. We can provide guidance about appropriate next steps.

Who’s on the team?

The Eating Disorders Intensive Outpatient Program team consists of trained staff with expertise in the treatment of eating disorders, including medical providers, psychologists, mental health therapists and social service specialists, a parent partner and a family advocate case manager.

Heather Rosen, PhD, is the primary clinical psychologist. Cynthia Ann Flynn, PhD, is the Eating Disorder Program director in Psychiatry. Yolanda Evans, MD, is the IOP medical director in Adolescent Medicine. The team works closely together to support the needs of youth and caregivers.

How to Get Services

We accept referrals from community providers, including primary care providers, as well as Seattle Children’s providers. 

Community providers and caregivers may contact the Outpatient Psychiatry Triage line at 206-987-2164, option 2, or by email at OutpatientPsychiatryTriage@seattlechildrens.org to refer a patient or ask questions. See how to refer a patient for more information.

For more information about our services, visit How to Get Services

Paying for Care

This program is only available for families covered by Apple Health (Medicaid) at this time through pilot project funding from Washington State Health Care Authority. There is no cost to eligible families.

In a Crisis?

If your child or family needs help right away, call your mental health crisis line or text HOME to 741741.