Eating Disorders are the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. An estimated 50% of adolescents report having used some kind of unhealthy behavior to control weight. While eating disorders are unfortunately common in the adolescent population, the good news is that treatment outcomes improve the earlier someone gets treatment. In response to the severity and pervasiveness of Eating Disorders in adolescents, Cielo House has created an adolescent-specific program where young people and their families can get the help and support they need in recovering from an eating disorder. We welcome clients age 12-17 and treat all kinds of Eating Disorders. This specialized program provides our adolescents with a separate treatment environment dedicated to just them. Recovery from an eating disorder is definitely possible, and our team of expert eating disorder professionals is ready to help our clients reach it.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the specifics of an Adolescent treatment program, here are some of the key philosophies and features of our program:
A Family-Focused Approach
A big part of our philosophy for working with Adolescents is that families are an important part of treatment. Not only do families provide support for clients going through a difficult process, but they are going through a difficult process of their own. In addition, we work with our Adolescents to find meaningful ways to connect with their families through the recovery process.
Families are invited to be an essential part of treatment. Families receive weekly private Family Therapy sessions as well as participate in Family Fridays, where they receive a joint Nutrition Education Group and have a Support group just for family members. This is a unique experience where families get to join into the same Nutrition Education Group as their child, to share in the learning process.
As with all our programs, Cielo House tries to create a “family feeling” within the treatment environment, and with Adolescents the family-friendly atmosphere is even more essential.
Learning to Love Food
Adolescents are just beginning to form their relationship with food. They are exiting from the childlike, brussels-sprouts-are-gross mindset of food to a more adult palate in which they can begin to enjoy a greater variety of foods. Part of the Adolescent program is working with clients to cultivate a more positive relationship with food during this important developmental time. To do this Cielo House offers a unique meal experience. Our Registered Dietitians actually eat with clients at meals to model a healthy relationship with food and provide support at mealtimes with expert nutritional knowledge. In addition, there are 2 special meal experiences each week: The Cooking Group and Take-Out Tuesdays, when clients have opportunities to prepare meals and broaden their palate.
Balancing School and Treatment
There are times when an adolescent will need to focus solely on treatment in order to restore their health to a point where they can successfully re-engage with school and other important aspects of their lives. Our Adolescent Program offers a Full Day program for those who are not ready to participate in school quite yet. The Afterschool IOP Program is an option for those clients who are still able to attend school full time.We created a quiet study area in house where students can come in before program hours or during break times to get schoolwork done. Additionally, most schools are able to make accommodations for clients to attend treatment and the Cielo House team is able to interface with school and help with the accommodation process.Sometimes balancing school and treatment can be a difficult juggling act, but we always work with our clients and families to ensure that treatment and school are working in harmony, both towards the end goal of helping the adolescent move forward.
Creatively Designed with Teens in Mind
The Cielo House Adolescent Program is housed in a historic, Victorian building in downtown San Jose. We have turned the space into a fun and whimsical, comfortable setting. Whether it is the lounge area with a tree swing, the Miniature Golf Course upstairs, we know that you have to have to make treatment fun in order for Teens to fully engage with it. In our groups we use media, music, art, and maintain a healthy sense of humor. Teens come to see our staff not as authority figures, but as mentors who are there to guide and support them through their journey. The collaborative effort between, staff, families and the adolescentscreates a positive environment for recovery.
For more information about our San Jose Adolescent Treatment Program, please call 408-931-1176.
Matt Keck, MFT is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cielo House. He runs a weekly group on the topic of emotions at the San Jose Adolescent Program.