Creating Joyful Holidays While in Eating Disorder Treatment
Nicole Siegfried, Ph.D., CEDS
Most people have a strong desire to spend the holidays with their families and loved ones. But being away from home to be in treatment can be the best decision for a person in eating disorder treatment. Being in treatment over the holidays doesn’t have to be lonely. Alsana is dedicated to creating an enjoyable, celebratory environment while supporting clients during the holidays.
How Does Alsana Help Clients and Families in Treatment Celebrate Holidays?
At Alsana, we are committed to the care of clients and their families. This commitment includes helping clients have a joyful and recovery-oriented stay over the holidays and welcoming families for on-site visits.
Eating Disorder Recovery Support
Importantly, holidays are still programming days at Alsana with a primary focus on healing from the eating disorder. Although the daily schedule may shift to incorporate holiday celebration, clients will still receive group therapy and their regular number of individual sessions per week. Regular meals and snacks will still be provided with ample staff support.
Many clients have struggled for years to enjoy a holiday meal without eating disorder behaviors. Alsana maintains a supportive, safe space for clients to challenge themselves and create new experiences around holiday meals.
Welcoming Families and Loved Ones
On important holidays, Alsana holds expanded visiting hours for loved ones to spend time with clients. We will also work with clients to have off-campus passes with their family members and even trips home if appropriate to the client and their level of care. Clients will also be able to make calls to their loved ones who can’t be there in person.
Celebrating Holidays with Clients
Within our healing community, we will honor the various holidays observed by our clients and help one another celebrate as a community. Clients and the Alsana staff work together to plan celebratory activities around and during the holidays. As a community of clients and Alsana staff, together we’ll ensure that all clients find joy in their Alsana holiday.
Options for Holidays in Treatment
Instead of discharging to be home for the holidays, consider one of the following options that will allow you to enjoy the holidays while also doing what’s best for eating disorder recovery.
- Work with your treatment team to coordinate off-campus passes with families. If it’s appropriate for an individual client at their level of care, you might even arrange a trip home.
- Holidays are still programming days with a focus on therapeutic work. However, families may visit to spend time together on or near the holiday. We will expand visiting hours and off-campus passes when appropriate for you and your recovery.
- Alsana never wants finances to be the reason a client leaves treatment early. If you’re struggling to finance your own or your loved ones’ treatment over holidays and into the new year, please call us at 855-915-0213. We’ll work together to create a plan that will work for you.
Full Recovery is not only Possible but also Probable
With the right length of stay at the appropriate level of care, full recovery from an eating disorder is not just possible, it is probable.
We truly understand how hard it is for families to be separated during the holidays and to make the financial, educational, and professional sacrifices that coincide with treating the eating disorder. Equally, we want what research shows us will be best for our clients and their families in the long term. For this reason, we advocate for all our clients to experience a full length of stay, avoid a holiday season discharge, and gradually step down through appropriate levels of care.
As clients, loved ones, and outpatient providers, we urge you to discuss the alternatives to a holiday discharge with each other and, if applicable, the client’s residential, PHP, or IOP treatment team at Alsana. Together, we will create a discharge plan with the highest likelihood of long-term success in eating disorder recovery.