The Benefits of PHP in Eating Disorder Treatment

Taking part in residential treatment can be an essential step toward recovery from an eating disorder. But a person’s recovery journey doesn’t end when they transition out of residential care.

The day an adolescent girl or adult woman enters the residential program at Timberline Knolls, we begin planning for her eventual discharge. We want to be sure that all residents are connected with the services and resources that will best support their continued progress.

For some residents, the ideal next step is a partial hospitalization program, or PHP.

What Is a PHP?

Partial hospitalization, which is sometimes referred to as day treatment, is a level of care that typically features full days of programming without a residential component. A PHP may be the optimal level of care for people who can benefit from a strong connection with structured clinical services but whose needs are not severe enough to warrant round-the-clock supervision.

At Timberline Knolls, we offer treatment at the PHP level for adult women age 18 and older. Women may step down to our PHP after completing our residential program, or they may enter treatment with us directly at the PHP level. Depending on individual need, women may participate in PHP sessions either five or seven days per week.

If we determine that a PHP would be the optimal follow-on service for one of our adolescent residents, our team can work with them and their family to make an appropriate referral to a trusted PHP provider.

The Effectiveness of PHPs

According to a review that was published in the June 2014 edition of the Mental Health Review Journal, considerable research indicates that day treatment programs can have a significant positive impact on people who are receiving care for eating disorders.

The June 2014 review was based on an analysis of 15 separate research-based articles that contained what the authors described as “quantitative outcome data relating to the effectiveness of DTPs [day treatment programs] for adults with eating disorders.” These articles included data that had been collected from 1,618 people in eight countries.

The authors of the June 2014 review, clinician and researcher Zoe Hepburn and research assistant Kim Wilson, analyzed the articles to determine the ability of day treatment programs to help participants improve:

  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Binge/purge and vomit symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-esteem
  • Eating disorder psychopathology

Their conclusion: “There is strong evidence that DTPs [day treatment programs] are effective in improving all these variables among adults with eating disorders.”

PHP Features & Benefits

The PHP at Timberline Knolls offers an array of benefits for all participants, including:

  • Safe and welcoming environment – Our PHP center is located in Orland Park, Illinois, about 11 miles from our residential campus. This location is a safe and welcoming place that is specifically designed for partial hospitalization programming.
  • Individualized treatment – Each woman who participates in the Timberline Knolls PHP follows an individualized plan that reflects her history, progress, needs, and goals.
  • Multiple forms of evidence-based care – A woman’s treatment plan at the PHP level may include a variety of services, such as basic medical care; medication management; individual, family, and group therapies; and experiential therapies such as supervised outings and art therapy.
  • Supportive community – During a woman’s time in our PHP, she can form healthy relationships and share support with others who are working toward similar goals. This can help her understand the power of active participation in the recovery community.

For women who step down to our PHP after completing an inpatient or residential program, additional benefits include continuity of care and extended time in treatment.

With a woman’s permission, our PHP team can coordinate with her residential or inpatient program to receive any relevant records and ensure that we are prepared to help her maintain and build on the progress she made at the previous level of care.

Extended time in treatment can help a woman gain a stronger foothold in early recovery and build a more solid foundation for continued success.

When a woman enters an inpatient or residential eating disorder treatment program, she has the opportunity to temporarily step away from the stresses and distractions of everyday life. But when that phase of her treatment ends, so too does the temporary respite from these potentially negative outside influences.

A PHP can facilitate a smoother and more successful transition out of residential care by balancing independent living with comprehensive clinical support.

While enrolled in our PHP, women can practice stress management and relapse prevention skills in a real-world environment during nontreatment hours, and then process their experiences and receive focused feedback when the PHP is in session.

Building a Foundation for Success

At Timberline Knolls, we believe that every woman who has been struggling with an eating disorder deserves to receive the individualized care that can reconnect her with the best version of herself and prepare her for long-term progress. For some women, this may include treatment at the partial hospitalization level. As with all treatment-related decisions at our center, all PHP admissions and referrals are based solely on what is best for each person who is entrusted to our care.

To learn more about the many benefits of partial hospitalization programming for women who are struggling with eating disorders, please feel free to contact Timberline Knolls directly at your convenience. A member of our team will be happy to provide you with the information you need so that you can make the best decision about your treatment.