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Your First Day

Your First Day in Treatment: What to Expect

Recovery from an eating disorder or other mental health condition is within your reach now — and you are incredibly brave to be starting treatment. 

When you arrive for your first day, you may feel absolutely overwhelmed. Please know that it is normal to feel this way, as you are taking a very big step into the unknown!


Arriving at the treatment center

Typically, you will arrive for your first day of treatment in the morning. When you arrive, we will greet you and ease you into treatment. You will meet with a number of key people on your first day, including the following:

  • A nurse for a physical assessment and labs
  • A medical doctor for a medical assessment and to review any complications, issues or specific needs
  • Your treatment team (psychiatrist, therapist and dietitian for eating disorders programs)
  • A business office representative to discuss insurance benefits, payment and other details

Our staff will also show you around our facilities on your first day, offering you a tour, so that you can feel more comfortable and know where things are. We will help you and make sure that you get all of the information you need.

If you feel like you can’t take in everything all at once on your first day, we understand. As the first days go by, you will begin to develop a routine and will have opportunities to ask us any questions that you may have. Also, please be aware that intake processes and procedures do vary by location.


Meeting with your treatment team

When it comes to your treatment team, we do our best to match you with providers that are the best fit for you. Every patient has different needs and goals, and we are proud to have a diverse group of clinicians and staff — with different strengths and areas of expertise at each of our recovery centers.

During your first meeting with your treatment team, we will start to develop a working relationship with you and will review your goals. This is a great time for you to ask us any questions that you have.


Your first meal in treatment: Eating disorders programs

On your first day, you will have lunch with some of our staff members and other patients. Following this meal, you will meet with your dietitian to discuss meal planning and to select your menu plans for the week.

We know how challenging this part of treatment can be, but mealtimes and meal planning are some of the most important aspects of eating disorder treatment. We will support you the entire time you are with us and you will have many opportunities to process both positive and negative experiences in individual and group therapy. We want, and expect, you to take an active role in your care.


Meeting others at the treatment center

You may wonder about the types of people that you will be in care with. We are proud to serve a diverse population of patients and believe that therapeutic growth deepens when you encounter and develop relationships with people from different life experiences and backgrounds.

We see benefits to mixing age groups together, although adults (18 and up) are housed in separate areas from our child and adolescent patients (ages 8 to 18). Adults of all ages room together and share meals and therapeutic groups.

Males and females also work together in therapeutic groups and eat together, although they do room separately. Some of our centers offer groups specifically for males with eating disorders.

We take each room request individually, depending on our availability and your preference. Our Partial Hospitalization apartments will require you to have a roommate and some of our housing options are supervised.


How long treatment lasts

You are a unique person and will have your own individual response to treatment. Thus, there is no way to know in advance how long you will be here with us in treatment. Having said that, the average length of stay is six to eight weeks. Of course, you could be with us for a shorter or longer amount of time. Your length of stay at our treatment center depends on a number of factors. At times, it could even depend on insurance benefits or other financial issues.

We will work closely with you, each day, to assess your situation and make the most responsible, ethical and honest treatment recommendations — honing in on the best level of care for you at each stage. No matter what happens, we will do our best to prepare you for success at each level of care to help you get on your best path to a sustainable recovery.


Let us know what you need

We are honored that you have put your faith and trust in us and we promise to be right by your side, supporting you, on your first day — and every day while you are here in treatment.

A note about our program: We’d like to point out that this article discusses what to expect in our 24-hour residential care program. Your experience in other levels of care, including partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient will differ. In addition, we have a number of centers in locations across the country. Therapy offerings and other details will differ by location. Let us know if you have any additional questions about what to expect when you arrive for treatment at ERC or Pathlight.

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

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