Eating Disorders Center for Treatment and Research

Adolescent Day Treatment

The UCSD Adolescent Day Treatment Program for Eating Disorders is an intensive treatment program for adolescents (age 11 and up) with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) or Bulimia Nervosa (BN).
Our program is primarily Family Based Therapy (FBT; also known as the Maudsley approach), and we utilize a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) approach as well.

FBT is an intensive treatment in which parents play an active and positive role in order to help their child restore weight and return to normal, healthy eating patterns. FBT is widely considered to be the most efficacious treatment for adolescents with anorexia. Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of FBT: approximately two-thirds of adolescent AN patients are recovered at the end of FBT while 75 - 90% are fully weight recovered at five-year follow-up.

DBT is designed to help emotionally dysregulated individuals cope better with their emotions. Teens with eating disorders are often relying on their behaviors to help them manage emotions, and the eating disorder in turn leads to more negative emotions, like anxiety around food/weight, conflicts with family members, etc. Many teens with eating disorders also have co-occurring conditions, like substance abuse, depression, or interpersonal problems, and DBT has been shown to treat these symptoms effectively.

Treatment Team is led by Dr. Terry Schwartz and Roxanne Rockwell


Treatment Components

Individual therapy: Therapists meet with teens once a week to help them recognize and challenge eating disordered thoughts and behaviors.

Group therapy: Teens participate in a variety of group therapies with their peers or with their families. Patients process feelings, learn coping skills, and get support from each other in groups.

Psychiatric consultation: Each patient will be given a full psychiatric evaluation upon admission to the Adolescent Day Treatment Program. Our psychiatrist will consult with the patient’s existing psychiatrist if they have one. In addition, our psychiatrist will coordinate medical care closely with the primary care physician, ensuring regular labs, vitals and general medical condition is monitored closely.

Art Therapy: This group provides patients with the opportunity to be less linear in their thinking. By drawing, painting, and expressing their feelings through art they can access hidden issues and learn how to uncover them in a supportive environment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Therapy is offered in a group setting and offers patients the opportunity to work on their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs. These beliefs can either support recovery or support the eating disorder. By changing the way that patients think about their self, body, food, relationships etc. recovery can be strengthened.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): This group is designed to help patients learn how to regulate emotions and become better able to manage distress. Teens and their families participate in this group together.

Family Therapy: Teens and their families participate in individual family therapy once a week. On Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and during the day on Saturday, families participate in multifamily groups. The family component of this treatment has been demonstrated in research to be the most important part of a teen’s recovery.  

Goal Setting: Each treatment day, patients engage in a goal setting process to help them continue their progress when at home. Goals are related to reducing eating disorder behaviors such as bingeing and purging or restricting.

Meals: Patients eat meals and snacks as a group while in program. Meal plans are tailored to the individual by our registered dietician. Additionally, families are given a chance to eat supervised meals with their children in order to learn skills for facilitating healthy eating at home.

Process group: This group is less structured than the other groups in order to provide a time for patients to bring up topics and issues of their choice. Group leaders provide a safe environment for patients to discuss personal issues.

When does the Adolescent Day Treatment Program meet?

This program is an intensive program for those who require more structure and supervision, including meal support. Please click on the PDF icons to review the schedules for the Adolescent Day Treatment and Intensive Outpatient Programs.
pdfDay Treatment (10hr & 6hr)pdfIOP Program

Where is the program held?

The program is located within our clinic (see "Contact Us" on our homepage).

How does payment work?

Payment arrangements can be made by using insurance or cash payments.

Contact our Insurance Coordinator Christina Vizcarra at (858) 246-0997 or cvizcarra@ucsd.edu for a list of our contracted insurance companies or for any questions regarding insurance coverage.