Intensive Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment

The treatment of eating disorders and disordered eating often requires an intensive level of therapy.

People seeking intensive outpatient eating disorder treatment at Turnbridge start with a thorough medical and psychological assessment to establish an accurate baseline upon which to develop an individualized care plan, which includes a specialized combination of mental health care, physical health care, and education.

The psychological component of treatment helps clients understand and address the underlying experiences, beliefs, trauma, or other factors that may be triggering and perpetuating disordered eating. Psychological assessments are used to explore the root causes that may have led to the development of the eating disorder and to diagnose any co-occurring mental health disorders that may also require treatment.

Medical and psychiatric care address the physical effects of eating disorders on the body, monitor progress toward health goals, and manage any necessary medications. Sustained lack of nutrition and weight loss can sometimes lead to heart arrhythmias, electrolyte and hormone imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and other serious health risks. Vital signs, blood tests, EKGs, urinalysis, weigh ins, and other medical tests give care providers important insight into the physical health implications of eating disorders on the body.

Clinical dietitians at Turnbridge develop meal plans and educate clients on restoring and maintaining a nutritious diet and healthy eating behaviors. Therapeutic meals provide an opportunity to practice proper nutrition in a supportive environment. Participating clients bring healthy meals to group therapy sessions. Dietitians use these opportunities to introduce “challenge foods” — often carbohydrates and sugars heavily avoided by many eating disorder sufferers — to help clients relearn good eating habits. Sharing a meal with peers and supportive and experienced care providers helps clients address the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of his or her eating disorder while learning how to restore proper nutrition and better health.

As individuals make progress toward health goals, the level of treatment intensity can be safely reduced by the care team over time.

intensive outpatient eating disorder treatment in CT
Director of Eating Disorder Services

Joy received her Doctorate in Psychology and a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the Florida School of Professional Psychology. She has also completed a Master’s of Philosophy in Education and a Master’s of Science in Education in Professional Counseling and Psychological Services, respectively, from the University of Pennsylvania. Joy completed her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Joy is also credentialed as a National Health Service Psychologist.

Most recently, Joy was the Supervising Psychologist at the University of Southern Mississippi, providing therapeutic services in the college counseling center, and had worked in several other college counseling centers during her training and education. Joy also has experience working in private practice settings and community mental health. As the Director of Eating Disorder Services at Turnbridge, Joy uses evidence-based practices and treatments to help both men and women who are struggling with addiction and eating disorder concerns. Additionally, Joy provides psycho-diagnostic assessment to those engaged in services at Turnbridge. Joy also continues to teach at the graduate level to help prepare the next generation of mental health clinicians.

Director Eating Disorder Treatment
Clinical Dietition

Ashley DeBella is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RD) and a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD). She received her Master of Science in Nutrition and her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics & Nutrition from University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT. Ashley spent her first year of college at Sacred Heart University, where she was recruited as a Division 1 track athlete with a specific interest in cross country running.

Prior to joining Turnbridge, Ashley worked for 5 years as a Dietition at Institute of Living’s Eating Disorder Programs, while also performing nutritional consults and facilitating nutritional groups in their Schizophrenia Treatment Center for young adults and adolescents. Additionally, she worked as a consultant dietitian for Newport Academy in Bethlehem, CT.

Ashley believes nutrition plays a crucial role in recovery from an eating disorders and substance use disorders. At Turnbridge, Ashley helps clients to establish a balanced, sustainable relationship with food, free from negative or distorted thoughts about oneself. She believes in the “All Foods Fit” philosophy, and uses psychoeducation as a tool to help clients recognize the adverse medical implications of disordered eating and the importance of recognizing hunger and satiety cues related to physical need, rather than emotional triggers.