Why does specialist day treatment work for eating disorders?

We get asked a lot, what makes Orri different? Beyond our incredibly dedicated team and the tranquility of 14 Hallam Street, it’s our pioneering model for intensive day treatment that differentiates us from other treatment centres. In case you were wondering, here’s what specialist day treatment looks like…

Specialist day treatment means comprehensive support for people who want and recognise that they need more than to see a therapist or dietitian on a weekly basis. They may want somewhere to go where they can talk through their experiences and come to understand themselves better. They may want someone to help them while they’re eating, to navigate the difficult decisions and challenges that they face.

Recovery is a difficult process and can often feel lonely at times. This is why specialist day treatment is all about consistent collaboration with clients along the way. Our approach involves having the flexibility to ask clients where they are and what they need; whether it is to talk about sexuality, learn about nutrition, get support for a clothes shopping trip, or just some time to put their feet up and do a jigsaw.

Our specialist day treatment model provides the opportunity to address all of the different parts of yourself and your everyday life when you’re living with an eating disorder. It’s then about trying to understand which parts of yourself you want help to strengthen, and which parts you need help to overcome. We step away from the power struggles that often come to dominate in hospital settings, working with our clients – not against them.

Flexibility is key 

We see Orri as a community. Clients arrive each day on one of three different schedules: extended days (8.30am—7pm), full days (9.45am—7pm) and part-days, which are 5-hour sessions to address specific needs. Mealtimes are fixed, but beyond that our programmes are flexible around our clients and their lives.

When a client first arrives, we build a timetable specific to their needs. We understand that as a client progresses in recovery, those needs change. Because of this, every week our client meets with the Orri multi-disciplinary team to talk about how things are going under our care. If anything is not working, we try to understand why and what isn’t working and consider tweaking the programme accordingly.

How do you tackle food? 

When you first come to Orri, you’ll meet with our Dietitian and agree how many meals and snacks you’ll eat per day. From then on, every day upon arrival you’ll choose what you’d like to eat from a number of options (which accommodate different dietary requirements).  All food is lovingly prepared using the best seasonal ingredients and served by our Head Chef, Scott. He usually plates and serves the food himself and then is on hand to talk through any questions you may have about the meal. Scott is constantly on the lookout for inspiration for new dishes and is always happy to take requests, whether it’s a Thai green curry or a Tunnocks teacake. He is there to help our clients normalise their relationship with food and works closely with our Senior Dietitian, Paula, to ensure he is providing what they need.

What if I’m studying or working—will I have time for anything else?  

If you have work or college commitments that you can continue with, we will work with you to build your programme around them. We have a sitting room that is a non-therapeutic space for you to use, as well as WiFi throughout the building. The caveat to our flexibility is that, when you come to treatment, we believe you need to commit yourself to it. It’s not uncommon for sufferers to use their studies or work as a means of avoidance. Joining Orri’s programme is about making a commitment to your recovery and we will do our best to help you do just that.

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