Unveiling Thrive Sacramento’s Eating Disorder IOP+ With Added Meal Support: A Q&A With Thrive Sacramento’s Clinical Director Gillian “Gillie” Francis, LCSW

Unveiling Thrive Sacramento’s Eating Disorder IOP+ With Added Meal Support: A Q&A With Thrive Sacramento’s Clinical Director Gillian “Gillie” Francis, LCSW

Who is Thrive Sacramento’s eating disorder IOP+ intended for?

Many individuals struggling with eating disorders would prefer to recover without spending the majority of their time at a treatment center. Oftentimes, however, they may require additional support in order to meet that end. 

Traditionally, eating disorder patients who need clinical guidance during meals would attend a partial hospitalization program (PHP). PHPs are typically structured in a way that obligates patients to spend most of their time each day at the treatment center. For some individuals, a PHP is appropriate and may even be necessary. But, for many individuals who have other high-priority commitments in their lives as well as a strong support network of loved ones, a PHP may not be the best fit. 

Thrive Sacramento’s Intensive Outpatient Program + (IOP+) allows adults with eating disorders to attend to their work, school, and family responsibilities while receiving treatment. The program also empowers their family members, friends, and partners or spouses to collaborate on their recovery. By combining the beneficial therapeutic components of an IOP with the meal support typical of a PHP, Thrive Sacramento’s IOP+ is intentionally tailored to these individuals. 

What’s the plus in Thrive’s IOP+? 

Because eating disorder IOPs generally require less of a time commitment from patients, IOP patients commonly experience meals without guidance from their treatment team. To address this shortcoming, we’ve included in-person and virtual clinician-guided meal support in our IOP+, represented by the plus sign in the program’s name. 

During the IOP+, Thrive Sacramento’s team of eating disorder treatment specialists works with patients to meet their personal need for meal support without disrupting their lives outside of treatment. IOP+ patients have access to meal support during breakfast, lunch, and dinner in order to help them remain accountable for nourishing themselves while also working towards their treatment goals. 

Thrive Sacramento also provides each patient’s support system with tools, information, and education to collaboratively care for their loved one at home. In doing so, our team aims to create long-lasting solutions for our patients as they pave their path to recovery. 

Can you explain what led Thrive Sacramento to create its eating disorder IOP+?

At Thrive Sacramento, our eating disorder treatment is informed by the family-based treatment (FBT) modality, which emphasizes nutritional rehabilitation while training patients and their collaborative care partners on how to prepare for sustained recovery. We know first-hand that this approach works for patients of all ages, but we also understand that having many obligations can make attending treatment difficult for adults. With the IOP+, Thrive Sacramento sought to create a treatment program that doesn’t disrupt patients’ daily lives, while offering thoughtful, collaborative care and added support during mealtimes.

How does additional meal support benefit those recovering from eating disorders?

Meal support is a therapeutic and dietary intervention intended to assist individuals with modifying their disordered eating behaviors by directly exposing them to eating experiences. While there are several different types of meal support within the eating disorder treatment space, Thrive Sacramento’s IOP+ melds intuitive eating, mindful eating, and structured behavioral modification. 

Many eating disorder treatment programs stress meal support only at higher levels of care as a way of renourishing patients so they are ready to address the psychological aspects of their condition. While meal support is absolutely necessary at higher levels of care, at Thrive Sacramento we’ve seen that meal support can also be implemented at lower levels of care as a preventative measure that allows individuals to recover at home. 

How does Thrive Sacramento’s IOP+ fit into patients’ everyday lives? 

Our IOP+ meets afternoons and evenings Monday through Thursday each week. While attending treatment, patients have access to in-person meal support during dinner. In the mornings and midday, when patients aren’t at the treatment center, they’re able to eat breakfast and lunch with virtual guidance from their treatment team. The additional virtual meal support transcends the limitations of a traditional IOP, while allowing patients to integrate their eating disorder recovery into their own lifestyles. 

Can individuals living outside of the Sacramento region participate in the program?

Yes. For those living outside of the Sacramento region, we offer the option to participate in our IOP+ virtually.

Learn more about Thrive Sacramento’s IOP+  and reach out to seek support.

About Thrive Sacramento’s Clinical Director Gillian “Gillie” Francis, LCSW

Gillie Francis received her master’s degree in social work at the University of Nevada and is a fully licensed LCSW in both Nevada and California. Her experience spans a variety of settings and levels of care including inpatient, residential, and outpatient and crisis services. Gillie has experience working with adults and adolescents with severe mental illness, eating disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, suicidal ideation, personality disorders and other co-occurring disorders. Gillian is passionate about honoring each individual’s journey and utilizes approaches that emphasize empowerment with patients. Approaching her work with integrated modalities, she works with individuals to find their voice and engage in pivoting towards their values. She believes that each individual has the capacity for meaningful change in their lives. When she is not working with patients, she enjoys time outdoors with her spouse and dog, Charlie.