Choosing a treatment team for your child is a high pressure task because so much is riding on it. Time is of the essence; so while you should make sure to give the matter due diligence, try to make appointments and come to a decision as quickly as possible.
In general, there are two different options. One is to find a treatment center which has all of the treatment that your daughter will need in one place; dietician, therapist, psychiatrist, etc. The obvious and strong advantage to this is easy and open communication between the professionals who are treating your daughter and a multidisciplinary approach. The second option is find a dietician, a therapist, a psychiatrist, etc. and have them each treat your daughter separately. If you go with the separate approach, make sure that each treatment provider is willing to work together with the other members of your daughter’s treatment team. This requires more time and effort, but without collaboration I am not sure how effective the treatment can possibly be.
If you are going with the ”all in one place” approach, there are several options–kuppot cholim (health funds) have eating disorder clinics. Ask your pediatrician or family doctor about referring you to one of these clinics. Generally, the patient sees a dietician and a therapist once a week and the parents are mandated to see a different therapist once a week. There is a psychiatrist who works there as well if meds are needed. The therapists talk to each other and relay information back and forth, but in my experience, there is no family based approach and the parents are kept out of the loop to a large degree. Some hospitals have outpatient programs which are similar in structure and function to the kuppot cholim and some hospitals have day programs where the kids come after school and stay for the afternoon. There are supervised meals and each child has a treatment team (therapist, dietician, psychiatrist), though from what I understand they do not get treatment every day. The supervised eating is helpful for working parents. I know that you have to pay a small fee for treatment through the kuppat holim eating disorders clinic but it’s not a lot of money, especially compared to private treatment. I am not sure about whether there is any payment involved through the hospital day centers; but if there is, it’s probably nominal.
If your daughter needs more intensive treatment than what the health care system can offer you, private treatment may be necessary. Shahaf in Tel Aviv is an amazing treatment center and offers a true multidisciplinary approach with a multitude of therapy options (psychotherapy, art therapy, family therapy, psychodrama, etc.). It’s super expensive, but the treatment is exceptional in every way.
You need to take into consideration the degree of your daughter’s illness. Once a week outpatient treatment works for girls who are diagnosed before the eating disorder has the opportunity to take hold; when the illness is easier to manage. Hospital day centers provide more extensive care, but take into account that they are not eating disorder specific and your daughter will be hanging out with kids who have various mental issues. They are all receiving treatment, and many of these kids are extremely nice, but it’s a consideration. It’s a supervised place to hang out and there is a staff to supervise mealtimes, but it’s not a treatment center in that there is a ton of treatment. If your daughter is severely restricting and has developed a more militant attachment to her eating disorder, you may need more intensive, private treatment.
If you have specific questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.