group of women talking

Our approach

At The Emily Program, we approach our work in eating disorder awareness, treatment, and lifetime recovery with:

Passion for what we do

Integrity in how we do it

Respect for those we serve

Service delivered in the way that works best for our clients

Evidence-based treatment, personalized care

At The Emily Program, we combine our evidence-based treatment with personalized integrative interventions. We’ve found that effective eating disorder treatment requires awareness of the genetic, biological, psychological, social, and cultural impacts on each client.

We respond to the whole person at The Emily Program, utilizing a multidisciplinary team of experts such as therapists, dietitians, and medical staff. Interventions could include:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Family-based therapy (FBT) for adolescents
  • Nutrition assessment and therapy
  • Medical and psychiatry services
  • Yoga, art, meditation, and mindfulness therapy
  • Exposure to a variety of food-related experiences, including supervised meals/snacks, meal planning, cooking, shopping, and dining out
  • Co-occurring substance use disorder services
  • LGBTQ or other sexuality support
  • Trauma recovery support

Clinical philosophy

Given the diversity of eating disorder behaviors, clinical presentations, and individual and family needs, we have a robust and diverse evidence-informed basis for treatment. Our programs are designed by people with a deep understanding of eating disorders and our care decisions are based on respect for each person and their personal journey. Treatment is informed by research, community standards, and sound clinical judgment. Across the board, our programs address changing core ED behaviors and beliefs, emotional regulation and management, nutritional and health rehabilitation, and building recovery skills. We are also constantly evaluating new approaches that may benefit some or all of our clients.  We recognize that no one approach is optimal for all clients.

We treat people with all eating disorders, of all ages and genders, at four primary levels of care: outpatient individual and group services (OP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Intensive Day Treatment (IDP)/Partial (PHP), and Residential/Inpatient. Services include individual, family, couples, and group sessions.

Our interventions are based on five primary content areas currently shown to be effective and impactful in the treatment of eating disorders. The research on eating disorders and the standard of care in the field consistently support focus on these core content areas: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills, Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, Nutrition Education and Exposure, Eating Disorder Psychoeducation, and Family Support via Family-Based Treatment (FBT) principles.

CBT-based interventions focus on recovery-promoting skill development, while DBT based interventions focus on emotion regulation and management skill development. Both include a focus on creating a life worth living. FBT principles are adapted for all ages, while more traditional FBT is utilized for younger adolescents and their families. We also focus on nutritional restoration and exposure to restore health and develop skills to adequately nourish oneself in a whole host of situations, as well as anxiety management and mindfulness skill development with yoga interventions and art therapy. Treatment in all levels of care is trauma-informed and incorporates co-occurring substance use screening, with assessment and intervention service delivery, as indicated. Psychiatric and medical management services assess and address related and co-occurring conditions.

While the degree of complexity of content in each area may vary based on the level of care, these are the core elements of our program foundation and lay the groundwork for consistency and quality care across TEP.  Together, these content areas form the core of treatment at The Emily Program so that we may optimally promote recovery for clients and families.


Food & nutrition philosophy

At The Emily Program, we endorse the inclusiveness of all foods and value the absence of food judgment. We can accommodate most dietary restrictions, and utilize the expertise of our Registered Dietitians to facilitate the origins of an individual’s dietary preferences. We understand the complex role food plays and the diverse eating situations life presents. As such, we aim to provide nutrition and food-related experiences, education, counsel, and skills that enable an individual’s journey to a more mindful, flexible, balanced, autonomous, and sustainable relationship with food. We acknowledge the varying nutritional profiles of food; the individualized nutritional need of each person; and the unique food experience each person has. We strive to promote the greatest level of individualization and personal choice possible in order to appropriately nourish one’s body and enhance quality of life. We understand this may look different throughout recovery, and will ultimately provide a sense of freedom and true choice in finding ways to purchase, prepare and consume food.


Activity philosophy

We believe movement is important. Movement helps increase connection with the body through movement. Yoga and gentle walking are encouraged and taught. Movement interventions support the goals of clients experiencing and practicing leisure activities and teach movement without compulsion. Nutritional intake must support the level of movement. When weight restoration is necessary or clients have a history of compulsive exercise/movement, we support gentle movement and may limit opportunities to engage in movement that would contribute to weight loss or medical instability. We focus on integrating movement that fits for each person, with their recovery goals in mind.


Commitment to quality care and positive outcomes

“How do I know this will work for me?”

This is a common question we hear from individuals and families deciding whether to pursue eating disorder treatment. Eating disorders are complex, multidimensional illnesses.  That’s why we consider several factors to assess outcomes, taking each individual’s situation into account when establishing benchmarks for success.

We personalize treatment with the goal of eliminating eating disorder symptoms and helping our clients develop a sense of peace and the ability to manage emotions, eating, and health in a constructive manner. We believe that eating and health stabilization are the first step in recovery, followed by education and training on using new skills to manage thoughts and behaviors and regulate emotions. We believe these skills are developed through learning, exposure, practice, and support. We also believe recovery may involve a personal community redesign of social support.

 See this infographic for more information on outcomes.


Advancing eating disorder care and awareness

Our professional staff has extensive experience in treating and studying anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, compulsive overeating, other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED), and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). In addition to one-to-one and group care services, we actively partner in research projects, collaborating with the University of Minnesota, Argosy University, University of St. Thomas, Mayo Clinic, Hennepin County, and others.

Several staff members also have a personal experience with recovery, and their work often extends beyond caring for clients. Many are involved with prevention efforts that promote awareness of eating disorder causes and effects on families and our communities. We truly care.

“We think like people with eating disorders think,” says our Executive Chairman and Founder, Dirk Miller, PhD, LP. “We are our clients. We know the changes people need to make to live through an eating disorder’s destructive patterns of thoughts and feelings. We know how to restore people to whole and happy lives.”

Recommended links

Recommended links

Your leadership team

Comprised of nationally recognized researchers and caring therapists, the leadership team at The Emily Program ensures we provide the best care for eating disorders. Meet the team.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Emily Program is here to answer any questions you have about eating disorders and the recovery journey. We want to help. Read the FAQ now.

The Emily Program Logo