An Interview with The Emily Program’s South Sound Site Director


Stacy Schilter Pisano is the Site Director at The Emily Program’s South Sound location in Lacey, Washington.

TEP: What programs does The Emily Program’s South Sound location offer?

Stacy: The Emily Program’s South Sound location offers multiple levels of care to individuals struggling with a variety of eating concerns. The most intensive level of care is our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), which is a multi-diagnostic program offering services 35 hours per week.This level of care is best suited for individuals who engage in eating disorder symptom use daily or multiple times weekly and have difficulty intervening on their symptom use independently.The alternative intensive level of care is our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), offering services up to 12 hours per week. This level of care is designed for individuals whose eating disorder or body image concerns are interfering with various life domains, including emotional and relational health. Both IOP and PHP services include therapeutic groups, gentle yoga, supported meals/snacks, individual therapy, nutrition counseling and psychiatry.  The South Sound location also provides outpatient services to individuals stepping down from higher levels of care or to individuals who are hesitant to enter a higher level of care.

TEP: Tell us about South Sound’s Binge Eating Disorder program.

Stacy: In South Sound, The Emily Programs offers a separate IOP program to individuals living with Binge Eating Disorder. Modeled on “Health at Every Size” and “Intuitive Eating” principles, this program is designed to support people who are striving to eliminate binge eating behaviors and increase overall participation in life. Mealtime challenges are individualized and tailored to meet the needs of this population and participants acquire skills for communicating effectively, setting appropriate boundaries and coping with challenging experiences. Individuals who participate in this program develop an understanding of their personal relationship with food and often experience an increase in body confidence or acceptance. The majority of program participants experience a decrease in binge eating, increased freedom in their relationship with food and improved self-image and body esteem. 

TEP: Can you talk about South Sound’s Intensive Outpatient Program?

Stacy: Along with our PHP program and stand-alone Binge Eating Disorder IOP, South Sound offers a day IOP and an evening IOP to individuals who need additional support in their recovery. This program is scheduled 12 hours per week and includes therapeutic meals facilitated by a dietitian and therapist. As with our other programs, groups offered include, but are not limited to: experiential groups, goals group, nutrition education, food exploration, CBT and DBT groups, process group and weekend planning.  Within these groups, participants are able to speak openly about their experiences and challenges while experiencing the support of their peers and professionals who are specially trained to treat eating disorders. Gentle yoga is also offered at least once per week by a certified yoga instructor for purposes of reconnecting with one’s body. Further assisting in the recovery process is a twice monthly friends and family group, where loved ones/support people are educated about effective support strategies and variables that contribute to, or maintain, an eating disorder.

TEP: Who’s a good fit for these programs?

Stacy: A wide variety of individuals benefit from The Emily Program’s services, including people of all ages who identify as any gender and who have diverse ethnic backgrounds or sexual orientations. The common variable present in people seeking services at The Emily Program is a struggle with disordered eating, ranging from restrictive tendencies to binge eating and/or purging calories consumed through identifiable undoing behaviors. In South Sound, our higher levels of care (PHP, IOP) are offered to individuals over the age of 18, with Outpatient Services and Family-Based Treatment for those younger than 18 years of age. Staff members observe the most progress in people who understand the problematic nature of their eating behaviors or body image concerns and who are motivated to live life free of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.

TEP: Why would you recommend The Emily Program?

Stacy: The Emily Program provides a compassionate, encouraging, supportive and effective environment to people who have sought answers to their body image distress or eating concerns through dieting, surgical options and independent efforts. Our food philosophy allows clients to dispel often-held beliefs about eating, weight and overall health, thereby increasing freedom and personal empowerment.  The Emily Program offers research-based treatment options that can be challenging to find elsewhere.

TEP: Why do you think clients find success at The Emily Program?

Stacy: What clients have the opportunity to learn at The Emily Program is often the foundation of their success in recovery.  The expertise of staff members and the healing environment in which services are offered allow for holistic change.

If you or a patient need help for an eating disorder, contact us at 1-888-645-5323 or fill out our web form.

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