Care for children and teenagers with eating disorders

At Melrose Center, we provide the specialized care needed to treat eating disorders in children and adolescents so they can grow into healthy, confident adults. Our team of licensed psychologists, medical doctors, dietitians and other specialists work closely with you and your child to create a personalized treatment plan based on their needs. With over 30 years of experience successfully treating eating disorders in patients of all ages, we provide the expertise your family needs through recovery and beyond.

Children need different treatment for eating disorders than adults. They need the support of the entire family as they heal, gain confidence and learn new skills around food an exercise. Our goal is to keep your child at home and give them the treatment they need through outpatient care. But in some situations, we may recommend that your child stay at Melrose Center for residential treatment. Our specialized outpatient treatment options include:

Family based therapy (FBT)

Family based therapy, sometimes called FBT, is one of the most successful ways to treat young adults with eating disorders. In FBT, everyone in the family has a role in your child’s treatment and recovery. We might recommend family meals, family therapy sessions and other activities to help your child recover.

There are three phases of family based therapy:

  • Weight restoration – The goal of the first phase is to get your child back to a healthy weight. During this phase, the parents or guardians are in total control of every meal and snack. Many parents make meals family events so everyone can support the child during mealtime.
  • Return of control – Once your child returns to a healthy weight and actively participates in meals, you’ll slowly let them have more control over their meals and snacks.
  • Establishing independence – This is the final phase of FBT which focuses on improving your child’s relationship with food and their independence. You’ll work with doctors to establish a routine and help your child catch up to developmental milestones.
Family Learning Day

We offer full-day sessions where your family will join us at Melrose Center to help your child develop healthy habits around food and learn practical life skills to use at home. You’ll learn alongside other families going through the same thing so you can build a community of support. All meals and snacks are included during the session and will be supported by our team of specialized Melrose staff.

We encourage you to include the entire family. Siblings 12 years old and older are welcome to join.

Sessions are offered throughout the year at our St. Louis Park and St. Paul locations.

Family learning series

Our family learning series is a weekly group session where you and your child can learn more about managing anxiety, developing routines, improving communication, strengthening your relationships and much more. A licensed therapist leads each session. You and other families will listen to each other, learn from your experiences and support each other along the way.

This group is open to adults and siblings who are 12 years old and older. Dinner is included along with guidance and support from Melrose Center staff.

Sessions are two hours long and take place on Thursdays at 5 p.m. at our St. Louis Park location. You’ll attend weekly sessions for four weeks.

Parents and Supportive Others Group
Helping someone you love recover from an eating disorder can feel frustrating, sad or even scary. Melrose Center offers a weekly group for adults who have a child, grandchild, partner or friend healing from an eating disorder.
This group is a safe and confidential place where a licensed psychologist will help you understand your emotions and learn how to cope during this stressful time. You’ll also meet a community of other adults going through the same things who can help you feel understood and supported.
Thanks to the support of the Park Nicollet Foundation, this group is free to join. Weekly sessions are held at our St. Louis Park location every Thursday at 7 p.m.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

If you’re concerned that your child has an eating disorder, the first step is to talk to them about their symptoms. Try starting the conversation with “I’m worried about your eating or activity level.” Listen to them carefully and make sure to avoid giving your opinion on their weight, physical appearance or eating habits. Then, gently let them know that you’re going to schedule an appointment for them to talk to a specialist about what they’re feeling.

To schedule an initial appointment, please call 952-993-6200. During the appointment, your child will talk about their eating habits and emotions with one of our primary care clinicians. We’ll also ask their parents or guardians for some information about behavior changes, medical history and other questions. At the end of this appointment, we’ll be able to diagnose if your child has an eating disorder and get them started on the first steps toward recovery.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.

Our onsite financial counselors can work with you to confirm your insurance coverage at Melrose Center. You can speak to one of our dedicated financial counselors by calling 952-993-3453.