Our Approach

Our treatment approach focuses on physical and mental stabilisation.  Weight management and restoration is supported by an intensive therapeutic programme which includes working with families.

Patients have personalised meal plans prepared by our team of dieticians in partnership with the patient.  Home leave is incorporated in to the inpatient treatment programme to allow the practice of skills gained prior to discharge.

At Ellern Mede both the inpatient, outpatient and post discharge support includes psychological therapies for families and individuals, medical monitoring and regular psychiatric reviews to inform the treatment plan.  Nutritional rehabilitation is offered with specialist dietetic input which includes meal coaching and post meal support and skills and support groups for parents.

Therapies at Ellern Mede

Ellern Mede offers a range of both individual and group therapy from our multi-disciplinary team.  Each therapeutic approach is tailored to suit the needs of the patient and their individual stages of treatment.  Therapies include but are not limited to:

  • Family Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectic Behavioural Therapy
  • Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT)
  • Integrative Therapy
  • Psycho-education Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Integrative Psychotherapy

Parent Support

The Parent Support Group is an opportunity for parents to share experiences and strategies for improving communication and assessing domestic conditions for the return home.  Family involvement and group support are key in the recovery treatment process and our friendly professionals will work closely to help support you.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is an essential part of the treatment programmes at Ellern Mede hospitals as well as our outpatient services. Parents play a crucial role in supporting their child’s recovery, as well as in relapse prevention. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends family therapy as the treatment of choice for young people with anorexia. Family Therapy aims to enable families to explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s needs and support the young person to manage their eating disorder at home. Positive change is created in partnership with families by building on peoples’ strengths, experiences and resources and being sensitive to different family systems, cultures and beliefs. The family therapy team also runs a monthly group for parents, which offer psycho-education and support.  Our family based approaches have been evidenced as effective in clinical practice worldwide.


We provide group sessions and activities which support individual therapies. The Healthy Eating Group helps patients to understand the way the feel towards food, in particular the smell, taste, texture and appearance of food. The Therapy Kitchen and Dining Group is there for patients to plan, prepare, serve and eat with their families, this includes a trip to the local supermarket to help practice skills in readiness for discharge. The Social Eating Group takes those who are ready, to local eateries as part of gradual exposure to support with social eating experiences.

More groups explore and challenge the connections between low self-esteem and body image. These groups help create a more realistic perspective, improve behavioural communication and increase social skills. We offer Mindfulness, Over-exercise Group, Community Meetings and Future Focus to improve self-awareness and encourage realist expectations for planning ahead.


Activities are important for children and young people. When patients are ready and able, there is a wide choice of activities for them to enjoy as part of their treatment. This includes dance, games, movies, yoga, art, crafts and drama. Social outings such as trips to the cinema and local shops are all part of the treatment and education programme. Activities are offered in the evening and at weekends.

Young people at Ellern Mede are encouraged to continue their favourite hobbies and staff are on hand to accompany patients to use local amenities including stables and a pet farm. Patients with pet dogs can have their pets brought in by a parent to visit them.

Creative work is also part of the Ellern Mede school curriculum as well as part of the varied activity programmes we offer. Patient art is displayed in the Ellern Mede Gallery at the Ridgeway Hospital.

There is a great need in the UK for Family Therapy based eating disorder programmes. There is also a need for immediate access to care and effective discharge-focused treatment. We bring 18 years of expertise and know that recovery from an eating disorder requires specialist intensive treatment.”

Dr Hind Al Khairulla

NHS referrals

Ellern Mede has provided specialist Tier 4 eating disorder services to the NHS since 2000. We respond to referrals within 24 hours.

Private referrals

Call now for immediate access to Ellern Mede specialist private eating disorder services. Accepted referrals begin outpatient treatment within two weeks. Inpatient treatment is subject to bed availability.