You’re worried about your loved one, and are now in the difficult position of trying to find treatment that works, is affordable, and fits into your family’s schedule. We’ve done our best to answers families’ most frequent questions—we want you to be informed and confident in your choice. If you still have questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
- We already have a therapist—can we just be given a peer mentor and a dietitian?
No, every family gets assigned a full team. Every family gets a dedicated 5-person Equip team: a therapist, a dietitian, a medical provider, a peer mentor and a family mentor. These teams train together, meet weekly to discuss their patients, and deliver care together, as a team. During the first four weeks, you meet with each provider at least once per week. Afterwards, you can determine the frequency that you meet with providers (for example, some people see their therapist twice a week and their dietitian only twice a month). Tell your therapist about Equip (email@example.com) to see if they’d like to join our team.
- Online treatment versus in-person treatment—which should I choose?
We started Equip one year before the emergence of COVID; we were always built to be a 100% online treatment option because we’ve always believed that treatment should fit your schedule, instead of families rearranging their lives to fit treatment. In-person treatment can be great—and we’ve also heard from hundreds of families that it’s nearly impossible to find a team of qualified eating disorder providers in their community. Equip gives you a multidisciplinary 5-person team who delivers coordinated care and shares a unified medical record. We also prefer online treatment because it’s easier to “bring your village.” Many of our families have multiple carers: dads and moms, step-parents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and best friends—all collaborating to help someone recover from an eating disorder. It’s impossible to coordinate the schedules of four adults to drive to an in-person appointment on a Tuesday at 2pm—but if you can join from your phone, it gets easier to bring that village together.
- Does Equip provide Family Based Treatment (FBT)?
Family Based Treatment (FBT) is the most effective treatment for children, adolescents, and young adults with eating disorders. In FBT, family is tasked with helping their loved one recover through planning, plating, and supervising meals. Even though research has shown that traditional FBT works more often than other treatment, at least 30% of people still need additional care to recover. We talked with thousands of families—people who loved traditional FBT and those who hated it, to figure out how to deliver treatment that works for everyone.
Equip Treatment has been described as “FBT ++” or “Super-charged FBT.” All of our providers are trained in FBT as a foundation, but there are many things that make Equip Treatment different than traditional FBT.
- Traditional FBT is delivered by one person, typically a family therapist. Equip Treatment is delivered by a 5-person care team.
- Traditional FBT doesn’t utilize mentors. Equip gives all patients a peer mentor (someone who has recovered from an eating disorder) and gives all families a family mentor (someone who has helped their loved one through an eating disorder). The mentors provide emotional support, enhance motivation, model and teach skills, and offer practical advice.
- Equip Treatment is more hands-on than FBT—we provide menus, teach skills, and give actionable advice on how to recover.
- Lastly, Equip is adaptable and tailored to your family. Your therapist, dietitian, medical provider, and mentors will work with you in a way that fits you and your family. Notable, virtual visits allow you to “bring your whole village” to treatment - including aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc.
- Who are Equip providers and how are they trained?
Equip’s providers are all employees who have been licensed as required by their states, trained by Equip, and receive weekly supervision and ongoing training with Equip. If you or someone you know is interested in being a provider with Equip, have them send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can I pay for Equip without insurance? Do you have a sliding-scale?
It is Equip’s mission that everyone have access to affordable, effective eating disorder treatment. In line with that mission, we are pursuing in-network contracts with all commercial insurers, in addition to government-funded plans including Tricare, Medicaid, and Medicare. It will take several years before we are in-network with all plans, thus we are considering a cash-pay option for families that wish to start care with Equip before their plan is in-network.
- Is there an age limit for Equip?
Right now, Equip is treating children (as young as 6 years old), teens, and young adults into their early 20’s. Young adults must be living with parents/guardians when they start treatment with Equip. In the future, we intend to expand treatment to all ages.
- What types of eating disorders do you treat?
Equip provides treatment to people with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, ARFID, and atypical eating disorders. Eating disorders rarely occur in isolation, and many of our patients also struggle with anxiety, depression, substance use, and trauma. Equip treats all diagnoses simultaneously, helping people to achieve full health and recovery.
- Does virtual treatment work?
Research is showing that it’s less important how treatment is delivered, and more important what is delivered. Several evidence-based treatments, such as FBT and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), have been found to be just as effective virtually as they are in-person.
- What are the benefits of keeping my child at home, versus sending them to a residential treatment facility?
Despite 30+ years of residential centers treating eating disorders, there’s no data to suggest they provide sustained recovery—and evidence keeps emerging that they may be harmful to children, adolescents, and young adults. Our founder, who spoke from experience, said it best: when you leave your life to go to a residential facility, you start identifying with being a patient, instead of building a life you actually want to return to. Going to treatment is easy, getting better in the real world is the hard work of recovery. By providing unlimited sessions and between-session messaging, Equip is there after basketball practice, during school elections, before your theater tryouts, and in the middle of finals week. Keeping adolescents IN their lives, helps them move out of their eating disorders.
- Why does Equip include family therapy? Can we skip family therapy and just have the other services?
Put simply—recovery is hard, and most patients are very conflicted about recovery. For some people, their eating disorder provides some comfort. For others, their brains have been wired for behaviors that support eating disorders (e.g., perfectionism)—and their brain doesn’t have a switch they can just ‘turn off’. Many eating disorder symptoms are actually symptoms of starvation—and so restoring nutrition ends up preceding wanting to renourish. Lastly, eating disorders are reinforced by some of the most destructive aspects of our society. These reasons, and many more, are why it takes a village to recover, and why family therapy is an important part of recovery.
- Should my child do individual therapy or family therapy?
Equip thinks you need both! Equip’s individual therapy teaches patients skills and provides them with a peer mentor who models recovery and offers motivation. Equip’s family therapy helps the entire family get on the same page to fight the eating disorder, and prevent relapse. Additionally, parents or other caregivers have their own sessions, without their child, to learn skills and be supported in the hard journey of helping your child recover.
- What if I’ve tried FBT before and it hasn’t worked?
We invite you to try Equip Treatment. Many of our Equip families have also done Family Based Treatment (FBT) before trying Equip and they too thought FBT wasn’t a fit for their family. They found that Equip gave them the extra support they needed, including family and peer mentorship, dietary sessions, and skill building, for their child to finally recover.
- What treatment does Equip provide?
Equip provides medical, psychiatric, dietary, therapeutic, and practical support for eating disorders and co-occuring illnesses such as PTSD, anxiety, substance use, and mood disorders. Medical services, overseen by a pediatrician and a psychiatrist, include monitoring medical stability and managing medications. Dietary services include nutrition prescriptions, meal planning, and reintroduction of feared foods. Therapeutic services include individual, family, and group therapy. Emotional and practical support include peer and family mentorship, meal coaching, between-session messaging with all providers, and a team of clinicians that are all on the same page and dedicated to your family.