Intensive Family Treatment (5-day program)

Upcoming Dates

November 26-30, 2018
December 10-14, 2018
January 28-February 1, 2019
February 25-March 1, 2019
March 25-29, 2019

Don’t see a date that works for you? We collaborate with UC San Diego, which holds a similar one-week intensive program.  You can see their dates here: 

Program Overview

Intensive Family Treatment for Eating Disorders (ED-IFT) is designed for families who do not have access to specialty eating disorders treatment in their local communities, whose affected child is not progressing well in treatment, who are stepping down from a higher level of care, or who would like more intensive therapy to bolster traditional outpatient treatment. This program provides adolescents and their families with an immersive and intensive dose of treatment that is specifically designed to bring about rapid symptom change by providing families with a deeper understanding of eating disorders, developing strategies necessary to navigate the recovery process, and equipping adolescents and their families with more effective coping strategies and skills. For more information, please call 415-514-1074.

The UCSF Eating Disorders Program is a leading center for the primary evidence-based treatment for anorexia nervosa—family-based treatment (FBT). Program Director, Dr. Daniel Le Grange, co-developed this treatment model, which serves as the theoretical foundation for ED-IFT. Dr. Le Grange is internationally renowned for pioneering FBT and at the forefront of clinical research on the treatment of adolescents with eating disorders. ED-IFT capitalizes on decades of clinical knowledge and cutting-edge research to provide adolescents and their families with a unique, intensive treatment program, which incorporates multiple modalities of treatment originally developed and refined at UCSD. The Intensive Family Therapy Program (IFT) was developed at the UC San Diego Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Center under the direction of Walter Kaye and in collaboration with Ivan Eisler, Roxie Rockwell, Stephanie Knatz-Peck, and ​colleagues. The program was originally developed in 2006 based on the family-based treatment model (FBT). UCSF team members Drs. Stuart Murray and Erin Accurso were involved in the development and running of this program during their training at UCSD. The program has undergone numerous evolutions based on expert input and groundbreaking advances in the field of adolescent eating disorders. The current program includes multiple modalities of treatment designed to bolster traditional FBT including psychoeducation, multifamily therapy, parent management training, in-vivo meal coaching, behavioral contracting, and adolescent coping skills. Several outcome studies have been published demonstrating efficacy.  ​

Program Structure

This five-day intensive program runs from Monday to Friday and involves approximately 40 hours of intensive treatment for adolescents and their families. ED-IFT is conducted in a multi-family format with up to six families participating at a time. The multifamily treatment format fosters family-to-family support, learning and a decreased sense of isolation that is not possible in traditional family therapy. Our multidisciplinary team includes psychological and medical experts in the field. Two primary psychologists lead the program, with involvement from other experts throughout the week who will also provide educational information to further families’ understanding of eating disorders and their treatment. Each day will consist of multifamily therapeutic interventions and activities, separate teen and parent groups, and multifamily meals and snacks. The two primary psychologists will provide coaching at meals and snacks, which is a critical part of the ED-IFT program. Families are expected to bring their own food for meals and snacks for the entire family, including breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack. Families residing within California who would benefit from continued outpatient treatment may also work with our team following ED-IFT.

Family Participation

All family members, including parents and other caregivers, as well as siblings, are expected to attend the entire ED-IFT program. Each family member plays a critical role in supporting the adolescent’s recovery, and we cannot effectively provide treatment if we are missing key members of your family. We recognize that siblings who are no longer living in the home (e.g., older sibling in college) may not always be able to attend but strongly encourage them to do so.

ED-IFT Outcomes

Data collected from our colleagues at the University of California, San Diego shows that intensive family treatment can be a very powerful intervention. This program is effective in reducing eating disorder symptoms, with long-term benefits being observed. A scientific study showed that the vast majority of patients (87%) had maintained full or partial recovery, even 2.5 years after treatment had been completed. This program also reduces the risk of hospitalization and treatment in higher levels of care.



Rockwell, R.E., Boutelle, K., Trunko, M. E., Jacobs, M. J., & Kaye, W. H. (2011). An innovative short-term, intensive, family-based treatment for adolescent anorexia nervosa: case series. European eating disorders review, 19(4), 362-367.

Knatz, S., Murray, S. B., Matheson, B., Boutelle, K. N., Rockwell, R., Eisler, I., & Kaye, W. H. (2015). A Brief, Intensive Application of Multi-Family-Based Treatment for Eating Disorders. Eating disorders, 23(4), 315-324.

Marzola, E., Knatz, S., Murray, S. B., Rockwell, R., Boutell, K., Eisler, I., & Kaye, W. H. (2015). Short-term intensive family therapy for adolescent eating disorders: 30-month outcome. European eating disorders review, 23(3), 210-218.