Austin Sendero Residential Eating Disorder Facility Celebrates Grand Opening

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Specialized eating disorder treatment program for males and females ages 17 and older hosts grand opening celebration later this month.

When treated with respect, compassion, and understanding, they begin to confront their deepest challenges. In the process, they find out not only who they are but also what life free from eating disorders has to offer.

Austin Sendero, a new residential eating disorder facility, opened its doors to patients and their families earlier this year, and is celebrating with a Grand Opening event on September 17th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Located on a 25-acre estate in the serene countryside just outside Austin, Texas, Austin Sendero provides 24-hour care to both males and females ages 17 and older who struggle with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other forms of disordered eating.

Attendees of the grand opening gala will enjoy presentations by three nationally recognized speakers. The first, Craig Johnson, Ph.D., CEDS, a leader in the field of eating disorders for over 27 years and author of three books, was the Founding Editor of the International Journal of Eating Disorders and is also Past President of the National Eating Disorders Association.

The second, Leigh Cohn, MAT, CEDS, co-authored the first book on bulimia in 1980 and many other popular books on eating disorders including Making Weight: Men's Conflict with Food, Weight, Shape & Appearance, and is Editor-in-Chief of Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. The third featured speaker, Barry Karlin, Ph.D., co-founded CRC Health Group, Austin Sendero's parent company, in 1995 and currently serves as its Chairman and CEO.

In a rustic, private setting, patients at Austin Sendero set out on their personal path to recovery. Residents live in a 6,000 square foot home, complete with a swimming pool, hot tub, and fitness room with access to an exercise specialist. As part of a structured schedule seven days a week, patients focus on journaling, fitness, interpersonal process groups, personal time, nutrition education, body image workshops, spirituality groups, and relapse prevention groups.

At Austin Sendero, patients participate in both single-gender groups and mixed-gender groups, which help patients to recognize that both men and women struggle with disordered eating and body image issues. Brad Kennington, MA, LMFT, LPC, executive director of Austin Sendero, and the staff respect the unique differences men and women have in developing an eating disorder.

"Because eating disorders are often labeled a 'female problem,' the male population has been grossly underserved and under-treated in the past," says Kennington. "By treating both males and females in a gender-neutral environment, we help our patients work through the complexities of relationships and develop social skills for appropriately relating to themselves and others, while receiving individualized treatment for their eating disorders."

A highly trained team of eating disorder specialists, consisting of a psychiatrist, registered nurse, staff therapist, and dietitian and exercise specialist, creates a treatment plan unique to each patient's eating disorder and history. Using educational courses and ongoing medical assessments, dialectical behavioral therapy, expressive art therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, and insight-oriented experiential therapies, the staff works to increase patients' awareness of their disorders and healthier ways of relating to others.

"We believe that when patients are given the opportunity to re-connect with themselves and those around them, they are able to develop an identity separate from the eating disorder," says Dana Bevill MS, LPC, the clinical director at Austin Sendero. "When treated with respect, compassion, and understanding, they begin to confront their deepest challenges. In the process, they find out not only who they are but also what life free from eating disorders has to offer."

Healthy living, which includes balanced nutrition and appropriate exercise, in addition to individual and group therapy, is a primary focus at Austin Sendero. The program's onsite dietician creates a meal plan with each patient, teaches educational sessions about choosing the right foods, and coordinates opportunities to participate in grocery shopping, restaurant outings, and food preparation. The program also teaches the value of moderate, healthy exercise through Pilates and yoga and a weekly excursion to a local gymnasium.

In order to help build a broader support system, Austin Sendero's eating disorder program provides family therapy, and works with loved ones and/or significant others to create a comprehensive discharge plan. To ensure continued success, the facility also offers a transition program and continuing care.

Austin Sendero's grand opening coincides with the kick-off of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) conference in Austin. NEDA is a non-profit organization dedicated to individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Held from September 18 to 20, the conference is designed to address the needs of families and provide updates for treatment providers and educators.

It is estimated that roughly 11 million people in the United States are suffering from an eating disorder, yet only one in 10 will receive the treatment they need. Because eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, treatment facilities like Austin Sendero are in high demand nationwide. A 2007 study from Harvard University shows that nearly one in four eating disorders occurs in males. That is almost a 60 percent increase from previous reports, which Austin Sendero is addressing with its co-ed treatment facility.

"Austin Sendero was created with a vision to provide the finest care to the millions of males and females suffering from these life-threatening disorders," says Kennington. "Our team is passionate about the work we do, and each and every one of us looks forward to improving the health and well-being of the individuals we serve."

Austin Sendero is a residential treatment facility customized to care for males and females, ages 17 and up, who suffer from anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorders. Located in the beautiful countryside of Texas, the staff of eating disorder specialists at Austin Sendero aims to bring healthy living and healing to adults and adolescents suffering from eating disorders.

Austin Sendero is a proud member of CRC Health Group, the nation's largest chemical dependency and related behavioral health organization. For more information about CRC Health, visit http://www.crchealth.com or call (877) 637-6237. For more information about Austin Sendero and eating disorder treatment for men and women, please call (866) 549-5031 or visit http://www.austinsendero.com.

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