Therapist taking notes with client

Assessment and Treatment

Through our eating concerns services, CAPS works in collaboration with other Health and Wellness Services units to provide assessment and treatment to students struggling with issues related to food, weight and body image, including mild to moderate eating disorders. 

Our team is multidisplinary in nature, which means that students can address psychological, medical and nutritional needs. Students taking or seeking psychotropic medication can meet with a psychiatric provider as well.


How to Access Services

At times, students with eating disorders may require a higher level of care than we can provide. In these instances we will facilitate a referral to a more appropriate care provider. Students covered by the CU Boulder Gold SHIP can find coverage information here.


FAQS

CU offers a multidisciplinary approach to eating disorder treatment that may include therapy, nutrition, and medical services if a student fits within our scope of care. It is often possible that a student may only be seen by nutrition or medical services at CU but referred off campus for therapy due to the increased demand at CAPS. CAPS also offers a workshop and several psychoeducational or skill building videos related to disordered eating and body image concerns which are also available virtually. These videos can be found on the CAPS webpage under the services tab and at the following link below:

https://www.colorado.edu/counseling/services/eating-disorders

Often, students are referred off campus when they do not fit within our scope of care and we are unable to treat a student at the level they may need. If a student has been evaluated and is not medically stable we always refer off campus to a higher level of care. Other factors that would indicate a student will be referred off campus is if they have active eating disorder behaviors that are not well controlled and could impact their ability to participate appropriately in a lower level of outpatient treatment provided by CU.

Students can find mental health providers in the community by utilizing Thriving Campus which is linked from the CAPS website by clicking “Community Referrals” at the bottom of the webpage. You can also access the Thriving Campus referral list by clicking the following link:

https://colorado.thrivingcampus.com/

If a student is still having trouble finding a provider in the community, CAPS can offer case management services to help facilitate a referral for the student.

While the CU Student Gold Ship insurance provides more flexibility in the amount of sessions students have the opportunity to utilize and more costs for medical care are covered, this does not automatically mean that a student is appropriate or can be treated by the CU Eating Disorder Team. Quite often, students that struggle with ED symptoms are not appropriate to be seen by CAPS for therapy because they need to be seen more frequently than CAPS can accommodate. CAPS works incredibly hard to connect students to the resources and level of care they need. If a student has trouble identifying and getting connected to a provider in the community, CAPS can offer case management services to help facilitate a referral for the student.

Typically, students that are recovered and maintaining their ED recovery without engaging in symptoms are appropriate for care at CAPS. Furthermore, students that struggle with thoughts/attitudes/beliefs related to disordered eating and body image but do NOT engage in any behaviors (restricting, purging or compensatory behaviors, binging) may be appropriate for care at CU. We are typically able to see students every 3 weeks to once per month for therapy so if a student needs more frequent therapy support than they will be referred off campus. If a student is uncertain about their needs, we encourage a student to complete a walk-in appointment and eating disorder screen to help determine the level of care they may need. Once the student completes a walk-in and ED screen appointment, we refer them to complete an ED initial medical appointment to help determine their medical stability and further inform our referral decision.

We have included a link from the National Eating Disorders Association of possible warning signs or symptoms that a person may be struggling with disordered eating, body image concerns, and/or an eating disorder. This list is not comprehensive or meant to be used as a checklist.

Change and transition often creates stress for many people and the transition to college is no exception for students. Following this major change, students may notice that old behaviors, patterns, thoughts, and urges can emerge related to body image and disordered eating. It is important to anticipate that this may happen or have a general plan in place if this does emerge for students. It is important to consider the following supports: regular therapy, nutritional support, and if needed medical support if behaviors are recurring. There are a number of additional supports that students can consider as well such as psychoeducation workshops that focus on cultivating skills to help manage general stress or anxiety as well as specific ED or body image related workshops (Please see CAPS website for current list of workshops).

Eating Concerns and Body Image Resources

Mindful Eating

This video can help you learn about some existing virtual and online resources that address concerns individuals may have surrounding their relationship with food and body image including national eating disorder organizations, virtual support groups, helpful hotlines, educational podcasts and more.

Watch: Mindful Eating video


Additional Resources