Seven years ago, Walden Behavioral Care LLC opened its first satellite facility in Northampton, Mass.. Walden Behavioral Care provides inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment for eating disorders.
Now there are five satellite facilities, two more planned openings this year and a move by the Northampton clinic to nearby Amherst. The relocation to 100 University Drive., Amherst, provides convenience, better parking, 70 percent more space and a warmer, friendlier atmosphere. This new clinic opened for business in mid-May, has nine staff and is currently serving around 20 clients.
“We had really outgrown our previous space,” said Program Director Angela Rowan, LICSW. “We didn’t always have room for meeting with a client immediately when we needed one. We now have additional offices so staff members are more available for individual meetings.”
In addition, the new facility has been able to expand services, including more evening programs and an intensive outpatient program for adolescent eating disorders. Part-time hospitalization (no overnight) is also available.
Full-time hospitalization and 24-hour care are available at the main facility in Waltham, Mass.
“Our IOP for adolescents is a family therapy-based program three evenings a week and it allows adolescents to access treatment and still stay in school,” Rowan said. “We have multiple kitchens that go into dining rooms where patients eat with their families. It’s an important part of the clinical experience.”
With the stress of being away from home for the first time, it is not uncommon for college students to develop eating disorders.
“We expect that this will be a lot more convenient to the college crowd,” said Walden Behavioral Care CEO Stuart Koman, Ph.D. “It’s a short walk from UMass and close enough for Amherst students. We are also going to offer more outpatient services, which previously we weren’t able to do. We didn’t have the room.”
The facility itself is a more cheerful, welcoming place. “It’s a more therapeutic space,” said Rowan. “We now have big sunny windows and space outside where we can run groups. There are nice areas out on the lawn and picnic tables.”
Walden Amherst is in the process of hiring more staff and making further additions to program offerings. It will remain affiliated with Cooley-Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, which provides emergency medical treatment when needed.
“This is our seventh clinic,” noted Koman. “We’ve learned a lot about how to do these and set them up.”
By Howard Newman