Navigating College After Treatment: Part Three


Manager of Aftercare Planning Katherine Swain McClayton, MPH provides her tips for the college age student returning home during the holiday breaks. This can be an enjoyable and challenging time, and we hope you find these tips helpful. Whether returning home, spending time with loved ones and friends, or remaining at school, it is always important to take care of oneself.

1. Add structure to your day, then add a little more. Print out a copy of a weekly schedule and plug in your classes, meals and snacks, study time, activities, down time, and see if there are any openings when you should plan something before it comes up. Do this at school AND at home during breaks.

2. Have a plan for your appointments when home on break. See if your providers will Skype or complete a phone session. Or, ask a clinician at home to schedule a few gap sessions. Allow all clinicians to communicate to provide the best care.

3. Carefully consider sharing that you were in treatment with a friend at home and at school. The culture and world we live in is challenging for eating disorder recovery – a seemingly harmless comment can be quite triggering. Having someone “in your corner” can be helpful and make one feel less isolated.

4. Join a mental health advocacy/awareness group. This could be eating-disorder specific or a broader based group. Helping people find mental health resources, on campus or otherwise, is a powerful way to use your recovery experience to help the lives of others and yourself.

5. Be mindful of weekends. Create a plan for times when too much downtime can be overwhelming. Call a friend to meet you for a snack, plan to go see a movie, etc.

6. Engage in family therapy. One foot in adulthood and one foot in childhood is the college experience for many. Find a way to explore changing dynamics and create avenues for healthy communication between you and your family at school and at home, so it does not seep into valued family time at breaks.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please join us for a presentation at the Integrative Life Center’s First Wednesday Breakfast Series on December 4 in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, please contact our Southeast Regional Outreach Manager, Colleen Stephens, at or 704-431-2712.