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Posted April 15, 2003 

Avalon Hills
Petersboro, Utah
Benita Quakenbush-Roberts, PhD – Clinical Director

Avalon Hills is a residential treatment program for preteen and adolescent females with eating disorders and co-morbid mental health issues. Recently opened in March 2003, this innovative program is small and highly individualized with a total of 12 beds. Located on 11 acres that are surrounded by mountains, it has a 6700 square foot home designed to look like a castle in hopes that every girl who participates in the program will feel like the princesses that they are. It is licensed as a residential treatment center by the Utah Department of Human Services, and is a member of National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).

The “core philosophy” of the Avalon Hills program originates from thesis and doctoral research (Quakenbush, Stein & Doty, 1996; 1998), which focuses on the factors that facilitated the recovery of females who have overcome eating disorders. Five main themes for recovery emerge from this research: Skills Building (cognitive, affective, and social); Development of Identity and Self-Value; Development of Health-focused Attitudes and Habits; Resolution of Existential Issues and Conflicts; and Development of External Support.

At Avalon Hills, treatment is approached in a holistic and scientific manner. They combine psycho education, intensive individualized therapy, group therapy, family therapy, health assessments and monitoring, with therapeutic animal therapy and outdoor experiences and the belief that “new experiences are what transform new ideas, insights, and feelings into positive change.” The girls participate in equine therapy with instructors and therapists who have received certification from the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, and pet rehabilitation with golden retrievers that is overseen by the founder and director of the Companion Golden Retriever Rescue. Avalon Hills has equipment to measure their residents’ metabolic rate to help staff adjust their diet and exercise, and provide around the clock nursing care. With “expressive therapy” such as dance, art, and music, the girls are encouraged to find their interests and increase their passions through training.

Combining the beauty of the “pristine” location with a comprehensive clinical program, a multifaceted therapeutic animal program, a wide range of experimental activities, and a research-based treatment philosophy, Avalon Hills “creates a safe, inviting, and informal therapeutic setting that facilitates reflection and change among preteen and adolescent girls.”

PO Box 1671 | Bonners Ferry, ID 83805 | 208-267-5550
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