Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit


Ecotherapy with Eating Disorders

Written by Cliff Hamrick, LPC, McCallum Place Austin

In his book, Biophilia (1984), biologist E. O. Wilson suggested the biophilia hypothesis, which states that humans have a natural affinity towards other living systems. These living systems include large systems such as forests, oceans, and fields, but can also include smaller systems such as leaves, feathers, and spider webs.  But, considering that living systems exist alongside non-living systems, this affinity can be extended to include mountains, rocks, streams, and weather.  In his books, Last Child in the Woods:  Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (2008) and The Nature Principle:  Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age (2012), journalist Richard Louv suggested nature-deficit disorder to explain a variety of mental and physical health illnesses that are directly or indirectly related to individuals and a society that has been cut off from natural settings.

It is from these two approaches that the notion of ecotherapy has been founded. Ecotherapy is a therapeutic approach which seeks to foster a client’s healing and growth through healthy interactions with nature.  These interactions can be as simple as looking at a tree out of a window to as complex as going on a weekend hike in the mountains.  For instance, one research study showed that 71% of respondents reported a decrease in depression or anxiety and 90% reported an increase to self-esteem by going for a walk in a natural setting (Mind, May 2007).  Though there is limited research on the efficacy of ecotherapy when treating eating disorders, it is safe to say that this treatment modality should help the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem that often accompany eating disorders.

At McCallum Place Austin, we are quite fortunate to have a section of a greenbelt near our facility. The greenbelt has an annual stream running through it, wooded areas, an open field, and trails running through it.  Wildlife that has been seen in the area include squirrels, turtles, lizards, and a variety of songbirds.  In an attempt to use this natural setting in order to lower anxiety and improve mood, I will take the patients for a slow walk through the trails.  During these walks, I will make sure that the pace is slow, allow for stops to observe the wildlife or point out something of interest, and try to keep conversation to a minimum so that the patients can experience the sounds of the natural setting.  If the weather is comfortable, I will have the patients sit on benches in the field and lead them through a mindfulness meditation.  (See previous article on mindfulness meditation:  /blog/mindfulness-meditation-anxiety/)  Many of the clients find this activity to be relaxing and can open up avenues of discussion that are difficult to replicate in a typical treatment setting.  Some of the therapists and dieticians have moved their individual sessions out to the greenbelt and have found that some clients are willing to open up more than in an office setting.


Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill, NC:  Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Louv, R. (2012). The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age. Chapel Hill, NC:  Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Mind. (May 2007). Ecotherapy: the green agenda for mental health. London, UK.

Wilson, E.O. (1984). Biophilia. Harvard University Press.

Cliff Hamrick is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a part-time therapist with McCallum Place Austin.  Cliff earned his master of arts in counseling from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.  His prior experience includes working with adolescents at Settlement Home for Children, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls.  He has also worked as an investigator with Child Protective Services and a counselor for people seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.  His specialties include men’s issues, depression, and substance abuse.