La Luna Center

Boulder Eating Disorder Treatment

Founded by Dr. Malia Sperry, La Luna Center was created to be a safe and supportive haven for individuals struggling with disordered eating and related concerns. Dr. Sperry moved to Boulder from Hawaii in 2003 for a yearlong position with the University of Colorado in the Department of Psychological Health and Psychiatry (Wardenburg Student Health Center). She came with a background in the treatment of eating disorders and planned to offer one year of support to the developing Eating Disorder Treatment team at CU, and then move back to Hawaii. Malia’s schedule quickly filled with CU students of varied ages and backgrounds; many struggling with intense eating disorder symptoms. She realized that the student health center did not have the capacity to offer the comprehensive treatment that many students needed. She also understood that very few students (even those motivated for recovery) could or would take a break from school to engage in residential treatment for their eating disorder. They were just trying to get by, going through the motions each semester; leading a secretive, unhappy life and engaging in potentially health/life-threatening behaviors.

Malia researched options in the greater Boulder community for more comprehensive outpatient treatment. There were a number of experienced professionals specializing in ED issues, but not a centralized facility with a variety of treatment options. Dr. Sperry wondered if maybe those professionals could come together and create a centralized place offering intensive effective treatment…and, La Luna Center was born!

La Luna Center was created as a coming together of experienced and qualified professionals passionate about supporting the recovery process from ED. The Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) offer the highest level of care in an outpatient setting, providing comprehensive treatment to people as they continue with daily school, work and other responsibilities. IOP provides the exact type of support Dr. Sperry was looking for when she was working with students at CU. The day Program (PHP) was later created to offer even more structured support for those in need.

The Boulder center opened its doors in 2004 and Fort Collins in 2007. Initially, Dr. Sperry assumed both centers would serve mostly university students struggling with disordered eating issues. In reality, the centers have served the greater community of both Boulder and Fort Collins in addition to the student population. Women and men of all ages and stages in life want and need support in their journey to freedom from disordered eating. Many walk through La Luna Center’s doors seeking help for the very first time - some after a long struggle in their relationship with food and eating. Others have had previous treatment and are seeking ongoing or intensified support. Dr Sperry reports that almost everyone who attends an initial consultation is tearful about their struggle, and most express relief in talking with a professional who really “gets it.” Many express gratitude that La Luna Center even exists. For Dr. Sperry this is what makes it all worth it…Even if it meant not moving back to Hawaii.  

I created La Luna Center to be the place I wish I had found in my own path to recovery; intimate, beautiful and empowering. When you come to our center, recovery is still a journey, but we help quicken the process. For our clients it might take months to find the peace and freedom it took me years to attain.

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