What is a Chrysalis?

A chrysalis [kris-uh-lis] is the larval state of a butterfly. The word chrysalis comes from the Greek word for gold because butterflies can have brighter pupa than other insects. A chrysalis is a metaphor for growth. For Christians, the Chrysalis is also a reference to Christ in the tomb and the resurrection. The remarkable process that the caterpillar undergoes is described in the poem by the famous Greek philosopher Nikos



A man found a cocoon of a butterfly
One day a small opening appeared
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
It struggled to force its body through the little hole
Then it seemed to stop making any progress
It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could
And it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly
He took a pair of scissors and snipped off
The remaining bit of the cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily, BUT,
It had a swollen body and small shriveled wings
He continued to watch the butterfly
He expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge
And the body would contract
Neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling
Around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It was never able to fly.

The man acted with well-intentioned kindness
But he didn’t understand the consequences.
The restricting cocoon and the struggling required to get
Through the tiny opening, were nature’s way of forcing fluid
From the body of the butterfly once it achieved its freedom
From the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.
If nature allowed us to go through life without any
Obstacles, it would cripple us.
We would not be as strong as we could have been
And we could never fly
Have a great day, great life, and struggle a little.
Then fly!


-- Nikos Kazantzakis





About Us



Facing an eating disorder can be a frightening experience for individuals and their families. Our program offers help in recovering from anorexia, bulimia and overeating disorders.



You may have heard that people never recover from eating disorders.  At Chrysalis, we believe that people can recover fully from eating disorders.  Statistically, one-third of those with eating disorders never get better, one third improve without recovering, and one third recover fully.  If better treatment were available to those struggling with eating disorders, this statistic could change.


People who use an addiction model for treatment may not believe it is possible to recover from an eating disorder.  While eating disorders look similar to addictions, they are quite different.  Because the body does not require drugs, a person struggling with chemical dependency can, with great effort, lock the tiger in a cage and throw the key away.  Food is necessary, so a person struggling with disordered eating must take the same tiger out for a walk at least three times a day.  Clients treated in the addictions approach may be told they will never recover from the eating disorder.


Our approach is different.  It is best known as a legalized approach to food.  We view food struggles as a symptom of underlying issues such as depression or dealing with crisis.  Once the causes are identified and addressed, the person can recover from the eating disorder.


Symptoms may disappear quickly in residential treatment.  These same symptoms can return rapidly once a person leaves residential treatment and reenters the stress of everyday life.  This is also known as a relapse. 


At Chrysalis, symptoms may resolve more slowly as depression and/or anxiety are addressed.  The advantage of outpatient treatment is that clients stay in school or work as they recover.  The eating disorder symptoms dissolve more gradually, and hopefully, more permanently.  We like to refer to this approach to recovery as inside out recovery


We cannot guarantee that everyone will recover from their eating disorder.  The biggest factors are the client’s motivation and the support they receive from family members, friends, and partners.


People do recover from eating disorders.  We see it every day.