This eBook is a guide for parents who have either just discovered that their child has an eating disorder and are overwhelmed with knowing the right steps to take, or who have known for awhile but have been frustrated and dismayed in their attempts to find help that works. This guide will help you to quickly secure effective treatment for your son or daughter, and will likely save them from years of suffering from the devastating effects of anorexia, bulimia, and/or compulsive overeating. Additionally, in most cases your child can receive this help without having to enter an expensive inpatient eating disorder treatment program or spend years in costly counseling sessions.
Why should you listen to me? Because I am a licensed clinical social worker with over twenty years of experience working with children and young adults with eating disorders. I have worked in inpatient and outpatient eating disorder treatment settings and know what works and what doesn’t. My patients have a high recovery rate: most of my clients show significant improvement within three to six months of treatment, and most achieve full recovery from their eating disorder symptoms. I do not ostracize parents of these children by blaming them for their child’s disorder; rather, I include them as an integral part of their child’s treatment team, acting as a coach to help them get their child better fast.
This guide will cover the five essential steps that you can and must take immediately in order to help your child get on the road to permanent recovery. It provides concrete tools that you can start using today to help your child, including checklists for interviewing potential members of your child’s outpatient treatment team, warning signs about when to keep looking, and techniques you should use at home to accelerate your child’s recovery. There is an informative question and answer section featuring questions asked by real parents of children with eating disorders. Finally, there is a Must-Read section on how to help your other children avoid falling prey to an eating disorder.
Over the years many people have asked me if it's depressing and draining to work with people who have eating disorders and their families. I honestly tell them that the opposite is true. I have been doing this work for so many years because I have the immense pleasure of watching children and teenagers get better. It is the most rewarding job in the world when you can help to restore peace and healing to young people and their families on a regular basis. An added plus is that most young people with eating disorders AND their parents are high achieving, sensitive, responsible, and motivated to get better; they just need the right person to guide them. It is truly a joy to work with them!
What I find very distressing, however, are the hundreds of parents who have called me over the years desperate to find help that works for their child, but cannot afford treatment, or are confused and overwhelmed by the oftentimes conflicting advice they have received from the Internet, other treatment providers who are not qualified to treat eating disorders, or from well-meaning, but misguided family members.
It is for these parents and their children that I wrote this guide. I try to at least have a conversation with every parent who calls me for help, even if they cannot afford treatment. I feel it is my responsibility as a therapist with expertise and success in treating eating disorders to share my knowledge with as many people as possible, and at the very least point them in the right direction towards help. By creating this guide, I am able to consolidate my knowledge in one place and make it accessible to many more people than I could by just answering phone calls and e-mails. Be reassured that this is the very same advice I would give if you called me or came in to see me personally about your child’s eating disorder.