Home > Treatments & Therapies > Family Therapy and Eating Disorders

Family Therapy and Eating Disorders

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 14 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Eating Disorders anorexia bulimia

Eating disorders do not only affect the individuals who suffer from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, but their families as well. Very often a family member is the first person to observe an eating disorder, as individuals themselves rarely admit to a disorder without being confronted, and family members are also highly instrumental in an individual’s recovery as well. Though parental and family involvement obviously diminishes if an anorexic, bulimic or binge eater lives outside of the family home, the support of their family still remains important in their journey to recovery. Family therapy is not only about recovering from an eating disorder, however, but about the efficient functioning and growth of the family unit as well.

Treating the Family
Family therapy, or private therapy sessions conducted with both the individual suffering from an eating disorder and his/her closest family members, is intended to treat everyone in attendance. Very often family members will not even realise their involvement in an eating disorder until these sessions, nor will they truly understand the eating disorder without a professional explanation. Whether they want to or not, families must make changes in order to accommodate the needs produced by an eating disorder and it is this growth that is facilitated through family therapy sessions.

The Role of the Family in Recovery
Many family members feel powerless and frustrated when faced with a loved one’s eating disorder, but family therapy allows them to investigate how the eating disorder has affected their own lives and how they can be supportive throughout the recovery process as well.

Family therapy sessions will provide family members with the tools necessary to provide this constant support, prepare and plan nutritious family meals, monitor their loved one’s eating and food behaviours, and strive to heal any underlying issues that may have contributed to the development of their loved one’s eating disorder.

Finding Family Therapy
Family therapy is offered only by trained, qualified therapists who have an interest or expertise in eating disorders. Family therapy may be offered while an individual is in hospital or a residential clinic, though it often carries on during out-patient treatment as well. Generally family therapy is a short-term treatment method, lasting for only a few months. For a family therapy referral in the local area, contact a GP or private therapist.

Family therapy sessions can be a powerful tool in the recovery from an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder. Not only do family therapy sessions allow family members to explore their relationships with each other and the eating disorder, but they allow non-judgemental environments for these investigations as well. Not all individuals suffering from eating disorders will engage in family therapy as part of their treatment plans, though those who still live in the family home tend to particularly benefit from this type of therapy.

Family members also often find great benefit from family therapy sessions, as they are able to discuss and confront the eating disorder themselves. While many different types of family therapy approaches exist, none of them are meant to blame or shame any family member. Instead, all types of family therapy attempt to foster growth in the family and strengthen existing family ties.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Lea
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I like to eat the dry wall in my basement
    20 October 2019
  • Gotchu
    Re: Pica Disorder
    Guys I understand your problem. But you need to think about it. Is eating these things worth it for your bad health? Not even that, I never think…
    13 October 2019
  • Nintendhoe
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I gotta bad problem. I eat baking soda. And Talcum powder. And laundry powder. And cocaine. I just like white powders. I like bitter things and salty…
    10 October 2019
  • Imani
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I crave chalk or dirt. Anything with an earthy taste or dry crumbly texture of chalk. I’ve become addicted to watching those floral foam crushing…
    3 October 2019
  • windy
    Re: Stomach Problems for Anorexics and Bulimics
    I have a daughter Emily who has anorexia since she was 8 she is getting severe stomach pains and has been to A…
    29 September 2019
  • Sarah
    Re: Eating by Texture
    I've never been able to eat onions or peppers and anything mushy comes right back up I can eat raw tomatoes but not cooked or canned tomatoes my…
    19 September 2019
  • Ezzy
    Re: Pica Disorder
    Errr ive only just saw this... I like to chew of towels. You know the fresh kind that have been washed and dried. I have no idea why but it tastes…
    17 September 2019
  • kalie
    Re: Pica Disorder
    my mom had pica ever since she was little, she would eat her wall and chalk. i didnt know that but one day i started craving coal, then moved on to…
    15 September 2019
  • Nini
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I’m addicted to eating these rocks my mom bought for the backyard in my garage. They are pink rocks, & some are chewable. I love the taste. The rocks…
    2 September 2019
  • Lily
    Re: The Menstrual Cycle and Eating Disorders
    I've had disordered eating and my therapist believes I have an eating disorder, I have a BMI of 15.4 but I still…
    31 August 2019