I recently received the
following email, so poignant in expressing what so many of us
I have been counseling girls with eating
disorders for about a year, but I feel extremely inadequate.
I tend not to treat the eating disorder, but rather to
just treat them as teenage girls with problems.
It is such a challenge to get them to believe they should
eat when everything in them says food is the enemy.
I just want to say to them. “Eat anyway.
You’re not thinking straight right now and you’re
starving yourself to death.”
Eventually, I can usually say that, but I really need
your book. Thanks
for writing it.”
And so it goes. This
young woman speaks for the vast majority of psychotherapists who
struggle with the very idea of managing these complex and
Might you find yourself resisting treatment of these
Might you feel compelled to refer these cases out of your
Might you feel fear of managing...
- The complexity of these disorders?
- The patients’ resistance to healing?
- The lethality of these disorders…
- Their intractability?
- The inevitably unpredictable course of recovery?
- Your own unpreparedness in your formal education...
- Professional burn-out?
feeling compelled to
refer your eating disorder treatment
cases out of your psychotherapy practice.
Begin to experience professional
skill-mastery and self-confidence in helping your eating
disordered patients achieve what are typically evasive, though
life-saving, recovery changes.
the ranks of a field that has, to date, known a shortage of
approximately two-thirds of eating disordered individuals
without adequate care.
The information offered here holds the potential to turn these
concerns around for you. This site provides the education,
resources, and professional consultation you require to upgrade
the quality of your care-giving and gain professional confidence
in treating these challenging disorders.
As you begin, or further, your eating disorder
education here, you can count on more consistent and timely
Whether you specialize
in ED treatment, engage with an occasional ED patient, or choose
not to treat eating disorders at all, every therapist,
nutritionist, medical doctor, psychiatrist, physical trainer and
school counselor should be prepared to recognize their elusive
signs, address their urgency, and refer the patient for care.
These highly lethal disorders leave little margin for error in
diagnosis and treatment; the earlier these diseases are
recognized, the better the prognosis for recovery and the
possibility for prevention. Patients, families, friends, but
most of all, practitioners need to recognize and understand the
risks of allowing ED to go untreated, even as they are likely to
remain undisclosed as co-occurring syndromes, underlying other
conditions for which the patient
does seek care.
requires skill mastery, heightened self-awareness and a facile
use of the professional’s self vis-à-vis patients and families
in healing these complex and integrative diseases. When
treatment is not successful, the finger of blame invariably gets
pointed towards the disease itself through the misconception
that eating disorders are ‘incurable;’ towards an ‘impossible to
treat’ patient population; or towards parents of child patients
for having caused the problem or for not addressing it sooner.
The reality is that when
treatment outcomes are less than successful or when they fail,
it is all too frequently the well-intentioned (and otherwise
professional who drops the ball.
As practitioners, most of you already have the skills you need.
It is for you to learn when and how to offer the
techniques and skills that you already have acquired; how to
nuance the quality of your care-giving with mindful action, and
clearly defined intentionality; and how to motivate clients
through loving human connections, brain to brain, soul to soul,
in connections that are themselves truly healing.
By impacting the client’s
emotional development, problem-solving, quality of life and
physical function, self-regulation and self care, the work we do
holds the potential to become transformational, saving and
restoring lives and life quality now, and for generations to
My recent book,
Doing What Works: an Integrative System for the Treatment of
Eating Disorders from Diagnosis to Recovery is an invaluable
tool for treating practitioners. By offering a meaningful and
practicable system of care, this “how to” treatment guide douses
the fires of professional fear and resistance to ED treatment,
inspiring enough interest and know-how within the treatment
community to fill the shortages in the treatment ranks with
competent ED experts.
As a treatment ‘GPS’ mapping out the most accessible and
workable routes, Doing
What Works alerts and prepares the entire multi-disciplinary
treatment team, including patients and parents, to anticipate
and bypass inevitable detours and pitfalls intrinsic of ED
treatment, securing a smooth journey through the tough passages
of a complex recovery.
Natenshon’s reassuring voice resonates with over 40 years
of specialty experience and know-how, providing therapists the
permission, incentive, vision and confidence they need to become
self-starters within a demanding treatment process---and to help
their patients do the same.