About Abigail Natenshon
Over 35 Years of Eating Disorder Specialty Practice
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(847) 432-1795

Eating Disorder Specialist

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Expert Advice for Clinicians
  • Remember that with effective treatment, ED are curable in 80% of cases.

  • This sub-specialty demands unique requirements for care, standing apart from generalist practice or other specialties. ED treatment requires professionals to use themselves and their diagnostic and treatment skills differentially.   Recognize and respect this.

  • As bio/psycho/social diseases, as disorders of the body and mind, the psyche and mood, of sociability and cognition, ED are highly integrative disorders of sensing and perception and brain function, of attachment, trust, and of relationship… with food, self and others…the latter pointing to the importance of how we, as practitioners, use ourselves personally and interpersonally, to treat them.

  • Marked by compulsions, excess and lack of control around food and eating, these same characteristics invariably seep over into other life spheres as well, interfering with all modes of self-care and self-regulation.

  • Highly skilled clinicians need to be open to an integrative treatment perspective (modes, methods and milieus) in response to an integrative disorder; and to using oneself with mindful versatility, intention and courage, particularly in the face of counter transference issues.

  • In ED recovery, the means to the end or the journey itself, is as important as the destination.  What the recovering anorexic “recovers,” aside from lost weight, happens through the  process of learning to re-feed and care for oneself , to assume self-determination, self-regulation, self-trust, and self-esteem. It is through the treatment relationship and cognitive behavioral learning that emotional flexibility, sound coping and problem-solving accrue, leading to a reintegration of the core self exiled through illness.

  • Keep expectations for recovery changes realistic; the process of achieving recovery feels worse before it feels better, and sometimes the best learning is camouflaged in behaviors that may at first appear to represent failures.

  • The only real and sustainable recovery is a complete recovery.

  • When a clinician and client sit down together face to face, he or she needs to become aware of the presence of three separate entities; you, the client, and the eating disorder. All must be respected, addressed and managed.

  • When the individual ED client walks through your door, it is safe to anticipate that effective treatment will address a virtual "crowd," including families and loved ones, members of the professional team inpatient as well as outpatient, the school, etc.

  • Doing What Works: An Integrative System for the Treatment of Eating Disorders from Diagnosis to Recovery by Abigail Natenshon is a robust and comprehensive resource for all members of the treatment team. Natenshon teaches courses online; See www.empoweredparents.com for details.

  • There is hardly a more fulfilling specialty. Nothing is more gratifying than creating hope where none exists, where recovered clients declare that they have "their life back" or that they are now "the very best self they can be."



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