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About Abigail Natenshon
Over 45 Years of Eating Disorder Specialty Practice

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Meet Abigail

As the director of Disorder Specialists of Illinois, Abigail has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders for the past four decades.


Eating disorders require uniquely specialized care. If an eating disorder is not actively healing, its effects on the mind, brain and body are becoming increasingly entrenched.



What makes Abigail’s work unique?


  • Known as the foremost eating disorder therapist on Chicago’s North Shore, as an innovator in her field, Abigail’s holistic approach has a proven record of success with hard to-treat patients who have met with failure elsewhere.

  • Abigail loves her work, and cares deeply and genuinely her patients for whom she makes herself highly accessible. She serves patients and families throughout the United States and world-wide through Skype.

  • Abigail’s quality of connection between herself and her patients and versatile use of herself within the treatment relationship sets her apart from therapists offering widely-touted manualized (scripted) practice techniques.

  • Abigail’s pioneering self-help workbook, When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder, translated into orthodox Chinese, has set the stage for family involvement in a child’s ED recovery, which has become standard protocol.

  • Abigail's additional credentialing as a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner offers patients the opportunity to enjoy pleasurable neurophysiological techniques (body-movement and meditative breathing), that heal body image disturbances through connecting mind, brain and body.

  • Abigail offers specialty treatment for picky eating children and adults. These little understood disorders are also known as Selective eating disorders and ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder).

My Philosophy of Care

Eating Disorders Require a Unique Approach to Care

  • ED are integrative disorders. Integrative treatment needs to address all aspects of dysfunction: physiological, nutritional, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, relational, biochemical and neurobiological.
  • The collaboration of a team of professionals with diversified expertise enhances timely, effective recovery. Outpatient treatment teams include a therapist who is comfortable working with the patient as well as the family, a nutritionist, a medical doctor, and a psychopharmacologist if required.
  • Parents and families play a pivotal role in healing the young child living at home, and the family system. Enlightened and empowered parents become Most Valuable Players on their child’s treatment team.
  • The quality of the therapeutic connection between the therapist and patient (as well as family), is based on the therapist’s genuine caring and committed attachment to the eating disordered patient, and to the healing process. Scientific evidence points to the treatment relationship as pivotal in achieving successful treatment outcomes.
  • The therapist’s versatile and transparent use of self, moment-to-moment within the committed treatment relationship, provides constant incentive for the resistant patient to heal.
  • Psycho-education refutes myths and misconceptions, promoting knowledge about these disorders and how they heal, evoking the patient’s confidence, and accountability to treatment tasks and challenges within the recovery process.
  • The action-oriented and outcome-based therapist seeks continual and consistent change. By sustaining the wider, wholly integrative picture of disease and recovery, the therapist maintains an intentional and focused goal orientation.
  • Because the roots of eating disorders reside in the brain and nervous system, the incidental use of adjunctive body-movement (neurophysiological) interventions, such as the Feldenkrais Method or trauma-informed yoga, can offer creative alternatives to care that enhance body image and facilitate self-integration.


Thank You for This Site

Hi, I had just reached the point where I did not know where to turn and I came across your website. Within minutes of reading the first page I felt hope - as you had put into words exactly how I was feeling as a mother of a teenager with a potential problem -

Just when I am thinking that I should give up as there is no support out there, you gave me hope and the strength to keep fighting for my daughter!! …Laura R



Patients’ Testimonials

I'm always touched by the power a deep human to human connection really can have. It does feel healing to be in the presence of another person who is invested in your well-being, and who can fully support you while reminding you how capable you are of supporting yourself at the same time. As you noted, I think it's been a long time since I've been in the presence of someone who can do both (the loving parent who also sets limits, the supportive therapist who also encourages independence and growth) Sounds like what I'm longing for is secure attachment. One of these days I'll get there... I'm very grateful for our meeting, as are my parents.   Best wishes….KG

My life has been transformed in the loveliest way by your endless patience, love, and confidence in me! I am deeply thankful and appreciative for who you are, how you are, and all that you do! You are a blessing in my life. That's the long and short of it…SR

Parents’ Testimonials

Abigail, YOU have been our strength and light of hope. Your support, guidance and direction steadfast and spot on. We couldn't do this without you! You have no idea how much it means to us that you have been with us each step of the way. You are quite something. Your knowledge powerful, and compassion heartfelt. WOW.

"The change in my daughter has been breath-taking ….I see her taking charge of her life (not always as I would) and I LOVE seeing her really grow. It's amazing. You were right in the beginning…. that this would be a healing journey for both of us. Thank you so much!!!!”…Margaret

Testimonials for Speaking Services

Ms. Natenshon is a gifted and engaging presenter in the area of eating disorders and its treatment. Her grasp of the material, ability to synthesize important insights and impart them in a highly "usable" manner is impressive and inspiring. Her clinical sensitivity and passion for her subject empowers her audience to leave feeling enhanced and prepared to face clinical challenges. By combining clear thinking, concrete tools and a wealth of clinical experience, she helps you understand not only what to do when treating this population, but why….  

Ava Carn-Watkins, Ph.D.Assistant Director
Graduate Program in Counseling Psychology
The Family Institute at Northwestern University:
Center for Applied Psychological & Family Studies


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