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Over 35 Years of Eating Disorder Specialty Practice
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Eating Disorder Specialist

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Abigail Counsels Parents and Families to become Recovery Advocates for their Eating Disordered Child

Does your eating disordered child seem to have become a stranger to you? 

Neither the eating disorder nor parenting comes with instructions. Confronting your child ‘s eating disorder can be a daunting task, for which parents are not prepared.  Eating disorders affect every aspect of your child’s Being. The impact of these potentially life-threatening disorders supersedes eating lifestyle and weight management issues, stripping your child of a healthy connections to Self, to body, and significant others. Eating disorders impair neurological, social and emotional development, cognition and executive function, as well as physiological health. The good news is that with effective treatment, eating disorders are fully curable.

The voice of a parent:

“All your life you love something. Because you love it, you take care of it. You know what you need to do…how to provide for it, change it, feed it and care for it. You know how to fix what has gone wrong. 


Then, something like this comes and you can’t fix it no matter how hard you try.  She doesn’t feel she needs fixing or changing, And I can’t fix it. I feel so frustrated, helpless, angry, and guilty. I can’t do anything about it when she feels so unhappy with herself that she hurts herself, or she takes laxatives.  I can’t stop it, because I can’t be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, wherever she is.  I don’t know how to help her.  I need help to understand what she is going through and how best to support her recovery. Loving your child I s not sufficient to turn the tide on an eating disorder. “

Abigail provides the following Services for Parents and Families of Eating Disordered Youth 

As the founder and director of Eating Disorder Specialists of Illinois: A Clinic without Walls, Abigail provides professional services by phone, Skype, or person-to person, in-office.

  • Diagnostic assessment and referral services for pre-diagnosed, newly diagnosed, or ‘failure to thrive’ child patients currently engaged in outpatient care. 

  • Individual psychotherapy for children, adolescents and young adults with eating disorders.

  • Family psychotherapy and psychoeducation for youngsters and parents 

  • Guidance for young patients and their families in facilitating pivotal and timely milieu placement placements when necessary, to facilitate sustainable recovery.

  • Consultation and coaching for parents and families regarding diagnosis and treatment for clinical eating disorders., as well as the management of picky eating syndrome/selective eating disorder, providing holistic treatment approaches, as well as hope for change.   

Natenshon is a preferred, out-of-network provider for insurance companies. Where there may be minimal, or no insurance coverage provided, her fees can be adjusted to accommodate the needs of patients and families. Abigail is a preferred out-of-network provider for insurance companies. Contact your insurance company to inquire about partial reimbursement for CPT codes: 90791, 90834, 90837. 

Of Interest to Parents and Families: Original Articles written by Abigail


1. Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Disease

2. The Parents’ Role in their Child’s Eating Disorder Recovery

3. Finding a Needle in a Haystack: Seeking Expert Eating Disorder Care-Providers


4. Family Treatment is the Cornerstone of Effective Care for Eating Disordered Children

5. Beginning the Dialogue with your Child

Testimonials from Parents and Families of Eating Disordered Children

“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. Keep us in your prayers!"   Nancy Miller

"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!!!!”

“My daughter had an incredible experience working with Abbie. Abbie was warm and patient and understanding. She had high expectations for my daughter because she believed in her and her recovery. Abbie demanded that she push herself and consider things that my daughter did not yet know about herself nor what she was capable of achieving. My daughter had great respect for Abbie as do I and our time spent with her was critical to her recovery. Abbie is also very generous with her time often allowing us two hours straight if my daughter needed it. We are very grateful for all the time we spent working together and I know that my daughter is more emotionally evolved thanks to her many hours spent with Abbie.”        Jennifer Abt

“I want you to know how thankful Ken and I are to you for all you have done to help Hannah and us. We have learned so much from you and have healing in our relationship with Hannah thanks to you. I am thankful Hannah was able to find someone whom she connected with so quickly, yet who could also pull out of her deep heart issues. You are very good at what you do. You were also key to guiding Ken and I in how we can help Hannah and change ourselves for the better. You never made us feel like bad parents, but came along side us and encouraged us. I never felt judged by you either. Thank you for seeing the good in all of us when we were hashing through the bad. I will forever be grateful for your help. “   L Ted

Abbie’s response

Dear L TED,
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words, but I must remind you that so much of Hannah's progress in recovery had to do with your sensitive and nuanced responsiveness to her ever-changing needs and emotional growth as she progressed through the healing process. It is no surprise, that coming from such an emotionally healthy family, her recovery would be so smooth and timely. It was a real pleasure to work with you all, and I always get a kick out of seeing that, through this healing process, the eating disordered child inevitably gets her life back, and the family gets their child back!! Best regards to you all. 

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This Book is Recommended by Parents

"Before reading your book, I had found no resource that had it all, especially words for those who love and want to help someone we fear is a disordered eater. I have read your book cover to cover and plan to recommend it to everyone who asks me questions because you have done an incredible job at answering them all."
—Doris Smeltzer

"The first read-through confirmed some things I already knew about eating disorders and opened my eyes to a lot of misconceptions I had had. Most importantly it gave me hope. The second read-through spoke to me very personally about my own daughter and helped the entire family through the difficult recovery process that left us all reeling."
—Mary Byronne

First of all, thank you for writing, 
When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Parents and Other Caregivers! I am just finishing it and have found it to be the most useful written resource for me yet. I am the father of an eating disordered daughter. Your book has leapt out at me. You have captured so much of what we have experienced and considerably more. In our search for assistance over the past 5 years, we have found only one other professional who has been able to come close to providing the degree of eating disorder family insights that you have presented here.- FG

"I found that the book gave me confidence to use myself more effectively to help my daughter recover. The more I relaxed, and the more hopeful I became, the more she was able to accomplish."
—Midge S.

"I feel as though you have invited my husband and I to look beyond the symptoms of this disease to see what's at its core ... the suffering in our daughter's heart. Most important, you keep reminding us that this disease can be, and usually is, conquered."
—Terry, Chicago

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