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EFFT & Eating Disorders 2017-09-14T14:46:45+00:00

Parents and caregivers DO NOT cause eating disorders.

In fact – what we know is that parents and caregivers are the best resource for recovery – they just need some support, some skills and some coaching.

Emotion-Focused Family Therapy is an incredible resource for parents and caregivers of individuals struggling with an eating disorder, regardless of their age. The essence of this new approach is to afford families a significant role in their loved one’s recovery from an eating disorder, and to empower parents and caregivers with specific skills to be effective in this role.  The premise for the work is based in a deep belief in the healing power of families.

Through education, video demonstration and skills practice, parents and caregivers will become equipped with practical strategies with respect to:

  1. meal support & symptom interruption
  2. emotion coaching (and relationship repair if applicable).
  3. Parents and caregivers will also be supported to identify, work through and overcome many fears and obstacles that surface in this challenging and novel journey.  The specific skills taught are meant to be effective regardless of the affected individual’s age or motivation for change.
Bulletin on EFFT published by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre
News Story Covering EFFT and ED
Testimonial From a Parent Who Engaged in EFFT on Behalf of Her Adult Daughter

Common Fears

Parents can feel immobilized in their efforts if for example they fear that engaging in the tasks of recovery will lead to their child feeling too much distress. These unspoken fears can lead families to become stuck in unhelpful caregiving patterns (walking on eggshells, feeling resentful, etc).  The “usual suspects” include the fears that their child will:

  1. run away
  2. become depressed or suicidal
  3. move in with the other custodial parent (in the case of split-families)

Other emotions such as anger, resentment, hopelessness and helplessness can also interfere with caregiver efforts to promote recovery. Support and specific skills training are sometimes necessary to release parents and caregivers from the shackles that keep them from feeling hopeful and secure in their helping roles.

First Aid Guidelines to Address Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors