Family Therapy Can Help If Someone In Your Family Has a Eating Disorder

Perhaps even more difficult than having an eating disorder yourself is watching a family member in denial about or unable to accept the help they need to recover from an eating disorder. To better help them, it is critical for you as a loved one to seek education and professional help too. Anorexia is the deadliest mental health disorder there is, and all eating disorder have high rates of death from medical and mental health complications. Ignoring it is the worst thing you can do. It is better to risk temporarily angering your loved one in order to save their life and get involved as best you can.


Often, those closest to us can be our greatest asset in recovery. Research has shown that when the family learns new relationship skills and gains a deeper understanding of the role an eating disorder, compulsive eating, or body image disturbance plays in the life of the client, recovery is quicker and more sustainable. You and your therapist can determine how to best involve the people who can help you get better.

Parent and Caregiver Consultations Are a Good Way to Start

Our parent and caregiver consultations provide answers to your questions about how to best approach your child or loved one about an eating disorder, body image issue, or addiction behavior. This is often the first step for helping them enter treatment. When appropriate, we offer skills training for families and loved ones understand the dynamics of these self-destructive behaviors and how they can best support their loved one during recovery. The model most seen in treating children with eating disorders is known as Family Based Therapy (FBT), and can be adapted to help adults as well.

Family In The Kitchen

Modified Family-Based Therapy

We make sure the spouse and/or family is included in the treatment plan, following a modified family-based therapy (FBT) for the treatment of eating disorders and co-occurring issues. When appropriate, the family is brought in as the primary source of treatment. Rather than the therapist and the client working alone to figure out what needs to change, the family works together to create new, healthy behavior patterns for the client and honest communication for the family as a whole to maintain that healthy change.

We urge you to contact us today if you fear that your child or other relative may have an eating disorder, or other destructive behaviors such as cutting. Our coordinator will advise you about the best next steps to take, and help you understand your options.