When you practice as long as I have in the field of childhood eating disorders, one thing becomes abundantly clear: there are cycles to the frequency with which patients appear on our doorstep for treatment -- and on the doorsteps of all the other treatment centers as well. The trouble is, it has proven difficult to understand the peaks and troughs of these cycles and correlate them to much of anything. But there do seem to be a few tentatively recognizable patterns. And these…Read More
Viewing blog posts categorized under "Anorexia Nervosa"
At Kartini Clinic, we have had a parent support group from the beginning. At first my husband Steve and I led parent group. After a few years it was taken over by a much more competent leader, Kartini family therapist Leslie Weisner LMFT, in whose hands it remains today. As our program grew and developed we added more groups, all free of charge, for our patients’ parents. Jean Malnati, our parent advocate and herself a parent of a child with an eating disorder, leads the parenting…Read More
On Friday, Netflix released "To the Bone," a film about a young woman struggling with anorexia nervosa. The film has received a great deal of publicity, raising some questions and concerns among parents of children and adolescents with eating disorders.
Here are five questions you may have about the film.
My child is recovering from an eating disorder; should they watch this movie?
The question we would ask is why? If it is to gain “insight” into a complex brain illness in…Read More
8 AM: drop-off time at Kartini Clinic. It’s early, and patients and parents alike have a day of hard work ahead of them. But then... enter Ryla.
Family therapist Lisa Peacock says that one of her favorite moments of the day is seeing the mood in the waiting room transform when Ryla or Baxter, her two therapy dogs, run in to say good morning. That’s one of the simplest but most effective aspects of animal therapy: most people like animals, and having one around makes them happier.… Read More
This post was originally published on December 16, 2015.
Possibly nothing has changed so much over the last ten years as the acceptance of parents’ role in the treatment of children and adolescents with eating disorders.
When I founded Kartini Clinic in 1998, “dysfunctional” parents were widely considered to cause eating disorders in general and anorexia nervosa in particular. Toxic and enmeshed mothers were commonly cited by therapists, doctors and lay people as the common…Read More
This post was originally published on February 13, 2012.
I (among others) have recently been challenged by Laura Collins to get the message out that weight restoration is critical to psychological recovery in anorexia nervosa. Some authority, Laura says, must declare definitively that psychological recovery is tied to weight restoration.
Some authority… okay… but who?
Since the late 1990’s the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has issued guidelines for hospitalization (after…
This post was originally published on November 13, 2013.
Until I lived in the world of therapists and mental health professionals as part of the Kartini multidisciplinary team treating children with eating disorders, I had never actually heard the phrase “tolerating distress”, particularly as it pertained to parents. Like most parents, I have a very difficult time tolerating pain in my own children, either physical or emotional and, when put in that situation, I immediately get…Read More
This post was originally published on June 12, 2013.
We’ve all heard from parents whose child had (or has) an eating disorder and who re-feed them at home, single-handedly and successfully. The Around the Dinner Table forum is full of such stories from parents who help other parents trying to do the same. But not all children’s illnesses can be so managed. At Kartini Clinic we practice a day treatment model of family-based care (as well as inpatient medical stabilization and…Read More
When I was first introduced to the Minnesota Semi-Starvation Study (MSSS), published in 1950 by Ancel Keys and his team, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data they were able to accumulate about the physical and psychological ramifications of semi-starvation in humans.
It was mind-blowing. Then I came across the graph on page 106 of the hardbound edition called “Over-all Changes in Body Weight in the Minnesota Experiment” with the subtitle: “Expressed as a percentage of the…Read More
One of the challenges of swimming against the stream -- as when, for example, one insists that parents don’t cause eating disorders when many providers learn and believe otherwise -- is that you become a bit of a pariah. At a minimum, people will prefer to talk to those of their colleagues who think as they do.
So building a web of safety around our patients once they leave the immediacy of Kartini Clinic has been a challenge. What are the needs of our young patients once they leave…Read More