image vs. effectiveness, coping vs. acting

Earlier this year, a friend made some observations after her first eating disorder event that stick with me - I think of them nearly every day. She said two things struck her. One is that treatments seem to be sold to families on the basis of image rather than effectiveness. The other was that the role of parents and family was more about coping than taking action.

It struck me that this is a good description of the difference between the F.E.A.S.T. community and some others. Effectiveness and taking action are without a doubt our focus. Our emphasis on evidence-based practices and parent engagement (with ALL treatment, not just FBT/Maudsley) is what draws us together. We are hoping to help parents cope but not helplessly or just for their own benefit. We see parents as active, engaged, informed - not just suffering. We see parents as a part of treatment, not an additional problem to manage.

Our community is focused on effectiveness, evidence, outcome. We don't just ask for access we are coming to expect it. That attitude probably comes across as demanding and is often mistaken for over-involvement, but we look at eating disorders as an illness where parents have no less responsibility than with cancer or brain injury. This is a new era for parents and eating disorders, and a needed one. We needed to step up, and we also need to be taken seriously.


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