March 20, 2015

Zero sum advocacy

I was pleased yesterday to hear by Twitter that someone referred to me in a presentation at a conference. Twitter is wildly annoying to me in most ways but really good for the sort of immediacy and community it can offer.

The tweet said:

Peebles cites on importance of parents' awareness of "getting your kid back" as marker of recovery


I was delighted, as it is always nice to know that someone thinks well of what I believe, and say. I tweeted back that I was flattered.

Then, because these things happen in public and everyone is entitled to an opinion, someone said:

a good suggestion but very parent focused outcome. Patient centred outcomes?

Which, of course, this tweeter has the right to say.

But, what is up with the "BUT?"

It reminds me of many such debates where advocacy for any good thing can be taken two ways. One: as a simple positive. Or, as taking away from someone else.

Advocating for breastfeeding gets taken as an attack on those who don't or can't. Advocating for women is seen as not caring about men. Early intervention advice is seen as injury to the chronically ill.

Why is a positive so often seen as taking away from others?

There is no LOSS to patients when parents are part of the equation here. In fact, an empowered and hopeful parent is an important and often pivotal asset to recovery. It would never occur to me to even think that parents looking to full recovery would be in any way NOT a "patient-centred" outcome. It is ABOUT the patient. The patient's best interests are also the family's best interest. But that is the way some people think. It makes me sad. We are all on the same side.

10 comments:

  1. Try not to let it get to you! You get to keep your integrity and you know you are right. Love your site by the way!

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  2. If it's the conference I think it is, someone actually messaged me in horror at the parent bashing taking place.

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  3. Parent bashing is not uncommon in medical circles, mental health more so, and eating disorder very much more so. It is improving, but it is slow going. I would not go into any of these environments EXPECTING an understanding of the current science, certainly, but certainly to laud and celebrate those who have freed themselves of these unhelpful ideas about parents.

    I attended SAHM a few years back and found it quite refreshingly progressive, really. More science-focused, more up to date on evidence-based treatment, far less prejudiced against parents than, say, AAP generally or AED membership.

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  4. Last time I checked an observation isn't an "outcome".

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  5. Laura, I hope you've tweeted this post direct to @ yphsig! Maybe they'll learn something... :)

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  6. My guess is the second tweet is a result of the fact that you literally go to great lengths to completely silence ANY discussion of parental actions that harm their eating-disordered child. You're not "parent-centric", you're "parent-pardoning, whether it is warranted or not".
    Your all-or-nothing viewpoint that paints parents as all-good and patients as all-crazy is way too far on the opposite end of "parent-blaming".
    How about finding a realistic middle ground?

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  7. Eating disorders evolve within a family dynamic, and that dynamic must be addressed in recovery for the patient and the family. Anonymous, while I am a newbie to Laura's site, it appears to me that she is not "parent-pardoning", rather, she is trying to advocate for patients, as well as families. Everyone on G-d's good earth is dealing with one type of insanity or another....we are all doing the best we can with the tools we have been given, and then we need to research to find other tools for our arsenal. I am grateful for Laura's Soap Box, and others like hers. It can be very confusing trying to find appropriate settings for our family members, and a comfort to hear from others who are on the same journey.

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    Replies
    1. Dear thisisthenewnormal12,

      My teenager had anorexia nervosa. She did not think it "evolved within a family dynamic." Neither did her brother, her sister, her mother, or I. In fact, my kid hated the "family therapists" who were involved in her treatment. So did everyone else in our family. The professional psychotherapists wasted our time. They extracted huge amounts of money from us. They offered treatments that were insane, having nothing to do with anorexia. They did nothing to help our kid recover. So we fired them. We stopped psychotherapy. Instead, we simply fed our kid a lot of food. We helped her re-establish normal patterns of eating. She recovered. Everyone in our family is now happy. Based on personal experience, and my review of the scientific literature, I now spread the word that psychotherapy, including "family therapy," is over-rated as a treatment for anorexia nervosa.

      I challenge you to offer proof for your statement that family dynamics "must be addressed" in order for someone to recover from anorexia.

      If you wish to read the clinical trials on this topic, I recommend reading the review of family therapy for anorexia nervosa published by the Cochrane Collaboration. (You can find it with a google search.)

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  8. It's fun to watch a blog author try to make it look as though other people are commenting....
    Signed
    The REAL anonymous...

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