November 21, 2016

Have you heard the NEW PLATES podcast episode 1 yet? "Why Include Parents During Eating Disorders Treatment?"

"Why include parents during eating disorder treatment?"

Some might say "why not?" I took the opportunity recently to ask leaders in the field, parents, and advocates this question and you can hear those answers on episode 1 of the NEW PLATES podcast, now available on the Circum Mensam website as well as on most podcast apps.

Quoted in episode 1, in order of appearance:
  • Dr. Mark Warren, Chief Medical Officer at the Emily Program (phone interview)
  • Dr. Lauren Muhlheim, Psychologist and Director of Eating Disorder Therapy LA
  • Professor Janet Treasure, Kings College London, South London and Maudsley Hospital
  • Dr. Craig Johnson, Chief Science Officer at the Eating Recovery Center
  • Dr. Julie K O'Toole, Chief Medical Officer, Kartini Clinic (phone interview)
  • Dr. Lucene Wisniewski, PhD, FAED  is Chief Clinical Integrity Officer of The Emily Program
  • Dr. James Lock, Director, Stanford Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program
  • Dr. Sarah K. Ravin, Licensed Psychologist (phone interview)
  • Jenni Schaefer, the Well-known author and motivational speaker
  • Lisa Conn (phone interview)
  • Katie, parent of daughter diagnosed at ten and now 16, in solid recovery (phone interview)
  • Belinda Caldwell, Executive Director of FEAST and Carer Consultant Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (phone interview)
Eating Disorders Recovery Podcast with Tabitha Farrar
Eating Disorder Research Society
National Eating Disorders Association
Dr. Walter Kaye, UCSD

Circum Mensam is a consulting firm that assists professionals and clinics in working with families successfully and toward better outcomes for eating disorder patients. If your program, event, literature, or training could benefit from expertise on parent involvement, contact us today.


You are welcome to contact me, Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, MS at, the host of NEW PLATES.

Add YOUR voice to the podcast by leaving voice messages at the site as well!

November 14, 2016

Back, but with a new hat...

I took a break from eating disorder advocacy, but you know what? I don't know how to quit you. With our last child graduating and starting college it was time to reassess and figure out what I wanted to do now that I'm free to work full-time. I finished some projects and tried a few new things, and discovered:

It turns out I've still got some work to do and, I hope, something to contribute. So I told a few friends, and they told some friends, and I now have a new company, Circum Mensam. That's Latin for "around the table" which is a bit of a theme with me. I believe getting families and clinicians working together is a powerful tool for both eating disorder recovery but also relapse prevention.

I have informally, and on a volunteer basis, been doing consulting for some time now. I have, to tell the truth, so many requests for information and to collaborate on projects that it has felt like a full-time job for a long time. I truly enjoy working with both professionals and parents to improve treatment for families. And, in the past few years, the interest in ways to involve parents in treatment for better results has grown faster than the supply. The voices of parents are being heard and it shows in the changing policies, media, and training.

But still, in 2016, most patients with eating disorders are getting treatment that is not inclusive or friendly to their families -- if they are getting treatment at all. And, those who want to better involve families too often find institutional, cultural, and training barriers. Even providers who offer Family-Based Treatment, the gold standard of family inclusive care, often find their work undermined by untrained or FBT-skeptical colleagues.

Involving families isn't only about FBT, or family therapy, and Family Week. Involving families means looking at everything from first phone contact to billing and communication between teams. Involving families means skill with family work but also a view of a family's needs and strengths in the bigger picture.

I'm ready to get back to work. I already have started and it's time now to publicly announce it, and ask my friends and allies in the eating disorder world to:

Subscribe to the new podcast, called New Plates, starting in November. It will be about family-centered treatment and ways for families and clinicians to work together to help patients get well. It will include the voices of families and clinicians and researchers and advocates. In fact, I hope you'll consider being a guest on the show!
If your practice or clinic treats eating disorders, schedule a phone call with me to discuss your program and how you engage and work with families. If you are a parent or family member with experiences to share: call me!

Pass my name on to any clinics or organizations who might be looking to add or improve their family work, or are troubleshooting issues involving training or website content.

And parents, allow me to help other families by learning from you. What's working and what's not? What would help your family better support your loved one? What policies or roadblocks do you wish were changed?

For more information on Circum Mensam, and my new work, visit the website at

To catch me up on what is happening with YOU, dear friends, change my email to and update me!