Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December 2010 Volume 21, Number 6
©2010 Gürze Books
Here’s a book that should immediately shoot to the top of the list of items that eating disorders clinicians will want to buy this year. Janet Treasure and her colleagues have edited an extremely useful and unique book that compassionately and comprehensively addresses how eating disorders professionals and the partners, parents, relatives and friends of patients with eating disorders – the carers – can best collaborate to assure recovery of patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and mixed forms of eating disorders. In describing an approach that has been developed in collaboration with patients and carers, the authors offer programs suitable to a span of situations, including self-guidance, distance support, individual and group settings and workshops, and settings ranging from day programs through intensive outpatient and residential to inpatient programs.
The book addresses patterns of coping in families of patients with eating disorders, ways of understanding the health behavior patterns seen in those families, how various family processes may maintain or modify eating disorder behaviors, and ways of changing family patterns to help the patient with an eating disorder. The programs for helping families are inventive, and include using writing as a reflective growth tool, offering prolonged (up to three days) intensive workshops for family members, and providing supportive skills-based training for carers.
Additional discussions focus on reproduction and parenting in patient with an eating disorder, the influence and importance of parents in caring for patients with eating disorders, reflections on carers and of professionals on engaging in the collaborative efforts portrayed in this book, and, as a bonus, an appendix containing a “toolkit for carers.” Some of this material may be familiar to those who’ve read an earlier book by this group (Skills-Based Learning for Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder: Janet Treasure, Gráinee Smith and Anna Crane. New York, Routledge, 2007; previously reviewed in EDR). Included is a typology of carer styles playfully based on various animals (kangaroo, rhinoceros, ostrich and jellyfish, with the ultimate aim of developing coping styles resembling dolphins (just enough caring and control) and St. Bernards (just enough compassion and consistency). New to this volume and included in the appendix are the Eating Disorder Symptom Impact Scale (EDSIS), examining the impact on carers, and an Accommodation and Enabling Scale for Eating Disorders (AESED), each of which may be useful for carers and for the professionals working with them.