Eating Disorders and Parental Mindfulness
The effects of eating disorders are as damaging mentally as they are physically and the rate at which people die from the illness is higher than any other mental health issue. To compound this, the age at which people are developing eating disorders is continuously getting lower. The holiday season can already generate increased anxiety and depression for individuals with eating disorders. For parents, it’s important to be mindful and sensitive to your child’s emotions and challenges.
Becoming more informed about triggers, understanding signs and symptoms, seeking out appropriate support and being genuinely involved in treatment are some of the most important steps parents can take in helping their child recover. Evidence-based treatment for eating disorders with children and adolescence includes Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). This therapy involves parents, the individuals with the illness and siblings (intermittently). Parents become their child’s recovery coach as well as their emotional coach. The initial phases of treatment are focused on parents taking charge of their child’s eating and preventing other eating disorder behaviours. Parents are also provided with skills to help their child regulate negative emotions and to self soothe. This inability to effectively deal with uncomfortable emotions may be at the core of the eating disorder and its function.
At The Therapy Centre, we have both a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Social Worker on staff who specialize in working with children and adolescents suffering from eating disorders and work within an EFFT framework. Additionally, we have a Dietician on staff in our Oakville location, who can create custom meal plans that tailor to clients with eating disorders as well as anyone looking for general nutrition assistance. With two locations in Oakville and Hamilton we also provide services to clients in Peel Region, Etobicoke, Halton Hills, Guelph/Wellington and Ancaster.
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