Welcome! The book shown on this site is now available in paperback and ebook format. What you see on this site is an earlier draft.
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What’s in the book, and who is it for? Here’s a video with a quick overview, followed by a table of contents with links to each chapter.
THE BOOK’S TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. How this book can help you (HERE)
An overview of the help I’d like to offer you in this book and some suggestions on how to find your way around the information fast.
2. How does an eating disorder affect you and your child? (HERE)
What’s going on in the mind of someone with an eating disorder? And what’s it like for you the parent? The aim of this chapter is to lead the way to understanding and compassion for yourself and for your child.
3.The parent’s part in diagnosis (HERE)
Find out how eating disorders are diagnosed, the pitfalls you can guard against, and get tips on how to get expert care without delay.
4. Treatment: the essentials (HERE)
The essentials for a parent who wants immediate answers: what are the main principles of the treatments covered in this book, and how long before you can expect some relief?
5. What parents need to know about the causes of eating disorders (HERE)
There are many outdated theories about what causes eating disorders. Here’s what you need to know so that you can focus on what matters. If your mum thinks you gave your child an eating disorder, show her this.
6. Practical steps to help your child beat the eating disorder (HERE)
An eating disorder affects almost every aspect of our children’s lives. Here is an overview of what you can do to systematically weaken its grip and get your child back.
7. How do you get your child to eat in spite of the eating disorder? (The bungee-jumping analogy) (HERE)
In this chapter I give you all the tips I’ve learned from experience, from our therapists and from other parents. I’ll use a bungee-jumping analogy to illustrate the principles. Later, I’ll offer some examples using practical scenarios.
8. See the tools in action: mealtime scenarios (HERE)
In this chapter I’ll give you examples of things to say and not to say when you’re supporting your child at mealtimes. This will help you keep calm and will help your child to pick up that fork and eat. I then offer a scenario in which parents assist their child to eat for the first time. This chapter uses many of the practical and emotional tools described throughout the book.
9. How to free your child of fears: exposure therapy ( HERE)
Our children can remain stuck in an eating disorder while they’re scared of certain foods or situations. In this chapter I describe how they can be desensitised to their fears through systematic exposure. Then I’ll give you a practical example of a desensitisation session.
10. The road to full recovery (HERE)
How do we deal with school or everyday challenges in the early days, and how do we return to normal after the worst is over? How do we prepare our children for independence? What does the future hold?
11. Partners, family, friends and work: help or hindrance? (HERE)
How do you get your partner, your other children, your family, to function well as a team? What about the outside world, with its money and work concerns, and people who don’t understand this illness?
12. How to make treatment and therapy work for your child and for you (HERE)
What are the principles of successful therapies? What should you look for when choosing a therapist or a hospital? And what are the red flags for poor treatment? I tell you more about Family-Based Treatment (FBT) and other approaches, suggest how to work in partnership with clinicians and look at when it might be better to cut your losses. I also highlight what to look for in psychological support for yourself.
13. Powerful tools for well-being and compassionate connection (HERE)
It’s one thing knowing what to do, and another managing to do it when you’re overwhelmed or when your child puts up strong resistance. How do you keep calm and remain supportive? How do you listen and talk to your child so he feels that you’re by his side and that you understand? How do you take care of your child’s needs and also ask for what matters to you? This chapter addresses your emotional well-being as well as your child’s.
14. Love, no matter what: how to support your child with compassionate communication (HERE)
Has it become difficult to recognise your child? Do you struggle to help her as she flips between depression and aggression? Are you finding it hard to give unconditional love, and are you confused about rewards and punishment? In this chapter I offer you resources and examples to help you communicate with compassion and build connection.
15. How to build up your own resilience and well-being (HERE)
In Chapter 13 I offered you tools for mindfulness and compassionate communication. I now build on these to help you access more resilience and a sense of well-being, right away and in the long term. Whether you’re getting ready to serve a meal or trying to cope with emotional exhaustion, you will find resources here.
Appendix: Compassionate or Nonviolent Communication (NVC) (HERE)
A brief description of Compassionate Communication, also called Nonviolent Communication, or NVC, and links for more information.
Thank you (HERE)
NOT IN THE BOOK: Resources to complement the book’s contents
Audio support to help you be at your best (HERE)
My book gives you the why and the how of compassion. My new audio resources help you actually experience the power that lies with a compassionate state, so you can shift yourself into a state closer to wellbeing.
Internal conflict: Self-compassion and how to mediate arguments in your brain (HERE)
If you’re finding it hard to disentangle yourself from blame and shame, or if you’re getting eaten up by thoughts of what you could have done better, try this self-compassion and acceptance exercise in this example.
Empathic dialogue after a bust-up (HERE)
After your child has screamed, kicked or run away, an example of post-fireworks dialogue.
Empathic and effective dialogue with your child: example after food is binned in school (HERE)
In the book I give you principles and examples of empathy and dialogue. Here is one more example you might relate to. The child has secretly been binning food in school and the parent is trying to connect, understand and find solutions.
Don’t beat up your child (or yourself) for failing in spite of therapy (HERE)
Telling someone ‘Stop shouting and do your bloody CBT!’ isn’t going to work.
Young adults with anorexia: not too old for family therapy (HERE)
Plenty of parents report that family-based treatment for their college-age child works. This article of mine in Mirror-Mirror describes how the creators of FBT are trying it out on 17-25s.
Getting your child with an eating disorder to eat (HERE)
A short article with an overview of many of the tips that are already in my book, in response to the question “How can I get my child to eat?”
Eating disorders: understand where psychotherapists are coming from (HERE)
Underlying causes, insight, unconscious motivations and all those other red herrings
Psychotherapy approaches: which might help? (HERE)
For your child. For you. Navigate your way through the alphabet (Positive psychology, NVC, ACT, CBT, DBT, Psychodynamic therapis, EMDR (for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD) and Cognitive Remediation CRT)
Three routes out of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (HERE)
Evidence-based approaches to address the effect of traumas large and small, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘OK’: two letters for mindfulness and compassion (HERE)
‘O for Observe’ and ‘K for Kindness’: they won’t make the sun shine 24/7, but they can transform how you relate to whatever weather comes your way.
School support: a checklist for parents of a child with an eating disorder (HERE)
Would your child benefit from going (back) to school, but some support measures need to be in place? If so, here’s a checklist to remind you issues to discuss with the staff.
School trips with a child suffering from an eating disorder: flow chart to support teachers (HERE)
Can your child go on a school trip provided the teachers are properly briefed? If so, here’s a flowchart to use as a starting point for your discussion with teachers.
Some statistics: how common are the various types of eating disorder? (HERE)
Ballpark figures to help you with campaigning.
Suicide and eating disorders: some statistics (HERE)
This is not for parents – it’s statistics, so it doesn’t apply to any individual. The graphs I produced here are popular among campaigners.
England’s new eating-disorder treatment standard: a model for the rest of the world? (HERE)
Very, very exciting improvements on the way. An idiot’s guide to standards everyone should be emulating.
List of previous posts (HERE)