Eating Disorders – Who Is To Blame?

I recently read an interesting article by Dr. Michael Katz in Body Image, April 20th, 2011 titled: “Confusion about Family-Based Treatment (FBT) of Eating Disorders.” I was drawn to the subject of this article, as it addressed the difficulties for parents seeking treatment for their teenagers and children who suffer from eating disorders. Dr. Michael Katz referenced the work of James Lock, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Stanford, and psychiatric director of the Comprehensive Eating Disorders Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Lock’s study, which was published on Oct. 4, 2010 in the Archives of General Psychology, compared the treatment of anorexia using individual treatment versus treatment involving the whole family, or what Lock calls “FBT”.

In my experience working with families with teenagers suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, there is often a sense of shame and/or a sense of personal blame and responsibility on the part of the parent. What I found interesting and comforting, for those who have a loved one struggling with an eating disorder, is that James Lock’s research pointed to the importance of family involvement in helping an adolescent overcome this destructive and deadly disorder. He pointed to the family as the central component of recovery for teens suffering from anorexia. In his study the cornerstone of treatment, which involved restoring familial relationships, did not focus on what most parents fear when seeking treatment for their anorexic or bulimic teen: a therapist finding fault in the parent and assigning blame to them for mistakes they may have made, and suggesting that they serve as the central cause of the eating disorder. Lock’s model instead incorporates family members as a part of the healing process, and avoids assigning blame to parents. Lock, using this framework, found a success rate that was much higher the success rate for teens receiving solely individual treatment.

For more information related to this study, please reference the full article to read more about Dr. Michael Katz’s review or James Lock’s study for parents who are struggling with a child or adolescent who suffers from an eating disorder.

My Qualifications

  • • Licensed MFT
  • • MFC #47955
  • • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist
  • • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor
  • • Certified EMDR Therapist
  • • Tri Lingual Capabilities
  • • 15+ Years of Experience
  • • Professional Associations:

  • Professional Associations

    My Office / Location

    219 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Suite 201
    Claremont CA 91711
    Phone: (562) 281-7752