If you are a parent of a teen with an eating disorder, you may want to add a new book by fellow Psychology Today blogger and noted author, Harriet Brown, to your reading list. The book, Brave Girl Eating, exquisitely details the highs and lows her family encountered when her adolescent daughter was diagnosed with anorexia. It documents their journey to find quality treatment and "refeed" their daughter back to health. She spoke last night at a benefit by the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders and Fairmount Center for the Arts. Harriet Brown describes in the first chapter and throughout the book the pain and agony of having an eating disorder and how it impacts the entire family. She also attempts to dispel many of the eating disorder myths like the outdated notion that they only for "spoiled rich girls." Men and women from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are diagnosed with eating disorders.
The author writes about watching the child she loves and adores wither away to a complex and curious illness. It is difficult for any parent to wrap their head around anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. But it is clear that Harriet Brown, for better or worse, understands eating disorders. She describes the "eating disorder voice," the sheer terror of eating and the skewed logic that kept her daughter hooked into anorexia.
Brave Girl Eating also discusses the Maudsley Method. In this approach, parents are not blamed or pathologized. In fact, it is quite the opposite. They are key to treatment and on the front lines to help their child recover. It is an intensive outpatient treatment created by adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists at the Maudsley Hospital in London. Dr. Le Grange, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago and Dr. James Lock Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine as well as other professionals around the country have shown the efficacy and utility of this approach. (to learn more about it click here or F.E.A.S.T).
Thank you Harriet for coming to Cleveland and for helping educate parents about eating disorders and the wonderful role they can take in helping their kids to recover.
Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns, and mindfulness. She is the author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful, and Mindful Eating 101 and is a Huffington Post blogger. Her books have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, O, the Oprah Magazine, Natural Health, Self Magazine and on the Dr. Oz T.V. show. Visit Albers online at http://www.eatingmindfully.com