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Evidence-Based vs Myth Based Treatment: presentation at Virtual ICED

Recently, I was honored to be invited to speak as part of a Plenary panel at the Virtual ICED put on by the Academy for Eating Disorders and ANZAED.

Plenary panels are sessions for the entire conference audience and feature a panel of a few views of an issue followed by a discussant’s presentation comparing and discussing the different views. This was the third time I have been asked to be on an ICED Plenary panel, and I have organized two ICED plenaries, so I very honored to have been asked onto this one and do not take the opportunity lightly.

ICED features several plenaries each year, this one was focused on the topic of Treatment.

I’ll let the presentation speak for itself. It was a rare opportunity to make the plea from my perspective to an audience with the influence and power to bring change. I am republishing it here by request, and to give these ideas a wider audience.



  1. Kaz

    I hated FBT too (our version of it as we had no professional guidance in the beginning I just fed my d 3 Normal meals and 3 normal snacks a day)
    Once she relapsed she needed to be fed via NG tube in hospital and had to relearn how to eat again
    My daughter required 3 IP admittances
    Once discharged I still helped her with meals – cooking and supervising her eating
    Once in OP I was automatically not part of her “care team” even though we fully supported her financially and emotionally
    Roof over her head, car, bills etc (including all medical bills)
    I think this is possibly where change needs to happen
    My daughter had to be willing to go into hospital as it was voluntary admittance only
    I think once OP if they are being fully supported by their parents we should be part of the team
    Otherwise (for us anyway) I feel like the treatment team are just making it difficult for us to function as a family and in fact
    I feel Our family dynamic had become quite toxic and dysfunctional because of us not being part of the “team” (My son pointed this out to me)
    And even though I too hate FBT (our version of it) I am/was willing to do it but I can’t as my daughter is given all control of her meals/cooking/etc and I am told to back off and when I contact The professionals I am told I have no right to information
    There needs to be a better way surely?
    We are more than happy to support her but at the moment it just divides us all and I actually have given up as I feel powerless

    What is one to do when ones kid is SO sick they need to be in hospital (hospitals don’t admit them for the fun of it) but at the same time at the end of it they are handed back to the family (they don’t come home cured as everyone here knows) to pick up the pieces and carry on
    There needs to be a middle ground or agreement at the beginning of treatment that the patient starts to struggle the family can be contacted/involved regardless of age ??
    Maybe someone will read/hear this who is in a position To make changes
    All we want is for our kids to get better and live a good life
    Just my thoughts from our families experience
    Did I mention I hate AN as well?

  2. JoeMac

    Thank you for your post. Your conflict and anguish is palpable; and I worry we’ll be in that predicament in 1-2 years. Stay strong.

  3. Mike

    Thank you for reposting. I have hated FBT too and we felt like we were the only ones not getting some sort of manual or set of instructions. It has felt like “FBT works so, off you go!” and everything was anecdotal and vague. Our first “specialist” essentially sent us away and said come back in 6 months. For lack of anything else, we found ourselves comparing our daughter’s situation to the stories of random strangers on social media and adjusting accordingly just because it was something to compare to. Any data point online, regardless of the actual relevancy to our specific situation, because an anchor to judge ourselves by. There seems to be so much trial-and-error and shoulder shrugs that all seem to just delay recovery. As parents, the self-blame is very real. We constantly think “Why can’t get we get this” and think everyone else is just doing so much better. FBT meant that suddenly we had to be nutritionists and counselors and experts and mind-readers and nonchalant self-care advocates. And do all of this while in a society that doesn’t understand and marginalizes eating disorders so that suddenly we felt very alone and adrift trying to help our daughter through something we didn’t understand but that could kill her. FEAST has been an important source of information and at the very least the knowledge that we were not alone in feeling like this.

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