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The Moving Target Model

Creator: Kevin Dunn

I am a husband and father and our family has been involved in battling Anorexia Nervosa for the past 2 years. We’ve witnessed a broad range of physical and mental health lows as we’ve worked to support our daughter. Yet, in retrospect, we see distinct progress throughout every phase of the journey. We made a Moving Target Model to visually remind us that set-backs lead to stability…and stability paves the way for us to implement progressive challenges that lead our daughter away from eating disordered thoughts and behaviors and toward better health, more independence, and her authentic self.


Moving_Target_Dunn from Kevin Dunn on Vimeo.


  1. Maria

    Thank you for sharing! This model of the moving target clarifies so much in understanding that there is no singular and set way that will “fix” this disorder. Each case is different and each family must find the way to focus on that goal, that will bring their child out of the darkness and back to being well again.

    • Kevin

      Maria…thank you for viewing and commenting. As you mention, the lack of a one-size-fits-all approach that would work for every family is a great challenge, BUT also a great opportunity…because we know our loved one best.

  2. Alec R

    This is such a helpful way to reframe this journey. Emphasizing feedback, not failure, and learning from the feedback. Thanks for making this

  3. Kevin

    Alec…thank you for commenting. As you mention, being agile and adaptive with the feedback we as parents receive is paramount in this challenge.

  4. Eva Musby

    The image of the spiral is brilliant. A great visual prompt to avoid catastrophizing when something went badly, keep one’s cool, keep going.

    In fact I remember that we noticed that very often, when our daughter had a sudden big spike in resistance or distress, the next day she was WAY further ahead in wellbeing, in shedding a harmful behaviour. As though being on the left hand of that spiral catapulted her off to the right.

    It gave us hope and strength when a day was particularly hard.

    • Kevin

      Eva…thank you for viewing and commenting. We’ve found there is undeniable momentum during downturns and setbacks. Your loved one “appears” to be going “downhill,” but in the Moving Target Model, that same devolution (which is real) can be re-framed as momentum moving your loved one farther away from the original crisis behaviors and thoughts and health peril (an event we all found ourselves more or less unprepared for). So, this model views that momentum as an opportunity for parents to do more of “what works” and less of “what doesn’t” to introduce a new period of stability. Thank you!!!

  5. Catherine

    Definitely needed to hear this today. My daughter is experiencing a setback right now and I’m at a loss since she cannot see her therapy team in person at this time. Thank you for these kind words of support.

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