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8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health) Paperback – November 7, 2011

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8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health) + Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too + Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling
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Product Details

  • Series: 8 Keys to Mental Health
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 8 Keys to Mental Health edition (November 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393706958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393706956
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“[R]emarkably readable . . . . [C]ontains much that a counselor would find useful and it could form the basis for a programme that client and counselor tackled together.” (Therapy Today)

“Carolyn Costin was my eating disorder therapist, and I credit her with my recovery. 8 Keys gives the reader the same insight, inspiration, and tools that Carolyn gave me. It's straight-forward, well-written, and allows the reader to actively participate in her own recovery. I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder.” (Portia de Rossi)

“Carolyn Costin is the first person who ever looked me in the eyes and said, You can be fully recovered from your eating disorder. In The 8 Keys of Recovery, she and Gwen Grabb say just that. Even better, they provide real wisdom and guidance on how to actually find that freedom. I highly recommend this book!” (Jenni Schaefer, author of Goodbye Ed, Hello Me and Life Without Ed)

“In 8 Keys to Recovery Costin and Grabb courageously disclose details of their own eating disorder histories, and also engage in revealing dialogue about Grabb’s successful (if sometimes difficult) treatment by Costin. In doing so, they expose the most intimate challenges of living with and healing an eating disorder both personally and professionally. Costin and Grabb enlighten the reader with the knowledge they gained from failure as well as success, literally, from the inside out.” (Babette Rothschild, author of 8 Keys to Trauma Recovery Trauma Essentials and The Body Remembers)

“Costin and Grabb support their clients so they can learn to accept and understand instead of always having to fight their illness. Their keys are clear and flexible.” (PsychCentral)

“By the time I got to the third key, I had stopped writing down highlights for this review because the value of this book is greater than the sum of the eight individual keys. Not only do I believe this book can be extremely helpful to someone suffering from an eating disorder, but I believe it could be helpful for other practitioners who are not specialized in eating disorders.” (Dietsinreview.com)

“This brave and hopeful book melds difficult personal narrative with the intimacies of a therapist-client relationship…The book not only offers great insight into how to beat this formidable illness/addiction, but supplies the motivation to do so. It should be in the hands of everyone who suffers from this affliction, directly or indirectly.” (The Globe and Mail)

About the Author

Carolyn Costin MA, MEd, MFT, founder of Monte Nido Treatment Center, is a therapist, activist, author, and renowned eating disorder expert.

Gwen Schubert Grabb is a psychotherapist in private practice. She lives in Palos Verdes Penninsula, California.

Babette Rothschild, MSW, LCSW, has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1976. Author of 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery and the best-selling The Body Remembers, and member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, she gives lectures and professional trainings around the world. She is the editor of Norton's 8 Keys to Mental Health Series. She lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Thank you Carolyn and Gwen for sharing your hard earned wisdom.
Becky Henry
Great book for anyone who is suffering or who has suffered from an eating disorder.
You will feel your feelings and know how to challenge your thoughts.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Deb on April 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
To give my authentic reaction to _8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder_, I'll share an excerpt from the e-mail I wrote to the author soon after I completed the book:
"I absolutely loved this book!!! Similar to my experience with your other book, I enthusiastically savored every nourishing word! I just love how the book explains, organizes, demystifies, and humanizes eating disorder treatment and recovery. This book has already informed and shaped the therapy sessions I have held since reading it. (I feel like I've been channeling it in all my recent sessions!)"

For therapists, those who suffer from eating disorders, and their loved ones, this book offers a complete and satisfying menu. It's divided into eight "main courses" which are the keys to eating disorder recovery:
Key 1: Motivation, Patience, and Hope
Key 2: Your Healthy Self Will Heal Your Eating Disorder Self
Key 3: It's Not About the Food
Key 4: Feel Your Feelings, Challenge Your Thoughts
Key 5: It *Is* About the Food
Key 6: Changing Your Behaviors
Key 7: Reach Out to People Rather Than Your Eating Disorder
Key 8: Finding Meaning and Purpose

Flavoring each of these courses are highly informative, well-organized, easy-to-digest, and satisfying explorations of all aspects of the eating disorder recovery process. For example, the beginning of the book provides a birdseye view of the ten phases of eating disorder recovery (pp. 14-16):
1. I don't think I have a problem.
2. I might have a problem but it's not that bad.
3. I have a problem but I don't care.
4. I want to change but I don't know how and I'm scared.
5. I tried to change but I couldn't.
6. I can stop some of the behaviors but not all of them.
Read more ›
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
It is probably true to say that we all know someone with an eating disorder and we may ourselves have struggled with eating too much or too little. I personally have in the past self-medicated with food but didn't realize I was doing this due to a period of depression in my life. Society also puts a lot of pressure on us to eat (don't you want another helping?) or not to eat (that will make you fat). So it is very likely that anyone reading this book will easily relate to the issues presented. Mainly this book gives hope that you can overcome an eating disorder. This may however not be a short-term project and may require real lifestyle changes. You may really have to fight to get better. That is where this books comes in and guides you gently to recovery. There is an excellent section on how you can strengthen your healthy self with self-talk. Healing may come from confronting your thoughts. This book will help you change your behaviors so you can get healthy again. This book even deals with compulsive exercise. Basically the authors help you deal compassionately with yourself and this leads to positive change.

~The Rebecca Review

I received a free copy of this book for review.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jade014 on December 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
As both a therapist, and in recovery myself, I found this book to be extremely informative and inclusive. I have read countless books on the subject, and found that "8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder" effortlessly weaves together the many therapies and directions one could take to better understand, and eventually heal, from an eating disorder.

The unusual format, in which we hear client and therapist perspectives both between Grabb and Costin, and within each author (having each been "on both sides of the couch"), is an effective antidote to shame, and provides hope for full recovery.

The writing assignments interspersed throughout the book may feel overwhelming at first, but bring a much-needed awareness to thoughts and behaviors that often go unchallenged. From personal experience, I know how pervasive and insidious the inner critic (aka The Eating Disorder Self, or Ed) is, and how it can stick around far longer than the behaviors themselves. If you have been working at recovery for a while (like myself) the questions will likely look familiar. But what's different from other books, is how the exercises build on themselves. And the authors' honest disclosures help to normalize some of the thoughts and behaviors that often keep us locked in shame.

I was also impressed by the inclusion of progressive practices, such as mindfulness and self-compassion, which are rapidly receiving the respect and attention that they deserve.

For therapists: This book is a comprehensive resource for supporting your clients.
For clients: This book offers support for wherever you are in your recovery. And even though it is written by two therapists, it is very approachable, as Grabb and Costin have a wonderful way of explaining concepts, often relying on personal experience to provide examples.

Thank you, Grabb and Costin -- I've been waiting for this!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By reader on February 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a godsend to me as a mother whose daughter is recovering from anorexia and bulimia. It gives me such hope to read Gwen's detailed account of her own struggles with a serious eating disorder (many which parallel my daughter's experiences) and how she ultimately fully recovered to become a successful wife, mother, therapist, and author.

Because both Gwen and Carolyn suffered with eating disorders and went on to recover and become ED therapists, they offer unique insights and perspective in telling their story. I found it so compelling that Carolyn, as Gwen's therapist, was able to eventually guide her out of her deeply carved ED abyss by peeling away the layers of Gwen's resistance to finally identify the motivator that would silence Gwen's unhealthy voice once and for all.

With the secrecy and shame that surrounds an eating disorder, as well as the necessary privacy of therapy sessions, it can be difficult for parents to understand what their daughter is going through, what goes on in therapy, what recovery entails, understanding intuitive eating, etc. I found it so helpful and eye opening to follow Gwen's thoughts from the onset of her eating disorder and into its depths, and all the way through to her full recovery, and appreciate that she reveals the specifics of her disordered behaviors and the therapy details that would normally remain secret and behind closed doors. Relaying her experiences in the manner she has gives me comfort and an understanding that the recovery process can be long but to not give up hope.

The authors' empathetic and approachable tone is comforting, especially to someone like me who didn't know who to turn to for help for my daughter. I appreciate that they offer their contact information for additional help and resources. Though it is primarily a self-help book, it is a must read for anyone who has a friend or child suffering from an eating disorder.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Carolyn recovered herself from anorexia nervosa over twenty-five years ago. Her own recovery is a primary factor in her understanding of and establishing empathy with her clients. Carolyn served as director for several hospital programs but soon realized the need to have a more home-like environment for optimum treatment to take place. She created her unique 6-bed residential program, Monte Nido, to serve this purpose.

Her unique combination of experience, training, and passion have led Carolyn to national recognition, as have her accomplishments in the field of eating disorders. She is a frequent speaker at national eating disorder conferences and is a member of several national eating disorder organizations. Carolyn is on the editorial board of "The Eating Disorder Journal of Treatment and Prevention" and writes on issues pertaining to eating disorders for various magazines and publications. Carolyn is also the author of two books, Your Dieting Daughter and The Eating Disorder Sourcebook. Carolyn stays versed in the etiology and treatment of eating disorders on cultural, developmental, biological and psychological levels.

In addition to Monte Nido, Carolyn is also director of The Eating Disorder Center of California, which offers her approach to recovery in an intensive day-treatment program. Despite overseeing her clinics and participating in a wide range of responsibilities, such as being a board member of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) and traveling the country lecturing, Carolyn continues to maintain a hands-on approach at Monte Nido Treatment Center, providing both individual and group therapy.

In Spring 2006, Carolyn will be opening a new affiliate, RainRock, a 10-bed facility, located near Eugene, Oregon on the McKenzie River. RainRock will follow the philosophy and protocols of the successful treatment program developed by Carolyn at Monte Nido in Malibu, California.

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