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When Food Is Family: A Loving Approach to Heal Eating Disorders Paperback – October 1, 2011
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An expert in treating eating disorders for more than 25 years, Scheel believes that these disorders serve as a metaphoric voice for their sufferers. She argues that healing can be achieved if families understand the causes of eating disorders, change their patterns of communication, establish greater trust and empathy, and learn how to listen to the person with the disorder. In fact, she goes on to say that eating disorders develop when there is no room for painful or negative emotions to be expressed. Scheel uses case studies to discuss typical failures in attachment, which include trying to fix daughters' problems rather than listening to their feelings, parents confusing their own needs with their children's, and insisting that daughters always act "right." She also helps parents express their own feelings and create healthy boundaries. VERDICT Written primarily for parents, therapists, and caregivers, the book offers questions that prompt thoughtful reflection and provides insight that can ultimately heal a client or daughter with an eating disorder. Scheel adds a valuable resource to literature on this disorder.--Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ --Library Journal, October 2011
Families coping with clinical eating disorders have hungered long and hard for a book like When Food Is Family. Based on her decades of experience, Judy Scheel has written the clearest, most user-friendly guide to understanding and addressing the complex emotional and relational issues underlying these frightening and mysterious problems. No shame or blame games here just information showing how disruptions in relationships or attachments have affected the individual and how these can be healed. Clearly, concisely, and compassionately, When Food Is Family conceptualizes the eating disorder as a metaphorical quest for comfort through food and provides exercises to help families and patients develop a language of emotions so feelings can be expressed directly instead of through self-destructive behaviors. When Food Is Family fills a gaping hole in the eating disorder literature this is the one book I will recommend to all family members facing an eating disorder. --Margo Maine, PhD, FAED, CEDS
Eating disorders create and deepen disconnection within families. Parents often struggle to understand their child's inability to change behaviors that are often life threatening and intractable. Eating disorders also thrive in disconnection and full recovery usually involves not only nutritional and weight restoration but real relationship repair and restoration as well.
When Food is Family provides clear and sophisticated exercises for rebuilding attachment and connection. Grounded in the science and research of attachment theory, these guided self-explorations will help families re-establish the empathy, security, and connection necessary for lasting recovery from these complicated illnesses. --Douglas W. Bunnell, Ph.D., FAED
About the Author
Judy Scheel, Ph.D., LCSW, has been treating eating disorders for more than 25 years. In her years of providing treatment she has found that mutual respect, empathy, and trust provide the foundation for familial and relational repair and recovery from an eating disorder. Helping patients live authentically is the cornerstone of her approach.
Dr. Scheel is the Founder and Executive Director of Cedar Associates, a private outpatient program specializing in treatment of eating disorders and other self-harm behaviors. She is a member of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), and the Eating Disorders Coalition, Inc.
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I might suggest you actually READ THE BOOK and read it with an open mind. I have made many films about addiction and have wonderfully joined the world of long term recovery in my own struggle. I have heard the program that gave me my life back attacked and vilified in almost the same language I read today. The Nature vs. Nuture debate goes on and on. I think it's a combination. I know that there has always been a shift from one platform to the other on a cyclic basis (in my case depending on the stance of the addiction specialist).
When my long term director friend was subjected to a 5 minute question that turned into a lengthy harangue at the film and a personal slam against him, he turned and asked the attacker: "...and what was the name of the last film you made?" I suggest you give this great book a chance and if you don't want to spend the few dollars in a multiple approach to aiding your child or yourself then go to the library. Get the book for free. BUT READ THE BOOK.
#1.) Eating disorders are afflictions of HUMAN BEINGS who can not and SHOULD NOT be understood through a reductionist and purely biological standpoint. This is dangerous. It is also impossible. THERE WILL NEVER BE A GENE that is "the eating disorders gene". It is also VERY hard to do good clinical RCT with the ED population, or most psychiatric disorders ( Drug companies fund a lot of the research and bend statistics to fit accordingly ), so beware of those who wave the "evidence based flag" around. Yes, it is nice to have evidence based data, but if one reads the studies carefully, there are often flaws in the methodology etc.
#2.) This book is not putting blame on families, but attempts to understand the role families may play in perpetuating the illness. Understanding is not blaming .
Eating disordered individuals may be as varied as the treatments used to help them. An open mind is key and the key is to understand the subjective world of the individual.
Good work Dr. Scheel!!