Information about Treating Eating Disorders

NZ Eating Disorder Specialists is established to help people overcome eating disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Over Eating. Our vision is to create a community that, through social networking, builds relationships that are supportive, caring and curing.

Eating disorders are among the most difficult problems to treat in mental health. They can be debilitating, tend toward chronicity and can be extremely dangerous. In fact, eating disorders are the most fatal of the psychiatric diagnoses per capita. This does not have to be you!

The form of treatment we use is Intensive Structural Therapy (IST) that is a profound shift from models in which the problem is seen as residing within the individual. IST successfully treats eating disorders as socially based – and the way out is changing one’s relationships.

The primary focus is on the family – which is seen as a resource for healing the eating disorder. The mainstay of IST is that treatment includes all of the people who are influential in the person’s life. For this reason it is often important to get them involved in honest, transparent communications.

From the IST perspective, with bulimia nervosa and compulsive overeating, there two central issues that maintain these eating disorders: conflict avoidance and isolation.

With interpersonal conflict issues that are not addressed, people resort to their eating disorder symptom. You are angry with somebody, rather than dealing with the issue with that person, then sufferers say to themselves: “there must be something wrong with me. I know, I’ll be a better person, I’ll lose weight. I’ll purge”. Or for compulsive overeating: “I’ll retreat and binge….”

Once these behavioural patterns in eating disorders become habitual and often if the body fat becomes low, then the sufferer often tells themselves that, “you’ll be a bad person if you eat this or if you don’t purge.” This compulsion is ubiquitous in eating disorders. It’s like having a “monkey on your back.”

The second issue is isolation, which exacerbates eating disorders. This web site is geared to helping people become part of a community of sufferers and their families and support each other.

Please remember, this site is for support and education. For specific treatment, we strongly recommend you consult a treating professional.

Next: about NZ Eating Disorder Specialists

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Book: Enduring Changes in Eating Disorders

Enduring Change in Eating Disorders - Book Cover

Endorsements from Clients

  • Hello Charles! I am unsure if you will even remember who I am haha, but this is [name withheld] – I saw you in (I think) 2017 with anorexia.

  • My wife and I felt quite emotional last Monday after our short Zoom session. All three of us hugged. It felt like the end of a relatively short but profoundly enriching journey with you which started in June at your home office on Waiheke Island.

  • Dear Dr Fishman Thank you so much for this website. I have a long history of swinging between bulimia and compulsive over-eating. I am currently a compulsive over-eater.