March 14, 2006

Eating Disorder Clinic Opened

NZ Eating Disorder Specialists Opens First Clinic In New Zealand to Offer Distinctive Proven Family Therapy Approach for Long Term Success From Eating Disorders.

Intensive Structural Therapy – a profound shift way from seeing the disease as the individual’s problem – focus on joint care of family and changing social environment.

NZ Eating Disorder Specialists has opened its private clinic in Auckland to help people and their families overcome eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. The clinic has 30 years of expertise and is the only clinic in New Zealand using the family therapy approach of Intensive Structural Therapy. As a profound shift away from therapy which treats eating disorders as an individual problem, Intensive Structural Therapy has had proven long term success from changing patients social environment and family interactions.

“Establishing a clinic is an important part of our efforts to show that eating disorders need to be addressed as one of the most fatal psychiatric diseases per capita and are becoming more prevalent in New Zealand society,”

said Charles Fishman M.D, Director at the NZ Eating Disorder Specialists.

Success comes not only from the patient gaining a satisfactory amount of weight or controlling overeating but also involving everyone who is influential in the person’s life such as family, friends and co-workers. They help the person overcome their eating disorder by changing the way they interact with the patient, thereby becoming a healing resource.”

Eating disorders are notoriously difficult to treat. Though diet, fashion and body image are all contributory factors, NZ Eating Disorder Specialists recognises that eating disorders are maintained by the person’s social context and avoiding conflict. According to Eating Disorder Services in New Zealand as many as 10% of adolescent girls in New Zealand go through a mild phase of almost anorexia. It seems to be increasing and presumably this is due to social factors.

NZ Eating Disorder Specialists recognise that eating disorders, though affecting people predominantly in teenage years and twenties, are also growing more common in younger children and women in their 30’s plus.

About Intensive Structural Therapy

Intensive Structural Therapy has in common with all family therapies that the focus needs to be on the family, nuclear and extend. Anyone who is influential in the person’s life is included in the therapy.

The effectiveness of Intensive Structural Therapy has been widely supported. It is based on Structural Family Therapy which was developed in the US by Salvador Minuchin, M.D and emanated out of the work at a school which had some of the most difficult young people sent there by the court.

About Dr Fishman

Dr Fishman is also the Clinical Director of Youthlink Family Trust, a residential programme funded by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Service for youths with significant and longstanding emotional and behavioural problems. He also manages an outpatient client in West Auckland to provide therapy to children with less severe behavioural problems.

From 2002 to 2005, Dr Fishman was the Clinical Director for Maori Mental Health Waitemata DHB (District Health Board). In this role he provided direct clinical care and developed programs to build a comprehensive system of care for the Maori community of West and North Auckland.

He is the author of Enduring Change in Eating Disorders, which follows his successful treatment of cases of anorexia and bulimia with patients as long as 20 years after treatment.

NZ Eating Disorder Specialists:

  • 30 years experience in treating eating disorders
  • First clinic specialising in Intensive Structural Therapy in New Zealand:
    1. Treats individual and influential members
    2. Assesses pressures in the individual’s life
    3. Addresses dysfunctional patterns for example with therapeutic lunch sessions
    4. Sets new patterns for the family
    5. Ends therapy when new patterns set not just the individual stopping their behaviour
  • Director Charles Fishman. Clinical Director for Youthlink Family Trust, Former Clinical Director for Maori Mental Health Waitemata DHB. Presented widely internationally on eating disorders, including at the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) and Harvard University (US)

The NZ Eating Disorder Specialists can be contacted on

8 Responses to “Eating Disorder Clinic Opened”

  1. Diane R. says:

    Looking for eating disorder therapy in Auckland. Any contacts or leads are appreciated for adult female. Diane

  2. Dear Diane,
    I provide treatment for eating disorders in Auckland.

    To schedule an appointment, please fill out our contact form.

    Of course, there is the Regional Eating Disorder service at Green Lane Hospital.

    Kind regards,

  3. Jen says:

    Hi. Are you able to recommend a councellor/psychologist who specialises in eating disorders in ChCh. I am 47 years old and have struggled with bulimia and depression for over 20 years. I have attended an eating disorders clinic overseas but it was not right for me. The only services available here seem targeted at teenagers and young adults. I would consider private councelling but don’t know where to start. I have almost given up all hope of finding help and am not even sure if I should even be trying again given my past failures. Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks, Jen.

  4. Katie says:

    Hi Jen

    I am not a qualified Councillor or psychologist, but I suffered from Anorexia/Bulimia in 2010. I found it helped a lot talking to others who suffer from what i did and i would love to talk to you about what you are experiencing. I am fully recovered and life is pretty much as it was before

    Its a horrible illness but dont give up. It cant and wont defeat you and i can tell that you want to be free of this illness because you are seeking help.

    Feel free to contact me Jen

    Hang in there


  5. Mary-Kate says:

    Jen, I am 26years old and find that most support is for children. If you would like to email we could support each other.

  6. Krista says:

    Hi all,

    I am 28 and struggling with Bulimia. I dont have much support here in New Zealand (originally from australia) and would love to know of anyone who has either recovered or is recovering and could offer some advice/support. Just would be nice to know im now alone. Cheers, Krista

  7. Ammele says:

    Hi Krista 🙂

    I’ve had bulimia, but avoided the issue for very long. I’d say the best thing would be to try reach out. For me, trying to solve it on my own has not helped; I’m no longer bulimic, but my issues surrounding food has still not disappeared, only transformed into something else. So I’m going to try give therapy a go.. I think with bulimia you can go to your GP, and they will direct you to someone. Takes a lot of guts to walk up to a doctor and say that though :S

    I hope you find some help and recover well!

  8. Mary-Kate says:

    Krista, would you like to email and support each other? I’m 26 and too have bulimia

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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.