November 23, 2012


Eating disorders are not voluntary. Nobody would choose to have anorexia, bulimia, or overeating.

Eating disorders emerge for a variety of reasons but are never voluntary and it is crucial for people close to those suffering with eating disorders to understand this and to show respect. This includes family, friends and professionals.

The treatment of eating disorders includes challenging the beliefs and behaviours that maintain the disordered eating pattern. While this challenging is important, it must be done in the context of respect and support for the client as well as their family.

There is no reason or excuse to disrespect people for their eating disorders at any time. In my decades of experience, that is just plain wrong.

If you have thoughts on this, please leave your comments below.

Dr. Charles Fishman

One Response to “Respect”

  1. Jenny says:

    I just showed my other daughter this (the one without an eating disorder) and she looked skeptical…

    Do you have any idea what the support is like for people with eating disorders in Dunedin? I’m tossing up shifting there instead of Wellington.

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Book: Enduring Change in Eating Disorders

Enduring Change in Eating Disorders - Book Cover

Dr Fishman is the author of 'Enduring Change in Eating Disorders – Interventions with long -term results' (Brunner-Routledge 2004).

This book presents the powerful and proven effective model of Intensive Structural Family Therapy and its application to the treatment of eating disorders.