Family Therapy with Eating Disorders

Why Family Therapy?
Parents (and other family members) often carry a sense of fear, guilt, anger, sadness, confusion, and shame. We could go on, because the list of emotions that parents go through is huge. After hearing that your beloved on has an eating disorder you will have numerous questions. In your efforts to make sense of this information, many parents describe countless hours of ruminating over what they (the parents) could have done differently to prevent this from happening.

Family therapy is an important part of treatment in that is involves the work of the entire family. The main goal of family therapy is to promote change within the system. Family therapy is usually done when a malfunction is observed within a family, contributing to problems that concern the overall ability of your beloved one, but also the family as a whole, to function. Although, sometimes parents are divorced and/or one of the parents is absent this form of therapy is crucial to those suffering with eating disorders in that in promotes healing for the entire family.

What is Family Therapy?
Family Therapy is a form of psychotherapy where all family relationships play an important factor in psychological well-being. We belief that encouraging family participation and involvement is crucial.

Family therapy has been applied effectively for a wide range of problems and/or addictions. The number of family sessions may vary.  Typically, a coach or therapist would meet several family members simultaneously to observe differences when families interact. Destructive family patterns will be discussed and will be encouraged to break.

Family therapy could include:

  • Family Therapy: Any therapeutic approach that treats a family as a whole
  • Couple Therapy: Family therapy that focuses on communication between parents/partners
  • Structural family therapy: Address problems in function within a family and involves a therapist who would “join” the family system in therapy (at home, when having dinner for instance)
  • Strategic family therapy: Method of focusing on specific problems that can be addressed in a shorter time frame than other therapies. (Discussing and breaking free from the drama triangle)

Family therapy and eating disorders

  • Behavioral family therapy
  • Functional Family therapy
  • Multisystem family therapy
  • Family Systems Therapy
  • Family Counseling

Family therapy can be utilized when a change is desired in the manner which a family functions.  Family therapy might be considered when a malfunction exists within a family and the problems concern the overall ability of the family to function.  Family therapy is a vital and essential component of any comprehensive method to the treatment of eating disorders.  Family therapy for eating-disordered patients attempts to eliminate any possible life-threatening symptoms and initiate a therapeutic process of healing for the entire family.  Current research has demonstrated the effectiveness of the use of family therapy within the population of eating disorder patients.  Furthermore, family therapy may be applied to various other disorders, such as substance abuse, depression, and mood disorders.


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