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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Wrong Treatment

Hi to all my bloggees, I've been away for a while just thinking about what I need to be paying attention to and watching the Olympics.
I’ve just had a 65 year old woman on the phone wondering how much we charge for treatment and if we had a helpline for her to pour out her troubles with lifelong binge eating.

I said, yes treatment costs money and a helpline won’t help you, only treatment will help you.

Have you had treatment before?

I hear that she has had some really good treatment. She has had “counselling”. Her counsellor told her to imagine that there was a bowl of sick in the fridge alongside all the other foods. Her counsellor told her that she would lose her toes if she continued overeating and that being fat made her a bad mother. Her counsellor knew bugger-all about nutrition and the brain. Her counsellor told her just to eat cereals whenever she felt cravings. Duuh?

Then she had really good CBT. Among other things this person told her to imagine that hair was all over her favourite foods. Was this CBT person an eating disorder specialist? She didn’t know.

Now she has spent some time at a slimming club. Her leader suggests that she should eat a whole chicken every time she wants to binge and this will cure her.

This poor soul has gone through this counselling travesty believing that she is a hopeless case. I told her that I was sorry for her, having such appalling “professional” help.

People with eating disorders need  Eating Disorder Specialists. They don’t need ex-sufferers or addiction specialists, or generalists, or therapies not grounded in evidence at the very least. Therapists can only play with their toolboxes when they have the right kind of training. This training must be very long and very deep.

I don’t know whether we will hear from this poor soul again. I hope we do. I hope that she can look inside her purse and come to us to change her life.

Have you had lousy treatment?  Tell me all about your rogues galleries of bad therapists. We can put your stories up on the blog and stick pins in them. Or just stick pins in them.


  1. Hi, Yes I have had lousy treatment. I am going to the Phoenix wing at St. Anne's hospital in North London. It is awful, I dread going there so much. The liaison nurses are amazing, really knowledgeable, helpful, kind, understanding etc. In the 20 months I have been there I have had 5 different doctors who all have a different diagnoses for me (from mild bulimia to mild anorexia, and everything in between. I have been on the waiting list for psychological therapy for 20 months now and when this summer it looked like I would finally get some help, they decided to drop me down the list again because my BMI was ok at the time. Since I heard that I decided to loose more weight so that I am finally allowed some support. Lost one dress size so far, so maybe now I will be seen. When I was referred to the unit I was bulimic, apparently only mildly so because I was only throwing up 8 times a day. I took that as it being not so bad, so I increased that as well when I was told that. I was offered a place on a 2 day program. I really wanted to do it and took time off work for it andhad my intake for it. Then my doctor left the hospital and my new doctor felt that that prgram wasnot right for me so she took me off it again and felt I needed psychological therapy-for which I have now been on the waiting list for 20 months. In the mean time this doctor has left as well, my new doctor didn't even know my namewhen I met her, didn't know anything about me. I felt like a big, body in her room, not like a person. I have to go in next week and just hope I have lost enough weight to finally be seen. I do get the irony in that: If I want to be heard and seen, I need to loose weight!!!! Feel very desperate and alone, need to be heard and need support. I have been begging them for help. but they never call me back. It took me 3 days to get an appointment with the crisis team because they made the referral wrong. Feel worried about going in on Tuesday next week.

    1. Suzanne, you have made yourself so much worse as a means to get the kind of help you need. I am so terribly sorry that it came to this. If you had come to see someone like me or one of our counsellors, we would have listened to you and we would not have needed you to be more ill to get the kind of attention and help you need. I dont know what is happening to you now, but we are reaching out to you to get the kind of help you need. There is a life beyond an eating disorder I pray you get there.