Family therapy has proven to be an important element in the treatment of patients with eating disorders.

Family therapy focuses on communication and conflict management. Family therapy promotes a strong parental alliance, resolution of family conflict and support for the child or adult’s developing independence. Family therapy also helps people understand the role the eating disorder has played within their family, what factors may be maintaining the disorder, and how to differentiate between their family member and their family member’s illness.

What role does family therapy play in a multidisciplinary eating disorder service?

Families, carers and partners can often feel helpless when a person they care about are struggling with an eating disorder and may have many questions and concerns. Through some family work, experienced staff will offer the opportunity to answer these questions and help alleviate some worries.

Throughout your loved ones treatment, our competent staff supply continuous contact with the family. This will help to prepare them for the challenges that may arise while at home and how to manage difficult situations in the most effective way. This will vary from person to person dependant on their requirements and their individual care plan. There are options for ‘check ins’ over the phone/Skype, inviting the family to come for some family work with the mental health nurse and also, if ok with the person, they may come for a partial session with their loved ones involvement.

How does family therapy help a child or adult with an eating disorder?

The NICE guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recommend family therapy in the treatment of eating disorders and it can form a central part of the recovery process. Family therapy helps a child or adult with an eating disorder express their thoughts and emotions on the causes or maintenance of their disordered eating to their family in a safe and relaxed environment. Family therapy gives families the opportunity to express how the disordered eating affects them in a calm environment, and provides both children and families a space to work together to resolve conflict or develop recovery strategies together.


Family therapy is used in best practice for the treatment of children and adults with an eating disorder. Family therapy aims to bring both the child and the family together in a safe space to discuss any thoughts, questions or concerns. This therapy aims to target both conflict resolution and recovery solutions in a way that is understood by everyone and that both the child and their family have agreed upon. Family therapy aims to build and strengthen trust, understanding and empathy within a family unit.

Our team can help you to live a normal and healthy life outside of your treatment. We always work with you at the centre of our service, and treatment will be at a pace to suit you. If you want help with any of the issues discussed then please discuss with your parent or carer if required, or contact us.

Are you worried about a loved one?

If you're worried that someone close to you has an eating disorder, get in touch with us. We encourage that you talk with your loved one to see if they recognise or understand their eating behaviours.

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Do you need help yourself?

The first step to recovery takes courage, openness and honesty. Recognising that you need help with an eating disorder is a substantial achievement.

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All our therapists are here to listen to you and offer support so that we can decide the best treatment plan for you.

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