Misplaced & Misunderstood

Having an ED can lead to feeling misunderstood and misplaced within the family. Families often experience an eating disorder as very threatening and find it hard to come together and talk. Family therapy provides a space where everyone’s feelings, thoughts and experiences can be shared and further explored. 

 Control, Dependence & Power

A person with an ED is dependent upon their family for emotional, psychological and financial support. Family therapy offers a systematic approach for finding the best way of bringing the resources of the family group together to overcome the eating disorder”


Not Seen, Not Heard

An ED has an enormous impact upon the whole family. Siblings of a young person with an ED often feel unable to share their own emotions and worries with their parents, for fear of further adding to their burden. They want to help their sibling and are frightened about what is happening to them, but are unsure about how to support them.

Family therapy enables siblings to ask questions they may feel unable to raise at home. They can listen to the emotional perspective of their parents, which may not be easily available at home

About Family Therapy

What is Family Therapy?

Family Therapy helps people in close relationship help each other. It enables family members, couples and others who care about each other to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.

Who is Family Therapy for?

Family Therapy is for people who are connected to each other in a relationship and care for one another. Different cultures and different groups of individuals have different notions of what ‘family’ means.

Family therapy is suitable for children, young people, couples and families. Individuals can find Family Therapy helpful, as an opportunity to reflect on important relationships and find ways forward.

How can Family Therapy help us communicate?

Family therapy is a process that looks to understand people’s beliefs and explore emotions and feelings associated to these processes in a collaborative way.  Finding new ways of communicating will involve some practice.  Recognising the efforts that each person is making may take time and effort.

As a Family Therapists I aim not to take sides, blame, or provide simple ‘one size fits all’ answers. I aim to engage you in sharing understandings and views with each other and exploring ways forward that work for you.

Does the whole family have to come?

No. I may see children and adults individually and/or in family member groups. I  may work with couples and with people across the lifespan, from children to older people.

Sometimes, when one person or group is keen to try Family Therapy others close to them may be more reluctant. This is understandable. Going to Family Therapy can feel like a big step and some people are more ready to take it than others.

It may be useful to arrange an initial meeting and to discuss the possibility of working together and give everyone a chance to air their concerns and ask questions.

How is Family Therapy helpful when someone has disordered eating in the family?

Family therapy involves family members working together to overcome difficulties. Regular sessions or meetings can  bring together with an eating disorder, the significant people in their life and a Family Therapist. The significant people are usually parents and siblings, but might also include step-parents, grandparents and a long term partner.

Feelings, experiences and issues are explored together, taking into account the different perspectives of everyone involved. Although families often want to understand why an eating disorder has developed, family therapy is not about finding a ’cause’ or apportioning blame. It is a positive, forward thinking approach seeking to find solutions and ways forward.

Is Family Therapy suitable for couples?

Yes, Family Therapy can be helpful for couples who feel stuck in ways that they currently feel unhelpful.  I can offer an opportunity to talk about what is happening and help you as a couple to find new ways to relate to each other.  The purpose would be to reduce distress, improve communication and increase resilience.

How often do we need to come to Family Therapy?

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to help people free up their strengths and find ways forward. Sometimes difficulties are more complex and families may need longer to find solutions that work for them. I will be happy to discuss timings and timescales with you.

Meetings (or ‘sessions’) will usually last between 50-120 minutes, depending on your needs. I aim to make people feel welcome, and to give everyone a chance to contribute to discussions if they wish.

Is Family Therapy helpful in conjunction with Individual Therapy?

This depends on a number of factors and we can discuss this during our first appointment.