P H I L O S O P H Y & A P P R O A C H
If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you. I came to live out loud.
-- Emile Zola
As a team of individuals who devote their lives to studying and treating individuals with eating disorders, we have come to the conclusion that eating disorders are actually a very poor name for these disorders. Actually, eating disorders are not about eating. In our view, individuals who are diagnosed with an eating disorder often, or always, have a disrupted relationship with their bodies and the nature of this relationship gets in the way of their ability to live a vital and fulfilling life.
What do we mean by this? We consider the development of an individual's relationship with his or her body much like the transactions between a parent and an infant. An infant gives what is initially a cry that could mean anything - the child is hungry, tired, wants to play, wants to be held, needs a diaper change, or needs to make an impact on the world. The parent takes a guess as to what the cry might mean and watches what happens next.
Over time, the parent learns what each cry means and gets better at responding with what the child needs in that moment...
HE OR SHE GETS TO KNOW THEIR CHILD.
The child, in turn, increasingly feels that his or her parent is pretty swell, and that he or she exists...
THE CHILD IS A HUMAN BEING WHO CAN HAVE AN IMPACT ON HIS OR HER ENVIRONMENT.
With development, the goal of a child, an emerging adolescent or an adult, is to become her or his own parent ~ to "self-parent." In other words, an individual tunes into the messages of the body (e.g., hunger pains, gut butterflies, heart palpitations) and learns, via trial and error, what these sensations mean and how to meet the need that these sensations are communicating. As a result of this back and forth with oneself, an individual comes to know oneself, trust oneself, and believe in his and her capacity to impact the environment.
We believe that, in individuals with eating disorders, this relationship somehow got derailed and our job, in both our research and in our treatment, is to help individuals learn to listen, decode, and respond to what their body is telling them - and see what unfolds once one has a trusting relationship with oneself.
To do this, our interventions have the following components:
B. Incorporation of Empirically Validated Treatments
C. Development of Innovative Interventions
Barbara Dale Hanes