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The Clinician's Guide to Collaborative Caring in Eating Disorders: The New Maudsley Method
Reviewed by Scott J. Crow, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2010;167:723-724. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.09121826
View Author and Article Information
Minneapolis, Minn.

The author reports receiving research support from Novartis and Pfizer.

Accepted January , 2010.

Copyright © American Psychiatric Association

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Eating disorders typically present in adolescence or young adulthood. There has been much recent interest in the use of family-based therapies for adolescents, particularly those with anorexia nervosa (and perhaps also for those with bulimia nervosa). This family-based therapy has proven to be extremely useful for adolescents, yielding response rates for anorexia nervosa much higher than those seen in adults. However, some individuals with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa have their illness onset after adolescence. Others receive family-based therapy but don't respond; still others never are able to access this treatment while they are adolescents. For all these reasons, more effective treatment strategies are needed for adults with eating disorders.

This excellent volume attempts to expand the involvement of family members and others who care for those who have eating disorders. Most notably, the book attempts to reframe a long-standing conceptualization of family members, suggesting them as potential allies to recovery rather than barriers to recovery, root causes of the eating disorder, or both. While this blaming model has been substantially abandoned in recent years, it remains a view held by some and, unfortunately, probably reflects persisting community "wisdom" for many.

The book is relatively novel in several respects, including the inclusion of sections provided by family members of those with eating disorders, the description of a formal program for family members of adults transitioning from inpatient to outpatient treatment, and the application of therapeutic writing to eating disorder treatment. Some aspects of the book are, in their specific detail, local to the United Kingdom. However, while the specific details may be local, the underlying principles are universal and useful to discuss. Examples include the issue of compulsory treatment, as well as using technological methods for addressing the problem of absence or specialized eating disorder services.

The editors of this book have attempted to target a wide variety of clinicians working with persons with eating disorders in their families. Without a doubt, they achieved this aim quite successfully. It is a relatively unique and important addition to the literature.

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