I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself in my new role as the “editor” of the new eatingdisordersblogs.com. I have a strong interest in supporting discussions about how clinicians and researchers can best communicate in the service of providing the highest quality of care to our clients and their families. That’s the main focus of my work at Monte Nido, and I am excited to be a part of this project because it’s an important way to keep that discussion going, just on a much broader basis. I’ll be writing an “Editor’s Note” each month to highlight some of the most interesting posts. I hope you’ll visit weekly and become an active part of this community.
One of my greatest challenges is to find a way to keep up to date with what’s happening in our field. You can read the research, follow the listservs, occasionally see something from outside our field that has obvious connections to our work, but it’s hard to keep up to date with things. In the face of the fast pace of the work, particularly given the urgency we face in helping people make significant changes in a short period of time, I sometimes find myself settling into my “go-to” explanations, interventions, and responses to questions. On the one hand, assuming I’ve got a credible response, consistency may be pretty desirable. On the other hand, there’s a risk of becoming stale and repetitious.
What is often helpful though is to hear how my colleagues are approaching these same challenges. How do they address some of the essential questions? It’s not just about how you, as a clinician, understand the issues, the research, the guidelines, and the controversies. What really matters is how you are able to communicate, engage, and motivate. Our hope is that this site becomes a resource for exploring not only our field’s critical issues but also the ways you can better develop and nurture communication and connection.
There is a list somewhere of the typical questions we all have to be prepared to answer in working with clients and families, and in designing treatment programs. How do you think and communicate about the nature/nurture questions? Is there any value for clients and families in addressing EDs as habits? What are the special factors in working with athletes, older women, or men? How do we articulate and convey an appreciation for a client’s spirituality in your clinical work? What can we learn from outside the eating disorder field about things like psychiatric and medical co-morbidities, gender, culture, family dynamics, physical and psychological development, and attachment? These are just some of the topics, some with relative consensus and some a bit more controversial, that all of us have to wrestle with. You’ll find some recent posts on these very issues.
We’ve heard a bit more of late about the risks of insularity and its’ associated risk for polarization. I want to highlight a recent blog post from Julie O’Toole that reminds us of the need for a civil and respectful debate about what we do and don’t know about eating disorders. I think her post perfectly captures the spirit of what we’re aiming for here. Learning to maintain perspective is often a critical part of treatment and recovery. Building and practicing the capacity to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is one of those key life skills, useful in all sorts of situations, that is especially important in the recovery process. Let’s use this blog site as a community that builds our capacity for seeing others’ points of view.
Douglas W. Bunnell, Ph.D., FAED, CEDS