The NEDA conference is officially over, but I've still got a bag full of brochures and other stuff I collected here (and I'm not going home until tomorrow morning), so I thought I'd offer another deconstruction of e.d. programs and what they offer to parents.
The reason I'm doing this, by the way, is not just to make enemies (though I'm sure I am) but to try to offer one parent's view of what's on offer. I think it's especially important given a snippet of conversation I had yesterday with one of the long-time NEDA folks, whose comment about Maudsley was, "But you have to be a very, very special family to make that work, don't you?" This is, of course, the mainstream view, and of course it's completely erroneous. It's part of the disempowerment of parents within the eating disorders field that just burns my boat.
So. Within that context, it's not surprising to find brochures like the one I picked up from the Women's Center at Pine Grove, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a treatment facility that treats e.d.s, addictions, and both. Here are some of the phrases that jumped out at me from this 12-page glossy brochure: "Components of the treatment experience include understanding the disease process and the camouflaged self, helping women reclaim and celebrate their feminine spirit, empowering women to come to their own assistance. . . . " There's a family week--sounds good, right?--described as "40 hours of intensive therapy where the healing process between family members begins." OK, this center is for women strugglng with addiction as well as e.d.s, and does not seem geared toward adolescents. There are photos of lovely flower arrangements and wooden staircases. Under Amenities, the brochure says, "We offer gender-responsive treatment in a quiet, peaceful, and secluded environment." I'm not sure what gender-responsive treatment means. The next paragraph goes on: "We encourage our patients to take advantage of the nearby YMCA . . . a facility that includes weights, cardiovascular equipment, indoor track and pool, indoor racquetball and basketball course."
Hello? For women in the throes of anorexia?
Nowhere in this brochure is there any mention of food or eating. Nowhere. There is one line under "Components of Treatment" that says "Nutritional counseling." It's about halfway down a list that includes items like "Boundaries & Relationships," "Exercise & Fitness," and "Psychodrama."
I don't think so.