There’s Help. There’s Hope! The Emily Program is a warm and welcoming place where individuals and their families can find comprehensive treatment for eating disorders and related issues. This blog is a place for us to share the latest happenings at The Emily Program, as well as helpful tidbits from the broader eating disorder community. Subscribe via RSS to receive automatic updates. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@emilyprogram.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

How to Support LGBTQIA+ Individuals with Eating Disorders

Two rainbow hearts held together by two hands

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and sexual and gender diversity. Members of the community and allies unite in pride and solidarity to recognize, honor, and uplift the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning people.

As we honor the LGBTQIA+ community this month and beyond, we must also commit to better understanding and addressing the issues it faces. One such issue is eating disorders, which affect LGBTQIA+ people at disproportionately high rates.

In this article, we explore eating disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community and offer ways to support affected community members during Pride and throughout the year.

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Staff Spotlight, Jessica Hammerly

Jessica Hammerly

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Jessica Hammerly. I have a Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology. I am a board-certified licensed professional counselor. I work for The Emily Program’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania site and have been in the family for over a year and a half now.

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Honesty is in Healing

Megan Bazzini

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.   

Megan Bazzini is an anorexia survivor. She’s an American graduating from an Italian business school in June 2022. Her country-hopping uni years opened her heart and mind to choosing herself, recovery, and giving back. This is only the beginning of her advocacy for destigmatizing eating disorders. She is seeking literary representation for five novels featuring characters with eating disorders. You can follow her on Twitter (@BazziniBooks) or visit her portfolio.

Eating disorders are the unreliable narrators of our lives. They can convince us that some foods are evil and others are safe and that certain body sizes are a failure while others are a success.

The eating disorder instills in us a set of beliefs and rules to be followed. I was great at following those orders, and the list grew as the disease progressed. Meanwhile, my personality shrunk into a withdrawn husk of the person I was before sickness.

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Exploring Mental Health with Emily Program Staff

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is more important than ever that we intentionally take care of our mental health. On top of all the stressful things going on in the world, many people are also struggling internally with things like eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and more.

We are honoring Mental Health Awareness Month by asking some Emily Program employees about mental health, including what mental health means to them and how they take care of themselves while working in this field. Check out their responses below:

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Recovery in Ramadan

Farheen Ahmed

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Farheen Ahmed is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying Neuroscience on the pre-medical track. She is originally from Virginia and spends almost half of every year in Houston, Texas. In her free time, you can find her working at her research lab, volunteering for Rock Recovery, hanging out with her friends, or reading romance novels. Farheen struggled with an eating disorder throughout her high school years and can proudly say she is a recovered survivor.

Ramadan is an Islamic holiday where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. The purpose of Ramadan is to allow one to spiritually grow and become close to one’s family, friends, and God. Abstaining from pleasures and avoiding smoking, eating, and drinking between sunrise and sunset is also a reminder of everything there is to be grateful for. At the end of the 30 days, families and friends come together to celebrate Eid⁠—the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

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Ethical Considerations in the Treatment of Eating Disorders

A therapist talks to her client

Ethics is a cornerstone of eating disorder care. It provides a framework for clinical decision-making and practice, differentiating “good” from “bad” and “right” from “wrong.” Though there are no hard and fast rules for clinicians approaching situations of ethical concern, every decision is guided by a moral code. In this blog, we will explore key ethical principles and dilemmas facing eating disorder treatment providers.

Key Ethical Principles

Eating disorders are complex mental and physical illnesses. Ethics in the treatment of eating disorders share this same complexity. From the moment a potential client makes the first call to our admissions team to the time that a client finishes treatment, ethical considerations are constantly at work. Each member of the multidisciplinary treatment team must adhere to the professional standards set by the organizations that license, certify, and support them, while the team collectively upholds the highest standard of client care.

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