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Eating disorders affect families

For Families

When someone you care about struggles with food, the symptoms of the eating disorder touch everyone in the family. The perplexing behaviors can bring frustration, fear and heartache. We know. Since 1993, The Emily Program has worked closely with families, friends, and other loved ones to help them cope with the consequences of eating disorders.

When your child struggles with an eating disorder

Our approach

Parents and families take an active role in the recovery journey. At The Emily Program, we use the proven Maudsley Method, also known as Family-Based Therapy (FBT), in our personalized treatment programs for children, adolescents, and young adults with eating disorders.

Care that is right for your child

We offer a full continuum of care, including outpatient, intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization and residential, all of which provide daily therapeutic meals and snacks, therapy sessions, and time for schoolwork.

You always have our support

After you complete your intake appointment at The Emily Program, you’ll have access to the Office Manager at your service location who will be your primary resource and support for all care needs and questions.

How do I get a family member or a friend to call and schedule an appointment?

It is very difficult to watch someone in your life struggling with an eating disorder. We understand. And we know that you may be unsure of how to help. These steps can help frame how you present your concerns to your family member or friend:

Ask to speak to the person in a private setting.

Explain your specific concerns to the person in a non-judgmental, compassionate way. Use “I” language like:

  • “I’m concerned because you seem to be isolated and not wanting to be involved in any activities, especially when there is food involved.”
  • “I see a large amount of food disappearing in the house and I’m concerned that you may be struggling with an eating problem.”
  • “I see a change in your behavior during family meals, and there’s growing tension during meals. I’m concerned that eating and food is becoming a problem for you.”
  • “Your mood seems to be changing these days and I’m concerned about you.”

Offer to stay with the person while they make the phone call. If the person is resistant to making the call, let him/her know that you will continue to check in with him/her.

Get support for yourself. Being concerned about someone else who is reluctant to seek help can drain you mentally and emotionally. For more information, please call us at 1-866-673-8652 or contact us.

ED 101: Understanding Eating Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery

We know how overwhelming an eating disorder diagnosis can be for families and friends. The terminology. The process. The uncertainties. Share an evening with us to learn about eating disorders, our personalized treatment programs, and the path to recovery. Our knowledgeable staff at The Emily Program answer common concerns of families and friends facing eating disorder issues for the first time. You’ll leave with valuable resources and a better understanding of this serious mental health issue. We recommend family and friends who are new to eating disorders attend this session at least once before joining a Family & Friends Support Group for a better experience in the group.

In Minnesota:

St. Paul

2nd Thursday of every other month, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Upcoming dates: currently on hold

The Emily Program
2265 Como Avenue St. Paul, MN 55108

Click here for directions

In Washington:

Seattle

2nd Thursday of each month, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Upcoming dates: currently on hold

The Emily Program
1700 Westlake Avenue North, Suite 700
Seattle, WA 98109
Click here for directions

Attend our Free Family & Friends Session

The Emily Program offers free evening Family and Friends Support Groups open to the public. No need to register; just drop in.

In Washington:

Seattle

1st & 3rd Thursday of each month, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Upcoming groups: currently on hold

The Emily Program
1700 Westlake Avenue North, Suite 700
Seattle, WA 98109
Click here for directions

Recommended Links

Recommended Links

Warning Signs

The warning signs of eating disorders can be difficult to detect.  Make sure you know what to look for.

Guide for Family and Friends

15 important tips for supporting your loved one on the recovery journey.

Recovery Nights

Hear powerful stories that will inspire, motivate, and affirm your choices for healthy living. Recovery Night speakers share their experiences and answer your questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Emily Program is here to answer any questions you have about eating disorders and the recovery journey. We want to help.

Read more

Get Started

Get help. Find hope.

Please provide contact information below and we will connect with you within one business day. You also may call us directly at (888) 364-5977 ext. 1612. If this is an emergency, do not use this form. Call 911 or your nearest hospital.

Get Help for You

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Get Help for your Child

Parent's First Name*

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Get Help for a Patient

Your contact information

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Patient information

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If under age 18, please provide a primary parent contact:

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Get Help for a Friend

Three Ways To Help A Friend With An Eating Disorder

Take our Eating Disorder Assessment Quiz

Our Eating Disorder Assessment Quiz takes just a few minutes. It’s a simple tool that helps you to see whether or not you should be concerned. Take the quiz.

Talk with your friend

Your friend’s health is more important than keeping secrets or shying away from talking to their family. Share your concerns. Be prepared to provide examples of behaviors that alerted you to the problem. And offer the next step—tell your friend to call us at 1-888-364-5977 or show your friend our website to start the journey to healthy living.

Learn more about eating disorders

We invite family and friends to attend our support nights so you can learn how to play an important role in your friend’s recovery.

Read more

Take the Quiz

Take the Quiz

Concerned that you or a loved one have issues with food, but you’re not sure if it’s an eating disorder? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you don’t know what’s going on. You’re not alone. Take the first step now and complete the quiz below, then give us a call at 1-888-364-5977 or connect online to discuss your results.

Get help now

Take the first step now. Answer a few questions
and reflect on your responses.

For You

Answer these 6 questions honestly:

1. Do you feel like you sometimes lose or have lost control over how you eat?
2. Do you ever make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
3. Do you believe yourself to be fat, even when others say you are too thin?
4. Do food and/or thoughts about food dominate your life?
5. Do thoughts about changing your body or your weight dominate your life?
6. Have others become worried about your weight?

For Parents

Answer these 7 questions honestly:

1. Does it seem to you that your child has lost control over how they eat?
2. Does your child ever make themself sick because they feel uncomfortably full?
3. Does your child believe they are fat, even when others say they are too thin?
4. Do food and/or thoughts about food dominate your child’s life?
5. Do thoughts about changing their body or weight dominate your child’s life?
6. Are shared meals difficult because of your child’s eating behavior or comments about food, eating, or body image?
7. Are you or others worried about your child’s weight?

For Adult Family and Friends

Answer these 7 questions honestly:

1. Does it seem to you that your loved one has lost control over how they eat?
2. Does your loved one ever make themself sick because they feel uncomfortably full?
3. Does your loved one believe they are fat, even when others say they are too thin?
4. Do food and/or thoughts about food dominate your loved one’s life?
5. Do thoughts about changing their body or weight dominate your loved one’s life?
6. Are shared meals difficult because of your loved one’s eating behavior or comments about food, eating, or body image?
7. Are you or others worried about your loved one’s weight?

For Healthcare Professionals

Answer these 6 questions honestly:

1. Does your patient feel like they sometimes lose or have lost control over how they eat?
2. Does your patient ever make themselves sick because they feel uncomfortably full?
3. Does your patient believe themselves to be fat, even when others say they are too thin?
4. Do food and/or thoughts about food dominate your patient's life?
5. Do thoughts about changing their body or their weight dominate your patient's life?
6. Have others become worried about your patient's weight?

Quizzes adapted from the Scoff Questionnaire by Morgan, Reid & Lacy-BMJ, 1999.

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Recovery Nights

Recovery from eating disorders is possible. Hear powerful stories that will inspire, motivate, and affirm your choices for healthy living. Always honest and bravely candid, our Recovery Night speakers share their firsthand experiences and answer your questions. Join us for our free Recovery Night events and tap into the energy and joy that happens when food is just food and healthy living leads the way.

Join us for Recovery Night

Hear speakers share their personal stories of dedication and perseverance on the road to recovery from eating disorders. Speakers include Emily Program staff, former clients, and community members. Recovery Night is free and open to the public; anyone is invited to attend, including clients, support people, and the community. We know healing is not an easy journey but you can find hope here. Find the Recovery Night schedule below.

Interested in support groups for friends and family? Find more information on The Emily Program’s ED 101 groups and Family & Friends support groups here

Minnesota

MINNESOTA

St. Paul – Como (6:30 PM):

2265 Como Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108

Upcoming dates: July 14th, Oct. 13th

St. Paul Adolescent & Young Adult – Toogood (6:00 PM):

2230 Como Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108

Upcoming dates: Aug. 4th, Aug. 5th, Nov. 3rd, Nov. 4th

Washington

WASHINGTON

Seattle (6:00-7:30 PM):

1700 Westlake Avenue North, Suite 700
Seattle, WA 98109  

Upcoming dates:  June 17th, Oct. 7th

Share your recovery story

Your experience on the path to recovery can inspire others and affirm that there is hope. If you are willing to share your recovery story in a genuine and honest way, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

St. Paul (Como), MN

Kelsey Stephens
1-888-364-5977 ext. 1146

St. Paul (Toogood), MN

Lucy Chermak
1-888-364-5977 ext. 1934

Seattle, WA

Kelsey Thomas
1-888-364-5977 ext. 1808

Read more

Schedule a Tour

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Schedule a tour

We’ve created safe, comfortable spaces for you to pursue your recovery journey. Typically we offer tours of our 24/7 residential, lodging, and outpatient programs, but in an effort to limit visitors during the pandemic, we have temporarily stopped in-person tours. To learn more about our sites, visit our Locations pages or contact us at 1-888-364-5977 with any questions.

 

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How it Works

How it works

The Emily Program is nationally recognized for its compassionate, evidence-based approach to eating disorder treatment and lifelong recovery. We understand the tangled complexities of eating disorders, often from personal experience. We know that you’re not defined by your eating disorder, and our team of experts—including therapists, dietitians, and medical staff—focuses on treating the whole person.

3 simple steps to start your recovery journey

STEP 1

Contact Us icon

Contact Us

Reach out to our admissions team at 1-888-364-5977 or complete our online form. No referral necessary. We’re here when you need us—7 days a week. We’ll answer any questions, talk about what you’re experiencing, collect information (name, contact info and insurance details), and schedule your phone intake.

STEP 2

Eating Disorder Assessment icon

Eating Disorder Assessment

During your phone intake, you’ll be asked a series of questions related to your relationship with food and body image. Then, a Clinical Admissions Specialist will review your results and work with you to develop a customized treatment plan.

STEP 3

Admission icon

Admission

After your phone intake, we’ll schedule an admission date and facilitate any necessary lodging so you can begin treatment.

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