Should you stay or should you go?

Should you try to repair and improve a soured relationship with a clinician - or move on?

Obviously, this depends on both parties. Is the family - alone - truly more competent than the doctor, therapist, and nutritionist? Have you tried to openly address your concerns? Do you have a better option in place?

A lot of times families just don't have a lot of options. You may live in an isolated area. You may have a national health service. Your insurance may be limited. And there aren't that many clinicians to go around. Add to that the fact that eating disorder expertise is hard for a parent to judge (is it number of patients, number of years of experience, type of training, or the professional company they keep). Eating disorders are treated in as many ways as there are treaters: how do you know you have the best fit?

Just like marriage, sometimes things are so obviously out of whack that the decision is easy. Sometimes you need to date others a bit before the Dear John call. And sometimes a relationship is a fixer-upper - where all parties are respectful and humble enough to accept uncertainty and good will.

We never found a perfect situation - ideological match, training, distance, insurance, coordinated team - but we did find along the way a handful of skilled wonderful brilliant clinicians who added the perfect piece to the puzzle of my daughter's recovery. They were worth the search, and one thing I notice is that our family - even our ill daughter - knew within moments of entering the room who they were. I have such gratitude for those people - you know who you are - and so do the rest of your patients.


  1. As you say, in a lot of areas you don't have the choice especially once the patient is an adult when many professionals mistakenly believe that confidentiality means that they must not talk to the parents at all. However we plod on here trying to make some kind of relationship with the professionals and from across the Atlantic you have given me a couple of ideas of ways I could possibly turn, so thank you.

  2. The internet makes it easy to check with state licensing boards regarding the status of any clinician you might be seeing. See if complaints have been made, or actions taken against them. provides a checklist of red flags should you be concerned about something being wrong or questionable in you treatment.

    This is an important subject. Those desperately seeking treatment and answers from those in positions of power are vulnerable to abuse of power.


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