I fielded a call yesterday from a website/organization asking if F.E.A.S.T. would provide a link to their treatment finder. I was amazed at the answers to my questions:

Are you for profit or nonprofit? No real answer.

Who are your employees and volunteers and staff?
People who have been involved with eating disorder treatment. (The website has no real contact information or address or people named)

How do you decide how to match clients to treatment providers? Experience and perseverance.

So families call you seeking help? Well, we try to speak directly to the patient, but sometimes families call.

Have you heard of the Family-Based Maudsley approach? No.

This is a potentially DEADLY, CRIPPLING, FAMILY-DESTROYING illness which generally has its onset while the person is a minor or young adult. This is not Christmas shopping or picking a color for one's kitchen.

How can people be offering advice to people on treatment when they are not even aware of the basic science and recommendations in the area? Good intentions.

But here is the most troubling thing of all. This particular site isn't doing anything unusual. Lists of eating disorder specialists are not composed of people under some professional standard, following a validated protocol. You can list yourself as treating eating disorders without any sort of license, membership, or code of ethics. There is a lot of snake oil being sold alongside the real science-based and experienced clinicians.

And we, as parents, are perhaps the least likely to know this. We assume a care provider is an expert, has training, and there are professional standards behind recommendations.

Good intentions are not enough. Don't stake your child's life, your family, your other children, your marriage, your job, your finances, your retirement, your child's future health insurance, life insurance... on "We care."


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