Parent to parent consultation

This week I wrote to Paul Rhodes, a clinical psychologist at the Westmead Hospital in Sydney, to find out more about the "Parent to Parent Consultation program.

He says: "The key ingredient of the effectiveness of Parent-to-Parent meetings in the Maudsley Model is the message that both sets of parents receive regarding their own efficacy, their own capacity to stand up to the anorexia and gradually win."

Rhodes refers to "insider knowledge," a phrase used by the the therapist, David Epston, to distinguish it from "the outsider knowledge of the professional."

"Circulating insider knowledge from one successful set of parents to one who are still starting and whose potential is still hidden can be a powerful experience, more powerful, at times than standard Maudsley sessions."

Wow. I see that all the time now at "Around the Dinner Table." Parents who have been through it staying around to encourage newer families to find that potential, that power.

The families at Westmead receive both clinical and peer authority to take on the task of supporting their children through recovery. May this approach grow and spread!


  1. So now I presume he knows you are doing his work for him - and offering the service throughout the world FREE! Hope he's going to pay you ;-)

    Having found "conventional Maudsley" terribly terribly lonely, I'd really welcome this kind of action and would be very interested in the results of the study.

    I wonder whether this is the kind of thing Ivan Eisler is going to talk about at the Carers' Conference in London on 23rd Feb under the heading Families Connecting Families - oh well, only 24 days to find out!

  2. When I read this study it reminded me of the very positive attributes of self help meetings i.e. AA, NA, Al-Aonon which are referred to as Collective Recovery. Insiders supporting and mentoring one another to win the battle and restore health!

  3. Westmead do offer this service to incoming parents, connecting with successful families that have moved through the programme. The expectation(though not obligatory) is once a family has completed the course they support families that may have started or are having problems. Having been a part of the later I feel it offers a win/win situation for families, clinicians, and new candidates. Parents are more likely to listen to a family that has "been through it" empowering everyone.
    There are no formal parent support groups offered as with other institutions like "Oak House"(private)which is a pity, but being public/government run I guess they have a limited budget.

    If it were not for the likes of Paul Rhodes and his colleague Andrew Wallis, both family therapists, who thought "let's give MM a go", I am sure the hospital system would still be using the traditional method for treating ED. (Andrew Wallis has now taken the role of Team Leader as Paul Rhodes is more involved with teaching and research). They were the movers and shakers in Australia for getting Maudsley started, thank god.
    As a family we found them open and accommodating to work with. My only beef about the programme is that you have to go through the in patient system in order to qualify for the Maudsley outpatient programme. Oh well guess it's better than nothing and at least you have medical backup should it be required.
    My other suggestion to Paul and Andrew, was to have a care unit attached to the hospital rather than put patients through the inpatient programme, which is costly and unsupervised at times (i.e, when you need 24/7 care). Parents could experience what it's like to live and treat a family member with AN before they go home and try it on their own.
    The beauty of their system was that once discharged from the hospital system(we live 800km away), we were able to link with the team in Sydney via teleconferencing.
    We would discuss tactics and strategies for the upcoming week.
    Having worked with both these clinicians they have my full respect and support.

    Now Daniel Le Grange is conducting workshops throughout Australia spreading the Maudsley word and I believe Janet Treasure is making a trip in November 2008. This can only consolidate Maudsley in Australia as the 'best modality' for treating AN/ED.

    P.S. I think your skype idea is great.


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