It's Evolution NOT a Revolution!

My dear friend, Kathleen, made an important observation in the comments of my Renfrew post:

...People can get nervous about new ideas/research related to ED because it's "new". I have noticed that people are afraid of change (even if the change will benefit all those affected by ED (including care-givers) in a positive way) because they are afraid the change will shift the entire field and negate already existing "what works".

People need to become comfortable knowing that: change can be good, and change does not delete all that we already know. ie: Some research applies to some who suffer, some insurance procedures apply to some who suffer, some methods of treatment apply to some who suffer ---but in those 3 (and many more), not all apply to all who suffer.

The more people relax into knowing that something 'new' does not mean 'the entire field is changing', the more comfortable they can be about learning about the 'new' Maudsley.

I hope that makes sense.."

Yes, Kathleen! That doesn't just make sense it is spot on. I believe people have felt defensive on many levels but I think you've identified the most relevant one. This is not about overturning everything, "throwing the bums out," heads on spikes. This is about re-thinking some things and, yes, throwing SOME things out.

We do need to throw out anything that blames patients.The newer knowledge of how much of these symptoms are hard-wired and how very challenging they are to fight means we need to help and admire patients - not hold them responsible for finding their way out.

We do need to stop thinking "once ill always ill." Eating disorders are treatable and we must stop acting as if it is the patient's responsibility and not OURS to support them ALL the way to full lives.

We do need to actively include and empower and support families as a way to get patients well. That may be messy, it may be imperfect, but it is the best shot we have at the time we most need to intervene.

We do need to re-think whether eating disorders have some deeper meaning or come from some great outside influence. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes an eating disorder is just a temporary brain problem.

I think the above, if we could agree on them, still leaves most of the common ground we all share. It still leaves most of the techniques and skills of psychotherapy as well as the established community of caring treatment providers. We ALL want the patients to find wellness and fulfilling lives. We ALL want the professionals who treat these illnesses to do their work according to their unique skills and talents. We ALL want society to be less toxic and more nurturing. We ALL want families to be healthy and well-functioning. We ALL want healthcare and mental health care to be accessible and humane. We ALL want patients to be treated with dignity and caring. We ALL want the stigma to fade, and the field to be respected.

Another dear friend, Mary Beth, said this morning as she has wisely said to me before, "it's evolution NOT a revolution." She's right. I do wish it was a light switch, of course, but she's right.

(A new friend, Ann, gave me the ideal visual on trying to adjust to new paradigms.)


  1. A very important 1,2,3 there Laura
    1) This is not a choice
    2) This is treatable
    3) The support of those around the sufferer is vital so support them to be able to do it.
    The fourth part - the deeper meaning bit is a difficult one. I certainly don't think that patients and therapists should allow the illness to progress while looking for it. Strike at the illness first, THEN look for the meanings if there are any left.

  2. This is WAY off topic, but just because I'm curious... Is there anyone that opposes the FREED Act?

    if so, whom?

  3. omg, that cat! I just want to scoop him up -- and I am a dog person.

  4. Like. Much :) I agree 100% with what you have written here Laura and the comments above...

    And that darling sweet cat... It gave me an oxytocin rush - or whatever... Such a little round face and wiggly tail. They have such poor spatial awareness, bless them.

    Oh, and I love Miffy (rabbit) too :) Dick Bruna was one of my favourite authors when I was a kid...

  5. Kat - good question for Kathleen MacDonald!

  6. I loved the cat...BUT, I just wanted him (her?) to find a box that FIT!!

  7. HI Laura

    With regard to Kat's query above: what is the FREED act?

    Is it some US thing or is it international?

  8. The FREED act is a USian thing:

    But would have an impact internationally if it is passed because of the precedent and the statistics gathered and research funding it might influence.


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