Detailed table of contents

Last updated on February 16th, 2022

My book has, of course, a table of contents, but someone asked me for a more detailed one, to help them find sections they previously read. So here goes. Page numbers refer to the January 2022 paperback (other versions will be reasonably similar).

I suggest you do a search (Ctrl-F) to help you find a bit you are looking for.

For the shorter table of contents, with links to pages on this website, click HERE.


Chapter 1: How this book can help you

The practical and emotional tools parents are asking for 1

What you will get from this book 2

Is this book for you? 3

Don’t just read this – get clinical support 4

How to use this book 5

With a little help from my friends 6

Our story in less than two minutes 6

Chapter 2: How does an eating disorder affect you and your child?

What it’s like for parents 8

What’s going on in your child’s mind? 10

What it’s like on the way to recovery 14

How the body interacts with thoughts and behaviours 15

Chapter 3: Your part in diagnosis

Eating disorder or ‘just’ disordered eating? 20

Getting a referral for diagnosis and treatment 21

What are the main eating disorders? 22

‘Not thin enough’? 24

How bizarre is your child’s eating disorder? 25

What to tell the doctor to get help fast 25

What you don’t want your child to hear from a doctor 27

While you’re waiting for a diagnosis 27

Chapter 4: Treatment: the essentials

The road ahead 28

What is this method called? 32

Choose a family-based approach first 32

One size fits all? 33

When to treat co-occuring disorders 34

Adapting for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 35

Expect full recovery 35

How long before my child is well again? 36

Chapter 5: What parents need to know about the causes of eating disorders

Chapter 6: Practical steps in a first phase of treatment

Take the lead on the things your child cannot manage 43

Will this treatment not ruin our relationship? 44

Food and love 44

Give your child ammunition against the eating-disorder voice 44

Hear how your child speaks in code 45

Remove choices: the Magic Plate method 47

Tips for effective collaboration… or not 48

Advance information: what’s for lunch? 50

‘You’re making me fat!’ 50

What if my child doesn’t eat? 50

How long should we persist with a meal? 53

How much food? Which foods? 58

Target body weight 66

Weighing your child: open or blind? 72

Hiding food and lying 76

Eating rituals 76

Exercising, moving and standing 77

School 79

Bedtime 79

Purging and bathroom visits 80

Bingeing 82

Post-meal anxiety 85

Running away 85

Self-harm and suicidality 85

Being cold 86

Compulsive behaviours 87

Body-checking and fat talk 88

Clothes 88

Protection from the internet 89

Baking, recipes and images of food 90

Protect your child from triggers 90

Your self-care 90

Planning how you will start treatment 91

Conclusion: parents take the lead 95

Chapter 7: How do you get your child to eat in spite of the eating disorder?

The great bungee-jump thought experiment 96

Planning the challenge 98

Logic doesn’t work 98

Education: the dinner table is not a lecture hall 99

Eating prompts work best 99

Conversation topics: pick with care 100

Distraction: a firm favourite 100

Reassurance: suprisingly not reassuring 101

* Pause for self-connection * 102

Trust me, I’m an expert 102

Shock tactics: short-lived gains, high costs 103

Shouting, intimidating, blaming: counterproductive 104

Threats, punishment, and ‘consequences’: unnecessary 106

Rewards and bribes: handle with care 108

Incentives: a nudge in the right direction 108

Visualisation: access to inner resources 109

Praise: complex and risky 109

‘It’s your medicine’: worth a go 111

Damage limitation: blame something other than your kid 112

Teamwork: have a break, make a graceful exit 112

Containment: stay close 114

Humour: the best relaxant 115

Feelings: a good start 115

Empathy: powerful when focused on the task 116

* Pause for self-connection * 118

Selective hearing, body-swerving and translation skills 119

Mirroring: model calm confidence 120

Defusing fear: remove the fear of fear 121

Notice indicators of progress 121

Wait a few minutes 122

How long should you persist? 123

Focus on the current step in the present moment 123

Let your kid save face and maintain some dignity 125

All singing from the same hymn sheet 125

Giving uncritical acceptance 126

Putting it all together 127

Chapter 8: See the tools in action: mealtime scenarios

What to say, and what not to say when you are supporting your child to eat 129

Be a fly on the wall: a lunchtime scenario 137

Chapter 9: How to free your child of fears and rules: exposure therapy

Desensitising to fear foods 156

When to introduce fear foods 156

The magic of desensitisation 157

Plan or surprise? 158

Rip or tug the Band-Aid? 159

Respond flexibly to present needs 160

Can challenges be too stressful for your child? 161

Virtuous circles and lasting improvements 162

Example: working systematically through a list of fear foods 162

Example: from packaged food at home to the ability to order anything in a restaurant 163

When can exhausted parents take a break? 164

Exposure therapy for other anxieties or phobias 165

How to make exposure work for you 166

Be a fly on the wall: a desensitisation session 167

Chapter 10: The work towards full recovery

Steps to independence and total recovery 175

What to do about school? 178

Re-introducing exercise 183

Activities 186

Eating out 187

Holidays and school trips: risky or beneficial? 188

Rule-based or intuitive eating? 190

When to ditch the scales? 194

Addressing depression, OCD and other anxiety disorders 194

Trauma and re-engaging with life to the full 195

Normal teenage behaviour or eating disorder? 195

The balance of autonomy and containment 196

Caution versus your child’s self-confidence 197

Fixing your child’s mindset 198

Towards a relaxed body image 199

Letting time do the healing 200

Dealing with relapse 202

Events that rock the boat 204

Relapse prevention, plans and contracts 205

Prepare your child for independence 206

Safeguards as your child leaves the nest 207

Is there such a thing as total recovery? 208

What’s the future like for the parents? 210

Chapter 11: Partners, friends, family and work: help or hindrance?

The logistics: how can you care for your child and attend to your other commitments? 212

Single parents 214

Your spouse or partner 214

Siblings 219

Prevention for your other children 221

Family and friends: how to make good use of them 223

Links with other parents in the same boat 227

Work and money 228

Chapter 12: Which treatments work?

The parent’s quest for good treatment 230

Eating disorder treatments that are likely to cause harm 231

The best evidence-based treatment 233

Lip service and well-meaning ignorance 233

Principles validated by research 234

Family therapies: they’re not all the same 234

Family therapy: the first line of treatment for children and teens with anorexia and bulimia 236

Individual therapies 239

How to identify effective treatment providers 243

Disagreements with clinicians 247

Dropping unhelpful treatment 248

No good treatment locally? 249

Family treatment the DIY way 249

Parent-coaching, home support and day treatment 250

Hospitals and eating disorder units 250

Parents and clinicians in partnership 257

When you’re excluded from your child’s therapy 263

Therapy, coaching and emotional support for parents 267

Chapter 13: Powerful tools for wellbeing and compassionate connection

‘I’m sorry, and I love you’ 272

Silent empathy 273

Connect before you Direct 274

Keep tracking 275

Keep checking: use question marks 277

Keep your ‘but’ out of it 277

Open question or empathy guess? 278

More tools to help you connect 279

Kindness 280

Be interested: ‘Yes!’ and repeat 280

Guess deeper: feelings and needs 281

Be interested: feelings 281

Be interested: what are the deep needs? 284

Be interested: make use of the chatterbox 286

Validate feelings and needs 287

And now at last, ‘Direct’! 289

How to express yourself effectively 291

Self-compassion 295

Get compassion from others too 300

When to do self-compassion 300

What if the feelings are overwhelming? 301

Examples of self-compassion 301

Onwards 302

Chapter 14: Love, no matter what: how to support your child with compassionate communication

Food is medicine, and love is life 303

Unconditional love and acceptance 304

Judgemental thoughts: my story 307

She loves you, even when she loves you not 309

What to do with your child’s anger 314

Is your child’s anger better out than in? 314

Is your own anger better out than in? 315

It’s not about you (even when she’s mad at you) 316

Punishment, sanctions, consequences and ultimatums 317

Rewards and incentives can backfire 319

How to be effective 321

Dealing with aggression 329

‘Am I fat?’ How to respond 332

Hysterics, panic attacks and extreme anguish 340

Comfort and reassurance: what works and what doesn’t 342

Nurturing your child’s wellbeing 347

Personality traits that help and hinder 356

The power of your relationship 357

Sick, mad, bad? What story are you telling? 358

Mending, apologising, and regrets 361

Influencers and reading materials for your child: take care 366

Chapter 15: How to build up your own resilience and wellbeing

My search for new ways to deal with adversity 369

Get to know what sustains you 369

Self-compassion 371

Distraction 371

Soak in the good 372

Use your body to trick your mind 372

Good-enough Zen, or five percent better 373

Coping moment by moment 374

Being in the moment 374

Choose where you put your attention 375

Deep questions 375

Imagery to help you get grounded and peaceful 376

Mindfulness 377

Acceptance: work with reality, not against it 378

Trust that you have resources 383

What to do with fear 387

Post-traumatic stress or post-traumatic growth? 389

Mistakes, blame and self-acceptance 390

Sadness, grief and … joy 394

Writing a diary: self-help or rumination? 394

Helper’s high 395

An attitude of gratitude 395

Joy 397

Thank you

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