Detailed table of contents

Last updated on January 26th, 2021

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 2021 version (other versions will be reasonably similar).

I haven't taken the hours required to format the levels of heading/sub-headings in the following table. 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 1

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? 8

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 20

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

Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating: artificial distinctions 25

An unlikely worst-case scenario 25

What to tell the doctor to get help fast 26

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

While you’re waiting for a diagnosis 28

Chapter 4: Treatment: the essentials 29

The road ahead 29

Family therapy for eating disorders 33

How long before my child is well again? 33

Chapter 5: What parents need to know about the causes of eating disorders 36

Chapter 6: Practical steps to help your child beat the eating disorder 40

Food and love 41

Give your child containment and ammunition against the eating-disorder voice 42

Hear how your child speaks in code 43

Remove choices: Magic Plate 45

‘You’re making me fat!’ 46

Meal plans: should your child determine the menu? 46

Do parents benefit from a meal plan? 48

What if my child doesn’t eat? 48

How long should we persist with a meal? 51

How much food? Which foods? 57

Target body weight 63

Weighing your child: open or blind? 69

Hiding food and lying 73

Eating rituals 73

Exercising, moving and standing 74

School 76

Bedtime 76

Purging and bathroom visits 77

Bingeing 79

Post-meal anxiety 82

Running away 82

Self-harming and suicidality 82

Being cold 83

Compulsive behaviours 84

Body-checking and fat talk 85

Clothes 85

Protection from the internet 86

Baking, recipes and images of food 87

Protect your child from triggers 87

Your self-care 88

Planning how you will take charge 88

Conclusion: parents take charge 92

Chapter 7: How do you get your child to eat in spite of the eating disorder? 93

The great bungee-jump thought experiment 93

Planning the challenge 95

Logic doesn’t work 95

Education: the dinner table is not a lecture hall 96

Eating prompts work best 96

Conversation topics: pick with care 97

Distraction: a firm favourite 97

Reassurance: suprisingly not reassuring 98

* Pause for self-connection * 99

Trust me, I’m an expert 99

Shock tactics: short-lived gains, high costs 100

Shouting, intimidating, blaming: counterproductive 101

Threats, punishment, and ‘consequences’: unnecessary 103

Rewards and bribes: handle with care 105

Incentives: a nudge in the right direction 105

Visualisation: access to inner resources 106

Praise: complex and risky 106

‘It’s your medicine’: worth a go 108

Damage limitation: blame something other than your kid 109

Teamwork: have a break, make a graceful exit 109

Containment: stay close 111

Humour: the best relaxant 112

Feelings: a good start 112

Empathy: powerful when focused on the task 113

* Pause for self-connection * 115

Selective hearing, body-swerving and translation skills 116

Mirroring: model calm confidence 117

Defusing fear: remove the fear of fear 118

Notice indicators of progress 118

Wait a few minutes 119

How long should you persist? 120

Focus on the current step in the present moment 120

Let your kid save face and maintain some dignity 122

All singing from the same hymn sheet 122

Giving uncritical acceptance 123

Putting it all together 124

Chapter 8: See the tools in action: mealtime scenarios 126

What to say, and what not to say when you are supporting your child to eat 126

Be a fly on the wall: a lunchtime scenario 134

Chapter 9: How to free your child of fears and rules: exposure therapy 153

Desensitising to fear foods 153

When to introduce fear foods 153

The magic of desensitisation 154

Plan or surprise? 155

Rip or tug the Band-Aid? 156

Respond flexibly to present needs 157

Can challenges be too stressful for your kid? 158

Virtuous circles and lasting improvements 159

Example: working systematically through a list of fear foods 159

Example: from packaged food at home to the ability to order anything in a restaurant 160

When can exhausted parents take a break? 161

Exposure therapy for other anxieties or phobias 162

How to make exposure work for you 163

Be a fly on the wall: a desensitisation session 164

Chapter 10: The work towards full recovery 172

Steps to independence and total recovery 172

What to do about school? 175

Re-introducing exercise 180

Activities 183

Eating out 183

Holidays and school trips: risky or beneficial? 185

Rule-based or intuitive eating? 187

When to ditch the scales? 190

Addressing depression, OCD and other anxiety disorders 191

Trauma and re-engaging with life to the full 191

Normal teenage behaviour or eating disorder? 192

The balance of autonomy and containment 193

Caution versus your child’s self-confidence 194

Fixing your child’s mindset 195

Towards a relaxed body image 196

Letting time do the healing 197

Dealing with relapse 199

Events that rock the boat 201

Relapse prevention, plans and contracts 202

Prepare your child for independence 203

Safeguards as your child leaves the nest 203

Is there such a thing as total recovery? 205

What’s the future like for the parents? 206

Chapter 11: Partners, friends, family and work: help or hindrance? 208

The logistics: how can you care for your child and attend to your other commitments? 208

Single parents 210

Your spouse or partner 210

Siblings 215

Prevention for your other children 217

Family and friends: how to make good use of them 219

Links with other parents in the same boat 223

Work and money 224

Chapter 12: Which treatments work? 226

The parent’s quest for good treatment 226

Eating disorder treatments that are likely to cause harm 227

The best evidence-based treatment 229

Lip service and well-meaning ignorance 230

Principles validated by research 230

Family therapies: they’re not all the same 231

Family therapy: the first line of treatment for children and teens with anorexia and bulimia 233

Individual therapies 238

How to identify effective treatment providers 241

Disagreements with clinicians 246

Dropping unhelpful treatment 246

No good treatment locally? 247

Family treatment the DIY way 247

Parent-coaching, home support and day treatment 248

Hospitalisation and inpatient treatment 249

Parents and clinicians in partnership 256

When you’re excluded from your child’s therapy 261

Therapy, coaching and emotional support for parents 266

Chapter 13: Powerful tools for wellbeing and compassionate connection 270

‘I’m sorry, and I love you’ 271

Silent empathy 272

Connect before you Direct 273

Keep tracking 274

Keep checking: use question marks 276

Keep your ‘but’ out of it 276

Open question or empathy guess? 277

More tools to help you connect 278

Kindness 279

Be interested: ‘Yes!’ and repeat 279

Guess deeper: feelings and needs 280

Be interested: feelings 280

Be interested: what are the deep needs? 283

Be interested: make use of the chatterbox 285

Validate feelings and needs 286

And now at last, ‘Direct’! 288

How to express yourself effectively 290

Self-compassion 294

Get compassion from others too 299

When to do self-compassion 299

What if the feelings are overwhelming? 300

Examples of self-compassion 300

Onwards 301

Chapter 14: Love, no matter what: how to support your child with compassionate communication 302

Food is medicine, and love is life 302

Unconditional love and acceptance 303

Judgemental thoughts: my story 306

She loves you, even when she loves you not 308

What to do with your child’s anger 313

Is your child’s anger better out than in? 313

Is your own anger better out than in? 314

It’s not about you (even when she’s mad at you) 315

Punishment, sanctions, consequences and ultimatums 316

Rewards and incentives can backfire 318

How to be effective 320

Dealing with aggression 328

‘Am I fat?’ How to respond 332

Hysterics, panic attacks and extreme anguish 339

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

Helping your child feel good in herself 346

Sick, mad, bad? What model are you using? 353

Teen books and videos about eating disorders: take care 357

Inspiration from someone who’s recovered 358

Educating and motivating your child 358

Heart-to-heart talks 358

Activities and time together 359

Modelling: do as I do 360

Parent and child: our common humanity 361

Mending, apologising, and regrets 361

Chapter 15: How to build up your own resilience and wellbeing 367

My search for new ways to deal with adversity 368

Get to know what sustains you 368

Self-compassion 370

Distraction 370

Soak in the good 371

Use your body to trick your mind 371

Good-enough Zen, or five percent better 372

Coping moment by moment 373

Being in the moment 373

Choose where put your attention 374

Deep questions 374

Imagery to help you get grounded and peaceful 375

Mindfulness 376

Acceptance: work with reality, not against it 377

Trust that you have resources 382

What to do with fear 386

Post-traumatic stress or post-traumatic growth? 388

Mistakes, blame and self-acceptance 389

Sadness, grief and … joy 393

Writing a diary: self-help or rumination? 393

Helper’s high 394

An attitude of gratitude 395

Joy 396

Thank you 399

Resources 400

Endnotes 401