Fields of Expertise
The Feeding, Eating & Body Image Clinic
The causes for feeding and eating issues are complex. In some cases, feeding issues may be associated with a developmental delay or a neurological issue. In other cases, eating and body image issues arise from a combination of societal and individual factors interplaying. We live in a society which gives us messages about the importance of size and shape, we are constantly bombarded with messages that 'we aren’t good enough as we are' and 'the need to try this new diet/product/regime' to rectify this. For some people, specifically young people, being constantly surrounded by these messages and experiencing an individual life stressor such as peer pressure, unrealistic self-expectations, life crisis or transition focusing on their body or what they eat can become a way of coping or getting through these difficult times.
When the body is exposed to periods of restriction, starvation, binging or purging it endures a significant amount of distress. The medical and physical risks are significant even if the eating issue/disorder has only been experienced for a short time. This is especially the case in children and adolescents.
Early identification of an eating issue/ disorder is essential in children and young people since developmental milestones are not yet met, and the presence of an eating issue/disorder during adolescence can have a major impact on brain and body development.
At AzzA's clinic, we receive many referrals in relation to Feeding issues in children (e.g. avoidant-restrictive, picky eating), Body Image issues in adolescents (e.g. binge eating/ yo yo dieting/ refusal to eat) and Eating Disorders in young adults (e.g. Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge eating). We provide several different types of psychological treatments which can be undertaken with an experienced psychologist via structured sessions.
The Feeding, Eating & Body Image Clinic is a sub clinic of AzzA's Child Psychology Clinic that delivers individual, group and family based therapies to children and adolescents, who may be experiencing any type of eating issues/disorders including:
Binge Eating Disorder
Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)
We also take a much wider definition, assisting children, adolescents and young adults who may also have an unhealthy relationship to food or body image. E.g.:
Food is categorised as 'good' or 'bad'
Food control as a coping strategy
Food and/or how we look becomes primary focus of our lives
Taking a broader definition allows us to capture the bigger issues associated with the development and perpetuation of eating issues/disorders.
The clinic is supervised by Senior Psychologist Ms. Amanda Kenyon who holds extensive experience in working with children and young people with eating issues/ disorders delivering individual, group and family based therapies. Given the significant impacts eating disorders have on the physical body, we may also work closely with General Practioners and hospitals.
We use evidence based therapies including Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT), Bevioural Therapy, Maudsley family therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to assist children, adolescents and young adults. Our clinic works with you, for you and by your side to assist you and any of your family members' struggle against an eating issue/disorder. At our clinic, you and your loved ones will feel supported and guided throughout the treatment program towards a healthier mind and a healthier lifestyle.
The following lists some of the early warning signs of disordered eating:
- Constantly think about eating or not eating
- Feel out of control around food
- Feel nervous or guilty about eating
- Fear gaining weight
- Exercise excessively
- Binge eat, followed by feelings of guilt, disgust, or failure
- Restrict food intake or starve for periods of time
- Saying my stomach hurts, I'm not hungry often
- Constantly talk about food but eat infrequently
- Attempt to get rid of food by vomiting, taking laxatives, or exercising
- Find that the scales establish how they feel about themselves
- Eat according to a set of rules they have created and not according to when they feel hungry
- Feel compelled to exercise even if they are tired, unwell, or injured
- Feel that their body is never quite 'right'.
What to do if you are concerned?
A – ask to speak with the person privately
C – confront with concern and care
T – tell them what you see and why you are concerned
N – never continue with the conversation if it becomes too emotional
O – use conversation as an opportunity to learn about the persons experience
W – when you finish the conversation put a plan in place
Please seek professional opinion if you are concerned about your child/teen.
For any enquiries about our services please do not hesitate to contact our clinic.
Research into the effects of Maudsley have shown that it is an effective outpatient treatment particularly for adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa.
The principals of Maudsley therapy are that the family play a vital role to the restoration of weight in those affected by eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa. The family, and in particular, the parents play a pivotal and active role in treatment.
Maudsley treatment is broken down into 3 distinct phases.
Phase 1: Weight restoration.
When someone is underweight (or has experienced rapid weight loss) their body is under enormous physical stress and they are at risk of experiencing a number of medical complications. In addition to this when someone is underweight (or experiencing rapid weight loss) their ability to engage in 'cognitive' work to address the underlying factors of the eating disorder are diminished. Therefore weight restoration is deemed the most important and first step in treatment to medically stabilise the person and allow for the next phases of treatment to occur. During this phase of treatment the control of eating (what is eaten, how much) is given to the parents in order achieve the first goal.
Phase 2: Returning control of eating over to the adolescent.
Once weight restoration is achieved and the adolescent is no longer medically unstable, control over eating is gradually handed back to the adolescent.
Phase 3: Establishing healthy adolescent Identity.
Phase 3 is initiated when the adolescent is able to maintain their own weight at an ideal weight and self-starvation has ceased. Treatment begins to focus on regaining the parts of life that have been taken away and effected by the eating disorder, such as school, social and family life.
As the Senior psychologist of the Feeding, Eating and Body Image Clinic, Ms. Amanda Kenyon is a qualified eating disorders therapist who has completed basic training in Maudsley Family Based Therapy. Please do not hesitate to contact our clinic directly for any queries.