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13 Jan 2005

anorexia support from parent to child
My stepdaugther (16) who lives 1200km away from us has anorexia. She has had this four 9 months but we only found out in a round about way 3 weeks ago. she sees a Shrink in her area, and my husband contacted her to find out what we should / should not do or say in order to support his daughter. We dont expect her to divulge any confidentialites that the child has shared, we jsut want her guidence on how to help, but all she keeps saying is: she is not at liberty to say! and that my husband must write down any information which he may think is of importance in her treating the child. In your opinion is this the correct way to communicate with a caing and worried parent. What advise would you have on how to treat this girl. She is very emotional and has outbursts every now and again. Moves between school friends, school marks have got worse etc.
Thanks
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

it sounds like the distant shrink is being a bit obtuse and less helpful than she could be. It makes sense to ask you to provide her with any information you may come across which could help her to better understand and treat the girl ; and it is true that except in rare and specific instances, what is discussed in a therapy session, especially with someone as old as 16, would be held confidential. Bui as I understand you, you were not looking for any breach of confidence, only some advice on anything you should so or avoid doing, in order to help the child.
And while the child patient is still a minor, the therapist has some responsibility to keep both parents properly informed.
Maybe summarise your concerns ( eg about her outbursts and uncertainty about how to handle them, her worsening school marks, etc ) and ask for guidance on how to best handle these. I understand your general concern, but she probably needs from you what you would generally provide --- parents who are sympathetic and open, with whom she can discuss things if and when she wants to, supportive and understanding. You can ask her how her therapy is going, and if there is anything you can do to help. You're not likely to do any harm by simply being kindly normal parents.
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