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What's Eating Our Children: Expressive Therapies to Create Emotional Attachment in Binge Eating Disorder

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About the Course:

Webinar from the 2009 International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Symposium.

This interactive presentation begins by discussing childhood/adolescent Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and explores the correlation between the lack of family emotional attachment and the development of compulsive eating in childhood. The presenter will clarify the concept of physical vs. psychological satiety and how it contributes to emotional connection and disconnection. Attendees will discover expressive and innovative therapeutic techniques (i.e. creative visualization exercises, “each of us is different” art therapy & “family rituals”). Clinicians will take home healing strategies and ideas to help families foster a healthy attachment and connection en route to feeding emotional hunger in and outside the kitchen.

Note: For this course there is a small additional fee to obtain the webinar. Please see the “Get Course Materials” link in the right sidebar for details.

Content Outline:
This interactive presentation explores ways which families connect both physically and psychologically. Emotional family connectedness and attachment will be examined in several ways. The presenter begins with research from a 2002 article (Cox) “Outlining Rules for Raising Children” with reference to children and connectedness, discussing the cultivation of connection with children everyday, both physically, (through sound, smell, and touch), and emotionally, (through feelings and thoughts), in turn, nourishing and deepening the family relationship. Furthermore, through group experiential exercises, client-written case presentations, and the PAR Theory (Parental Acceptance-Rejection Theory – Dominy & Johnson, 2000), participants will grasp a greater understanding of how the lack of family emotional attachment can contribute to binge eating (and obesity) in children and adolescents. The PAR theory, an important though not widely known theory, presents a created continuum, with REJECTION (perceived absence of parental warmth and nurturing and affection) at one end of the spectrum, and ACCEPTANCE, (perceived presence of warmth and nurturing) at the other end. This study saw a direct relationship between (Binge Eating Disorder) and parental acceptance. In addition, we will discuss and clarify the difference between the concepts of “physical attachment” according to John Bowlby, ( Family Therapy, Nichols & Schwartz) and emotional attachment. Clinicians will be encouraged to share thoughts and feelings about their own interpersonal family connectivity experience. An overview of binge and emotional eating will be explored reinforcing the idea of food as the symptom for providing emotional attachment, and comfort. Activities and techniques will be presented to use for both individual and group treatment settings. Attendees will take home innovative and expressive therapeutic ideas that will help create change for the client and/or family involved in the treatment process (i.e. creative visualization exercises, “each of us is different”, “family rituals”). Professionals will also attain hopeful strategies to discourage the development of binge eating issues in childhood through using early intervention and emotionally connective activities for the whole family (i.e. “Connection in the Kitchen” and “Family Journal”). In conclusion, there will be a Q & A segment, a group discussion regarding a treatment team approach, and suggestions for other collateral resources.

This course is based on the recorded webinar, What’s Eating Our Children: Expressive Therapies to Create Emotional Attachment in Binge Eating Disorder created by Michele Lynne Tamarkin, M.A., LMFT

Course Material Author

Michele Lynne Tamarkin, M.A., LMFT
Michele Tamarkin, licensed psychotherapist, certified fitness trainer and iaedp –LA-President. She has specialized 15 years in therapeutic fitness, body/self-esteem, and disordered eating for children and adults. Michele worked 3 years at the Eating Disorder Center of California and presented at AAMFT and iaedp National Conferences on ED issues in childhood. Her physical & psychological fitness approach encourages healthy behaviors early in life. Michele's passion for ED prevention and youth wellness enabled her unique creation -"Kid Power!" - book/program. Recent endeavors; collaboration w/Rachel Ray website to combat childhood obesity, National Chair position with iaedp, and writing a book-What's Eating Our Children?

Michele Lynne Tamarkin, M.A., LMFT authored the material only, and was not involved in creating this CE course. They are identified here for your own evaluation of the relevancy of the material this course is based on.

Course Creator

Max Schwanekamp

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, therapists, and counselors who seek to update their research knowledge and competency in treating patients with eating disorders, increase and acquire new skills, learn new intervention strategies, and obtain continuing education credits. It is appropriate for professionals at all levels of knowledge.

Course Objectives:

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  1. Participants will be able to explain and distinguish between the concepts of attachment (John Bowlby) and emotional connection (PAR Theory).
  2. Participants will learn and be able to utilize specific treatment activities and intervention strategies for increasing emotional connection and psychological satiety.
  3. Participants will be able to identify how the lack of family emotional connectedness contributes to Binge Eating Disorder in children and adolescents. (Emotional Disconnection = Eating Disorder)

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Course Number 101709
2 CE credit hours
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  • Recorded Webinar
Exam Fee $11.94
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