Behavioral family therapy for anorexia nervosa

Studies show that a certain form of family therapy may be effective in treating children and young teens who have anorexia nervosa and who still live at home.1 All family members who interact with the young person are expected to attend the counseling sessions.

In the first phase of this type of family therapy, parents are helped to temporarily take control over their child's eating. This helps the child gain weight. After a reasonable amount of weight has been gained, control over eating is gradually given back to the child. Also, general family issues are dealt with during these counseling sessions.


  1. Halmi KA (2008). Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and obesity. In RE Hales et al., eds., Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry, 5th ed., pp. 971–977. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Last Updated: September 16, 2009

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