Robyn: Welcome to Tea Time with Robyn. I am here with the wonderful, Dr. Allison Chase. She is a child-adolescent psychologist. Hi.
Dr. Allison Chase: Hi. How are you?
Robyn: I’m good. I’m good. I have a very hard question for you, for the parents. So, this recovery process, how long is it going to take?
Dr. Allison Chase: Oh gosh, it’s always hard to have to be honest with parents, but I have to tell them “I cannot give you a time frame.” And I say that because we are talking about human beings—Human bodies—Human behavior. And we just don’t know what the body is going to do.
Robyn: So there’s no like, “It could take 30 days.” “It could take three years.” Is there any of that?
Dr. Allison Chase: I like to give them an expectation that research shows us that eating disorder treatment is about a three to five-year process.
Robyn: (looks at camera) okay.
Dr. Allison Chase: So I like to do that. But what’s really hard is, because if I give a date, then that number becomes, kind of, golden for them.
Robyn: You don’t just have the child or the adolescent going through recovery, I think sometimes the parents are putting their lives on hold…
Dr. Allison Chase: Ah, Yes…
Robyn: …and I think that is also a kind of powerful impact on them… And so…
Dr. Allison Chase: Oh my goodness, yes.
Robyn: What do you say to that?
Dr. Allison Chase: Well, first of all, I say I get it, I get it for them, and that this is impacting the whole family. Right, their children aren’t living in a little bubble, are they?—it’s affecting everybody. And I completely can understand how exhausted they are. And it’s not just exhausted—but how sad and scared—I think scared would be the best way to describe so many of the parents we work with. And we know feeling so scared can take our breath away, right? So I really talk about self-care. I can’t stress it enough.
Robyn: When I speak to parents, and I talk to them about self-care, they say: “How can I self-care when my kid is going through that!” It’s almost like they feel guilty. How do you help them go through that process?
Dr. Allison Chase: One of the things we always emphasize in our parent group, and when we meet with parents is, how do we take care of the carer, right? How do we help to set up a really strong support system—those that you can trust—those that you can rely on? Anything it takes, they do not have to feel guilty about because they’re such an active part of treatment. They have to be. For these children to get better—and these adolescents to get better—they need for their parents to be this really active part. The best thing you can do is help point out to them how hard they are working! You will be a better parent to your child who is suffering—you will be more effective…
Robyn: Recovery is so much more impactful when the family is involved.
Dr. Allison Chase: Oh there’s no doubt. They’re child doesn’t really have a chance in fighting this disorder, and moving forward in their life—which is what our goal is.
Robyn: That’s all we have time for, thank you so much for coming for Tea Time with Robyn (me.) If you have any questions, please email me at Teatime@eatingrecoverycenter.com and we will discuss the answers to them, over a cup of tea.