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There are a number of key principles understood by clinicians who specialize in eating disorders. It may be helpful for the assessing and referring clinician to have some idea of these tips, since they will be useful as the clinician attempts to secure the client's engagement in treatment.

-Do not be judgmental about your patient’s actions. He or she is in pain, not trying to manipulate you.
-A fat thought is always about more than fat.
-Try to tie in ‘food to feelings’.
-Try to find in your patient’s discourse what feeling state he or she is in “It sounds that the diet that you are in today makes you so happy that you forgot that the last three times you began dieting, it did not go that well. But, what do you think will be different today?”
-Use food and feeding metaphors such as “You fed the hungry child inside you with food instead of with a kind word”
-Acknowledge that the pain of weight and shape is real.

To work with eating disordered patients is a long term commitment. As a mental health professional it is important to remember, just like we remind our patients, that there is no magic pill to make it all well, just, a hopeful road to be traveled together, your patient and you.