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The Role of the Therapeutic Family Meal in the Treatment of Eating Disorders

June 2, 2015 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

 Please register below (once registered, please scroll down and you will receive a confirmation at the bottom of the page):

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The Role of the Therapeutic Family Meal in Treating Eating Disorders

Presented by: 



Julia Cassidy, MS, RD, CEDRD – Director of Dietary Services – Center for Discovery

Julia has worked at Center for Discovery for over 10 years. She began as a diet technician, was promoted to Dietitian in 2006, and has been the Director of Dietary Services since 2010. Julia has developed and updated the nutrition program used with all clients at Discovery. Julia engages the public through many mediums: CSULB guest speaker on eating disorders, has educated dietitians at Children Hospitals, and maintains corporate level training on Discovery’s nutrition program. Seeing her clients start on their path and make changes in their life from the time of admission to the time they discharge is the greatest reward of her career. Julia’s belief is that having a healthy relationship with food is key to attaining the tools necessary while on the road to recovery. The core ingredient for success for patients with eating disorders can be summed up in the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”


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Juli Agajanian, LMFT, CEDSDirector of Clinical Training- Center for Discovery, Los  Alamitos, California

Juli has spent the last 12 years working with adolescents and their families in a variety of settings, and has been a Clinician and Program Director with Center for Discovery since 2007. She now is responsible for overseeing and training the clinical staff in the eating disorder division of Center for Discovery’s various facilities nationwide. Juli has experience as a Professional Assault Crisis Intervention Trainer, an in-home behavioral specialist for adolescents with serious emotional disturbances, and a clinician/supervisor in an Intensive Day Treatment. She has done speaking engagements about eating disorders and body image at national Eating Disorder conferences, mental health clinics, girls’ organizations, and various schools and colleges. Juli is passionate about her work and is touched by seeing clients reconnect with their families through the process of family therapy.

Disclosure statement: Both presenters are employed by Center for Discovery, a residential treatment provider in the Eating Disorder Treatment Industry.

Background:  Oftentimes, families are unsure on how to support their loved one with eating disorder recovery. In some evidence-based treatments, family members are encouraged to take on a directive role with regards to mealtime, while the client’s feelings and preferences take a backseat. Our approach works to empower the client and minimize power struggles.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to identify, utilize and explain:

  1. The importance of eating meals together as a family in the home.
  2. The use of “Food Support” as opposed to “Food Police” by loved ones towards the client during the treatment of the client’s eating disorder.
  3. How to address eating disorder behaviors when/if they are occurring during a meal and help parents to start to practice supportive responses.
  4. The use of experiential techniques such as role-plays during family meal and meal preparation.
  5. Processing and problem-solving practical solutions to possible barriers to recovery in the home environment.
  6. The use of the “Therapeutic Family Kitchen” as a way to educate family about expectations patients must follow as well as potential ways in which patients may attempt to act out eating disordered behaviors at home.

Case Presentations:

We present about 4 case presentations as well as show a demonstration video during this workshop in which we give examples of actual Therapeutic Family Meal family sessions and how the struggles and triumph of these sessions resulted in powerful insight for clients and their families as well as the treatment team.


This presentation will include an overview of the role of the Therapeutic Family Meal in the treatment of patients with eating disorders. A specific focus will be made on the different types of interventions and strategies that can be taught during this session to aid the family in understanding how to support the patient during mealtime at home.  The ultimate goal of the therapeutic family meal is to educate family on how to best sustain recovery, even in times of stress.


June 2, 2015
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category: