I have always admired you. Worshipped you, in fact. As you say, you are one of the few people out there who is treating eating disorders and knows what they are doing. For one thing, you have experienced eating disorders first hand. You took action and you did a lot of research and you healed yourself, and you are out there and giving yourself to the world and healing others.
You are right when you say you can’t trust someone with book-learning only. My own theory is that folks decide to specialize in treating eating disorders because they want total control over their patients. Eating disorders specialists get to talk to the patient’s primary care doctor, psychiatrist, and nutritionist regularly, and often the patient’s family and sometimes teachers or guidance counselors as well. These patients require a lot of appointments, usually twice-a-week therapy, so there’s a lot of money involved and a lot of control. The therapist gets to treat the patient like a child, and controlling therapists eat this up. Many therapists, when they first start out, assume that eating disorders patients come from wealthy families that have a nice supply of money to pay the therapist. So I think these are big reasons why many therapists get into eating disorders. Great incentive, looks super on paper, anyway. Sure, they have an altruistic attitude, but inside, it’s all greed and control. And do they really know anything about eating disorders? Of course not. They’ve read about it in a book and that’s all. They’ve seen charts and diagrams. But they don’t know how it really feels deep down inside.
I have had 18 therapists, 19 if I stick with the new one I just started with. How many of them had an eating disorder themselves? None. And yet they were quick to lecture me and tell me how to run my life. Huh? What was I paying these people for? They didn’t even help me.
Shan, your theories click with me and you are dead-on right about everything you say. For one thing, this “recovery” thing they talk about is indeed bullshit and I’ve known this for a while, I guess since Feb 2012 and when I fired my abusive therapist shortly afterward, the controlling one who treated me like a child. Ditching “eating disorders treatment” was one liberating thing that really saved me…at least temporarily…or at least it got me out of a downward spiral that would have ended in a very bad way.
“Weekly weigh-ins” is crap, for one thing, and always was. Especially in my case, given that I have diabetes insipidus (readers, please look this up) and need to drink a lot of water when I woke up in the morning, throwing off whatever Dr. K’s scale said by the time I got there. And these practitioners were quibbling over fractions of a pound? I mean, what a joke.
I don’t want to be a slave to “meal plan” for the rest of my life. Meal plan is crap. The food pyramid is based on lies and bribery, anyway. I did not appreciate being force-fed Nutri-grain bars and Rice Krispie bars in “treatment” (uh, non-treatment) and having the other patients so brainwashed into thinking all this was justified and okay. It’s not.
Readers, in “treatment” they tell us that vegetarianism and veganism are eating disorders. I am not kidding you! Shan, you enlighten the world by shedding light on all this and allowing your patients to explore any type of eating they want. In “treatment,” they ignore cultural preferences (and probably call religious prohibitions “eating disorders” as well). You have not talked about cultural stuff, but you have talked about helping us be whoever we are inside, and that, I assume, includes who we are culturally. You have your patients go through allergy testing to rule out any of those problems that may never, ever have been explored by any other practitioner. You are amazing.
You talk about our very real fear about becoming “fat.” Yep, real. Cuz these “meal plans” seem threatening to us and how on earth can we believe these “nutritionists” who obviously know very little (not much more than the food pyramid) and have lied to us, over and over?
Those nutritionists did nothing but treat me like a child. And the ones at Walden knew nothing about binge eating and did not know how to treat it. Nada. All they wanted to do was put weight on the patients, which was what the insurance companies wanted. So if your number went down, you’d get a visit from the nutritionist that day. Me, I liked hearing that my number went down. Only I kept that to myself. I was trying to make it go down. Can you blame me? I hated those people. They were like kindergarten. Folks that treat me like an adult I might meet halfway.
Shan, I know if I got in with you, my edema problem would be solved. My body insists on doing the wrong thing with water right now and has been for a while, and you could straighten that out in an instant. You could figure out, also very quickly, where I am nutritionally lacking, and solve the binge eating problem so I wouldn’t have to take medication for it. You realize that people don’t binge simply out of hunger. Maybe if those problems were solved, I would have better self-esteem, and would have less desire for thinness and more desire for life.
You could help me figure out how to solve the credibility problem, how to get myself into a position where folks would listen to me, where I’d be treated like the respectable writer that I am instead of a blubbering idiot “mental patient” that people mistake me for.
About a month ago, I attended a free workshop thingy you were giving. It was kind of a teleconference. You could sign up for it, and then get a link. The link would get you a skype number to dial into, or a phone number, or a web page. The conference was a couple of hours long. You gave two of these conferences.
At the first one, I listened intently and took notes. I was so glued. The day before, I’d been kicked out of my support group. Yeah, I know. I am against forced care and won’t bow down to my treatment team, don’t even have a “team” and nobody likes that so I got kicked out. So the next day was the day of this conference in which you spoke and there were, I guess, 100 listeners and I have no clue who these folks were.
As it turned out, they were potential clients. Business prospects. This was a business move, Shan. You were on the prowl and as the evening session went on, I became resentful. You have never revealed upfront how much you charge for individual sessions (Readers, these sessions are via Skype and Shan is out of Canada). I knew that I was about to find out.
So I stayed for the whole two hours. I listened to the stories, stories I ‘d heard before, the testimonials…I asked myself why there were not other testimonials besides the two or maybe three that are up there on your site. Why only the two examples? But I kept on listening.
I was getting more and more bummed out. My idol, Shan Larter. Shan, I have always felt that you and I were on the same side of the coin. But I know from my publisher that what people do to rope in business is to offer something for free. So this is what you were doing, making promise after promise.
But you stated that you only took on “special clients,” ones that you could help. You stated that you would refund someone’s money if you felt that it was not a good match. After they had paid.
Yeah, if they were too sick, maybe? Or didn’t have more bucks to pay if the first 16 sessions didn’t work out? Ones that didn’t have supportive husbands or parents (maybe with wallets)? Or if there was any question of liability?
Shan, I’ve heard it all before. Care…but only if, first of all, you are female. Care available only to those who have money. I wanted to turn my computer off in disgust.
I kept on hearing that you had “secrets” that you wanted to share with only those that “got in” to your special program. Oh yeah, those that paid big bucks.
The total price was, if I recall correctly, $4,500 for 16 sessions, to be paid upfront. This included a $500 discount. Now, if you downloaded her MP3 file, none of this money stuff is included in the file. There was a payment plan, but if you pay upfront this “shows you are committed.”
Do the math, readers. Hey, I know you folks with eating disorders have calculators.
Like I said, there was another session, which I believe was about identical to the first. I had already turned my back on the world, Shan. Just disgusted. Cuz it’s true….
Good, quality care is for the rich. It just totally sucks.
So I have talked about changing the world. I’m telling you, if I ever offer anything, anything at all, to help anyone, it’s not going to have a huge price tag on it.
Well, I still admire you, Shan. Offer free care and I’ll love you a lot more.