Engaging with young people and families when working inter-culturally with adolescent eating disorders. How can FT-ED contribute to developing this area of work?
By Liz Dodge

In the field of eating disorders, specialist services tend to “define”, “assess” and “treat” in ways regarded as normative from a position of privilege. Faced with high levels of risk clinicians seek certainty through treatments based on what is considered the best available evidence often sitting more comfortably in the “expert” rather than the “not knowing” position.

​Family therapy focussed on the eating disorder (variously described as FT-ED, FBT, “Maudsley”) is frequently the recommended first line of treatment for young people in NZ, Australia, US and UK –  however promoting access to services, engagement and treatment for young people and families from minoritized groups without losing sight of the goals of weight restoration and achievement of optimum physical and mental health presents a major challenge to services.

This workshop will explore the contribution of FT-ED (Eisler et al 2016) and ideas from the field of systemic family therapy when working interculturally and exploring wider context issues in order to develop best practice.   This will include examining therapist-family relationships in light of their relative sociocultural qualities.

Both didactic teaching and experiential exercises will be included, and participants will be encouraged to share their own experience of work in this area.

Eisler, I., Simic, M., Blessitt, E., & Dodge, L. & Team. (2016). Maudsley service manual for child and adolescent eating disorders (Revised). London: Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Service, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Available at:


Liz Dodge
Family and Systemic Psychotherapist

Liz is dual trained as a systemic psychotherapist and social worker and has worked in eating disorders since the 1990s, as a clinician, researcher and trainer in specialist services.

She was involved in several treatment trials in treatment of adolescent and adult eating disorders (Eisler et al 2000; Dare et al 2000) including two as a family therapy supervisor (Schmidt et al 2007) (Agras et al 2014).
Liz has been a teacher and supervisor in the field of family and systemic psychotherapy since the mid-1990s including teaching at the Institute of Psychiatry and Institute of Family Therapy in London, Bristol University and the University of Otago in Wellington. Since 2014 Liz has worked as teacher/trainer in London for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Kings College and Reading University. In 2017 she was involved in the training of the specialist CAMHS Eating Disorder teams in England, a major government initiative.