2021 Virtual ANZAED Autumn Workshop Series
Theme: Diversity of Minds & Bodies

The Virtual 2021 ANZAED Autumn Workshop Series was held on Thursday 18 March, Friday 19 March & Saturday 20 March.

At AWS 2021 we organised 8 interactive workshops over 3 days with the option to participate live or watch later on demand, addressing frontier issues in eating disorders from leading researchers and clinicians across Australia, focussing on deepening crucial understanding of the experience of diverse groups who are impacted by eating disorders and resourcing curious clinicians to support their recovery journey.

With the pandemic having such a huge impact on the world we took a COVID cautious approach by offering the workshop series online.

Linsey Atkins & Michelle Roberton
AWS 2021, Co-chairs

Workshop Program

9.00am – 12.00pm AEDT | Eating disorders in Trans and Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents. A workshop exploring multidisciplinary assessment and clinical management

Abstract: Being trans is now largely viewed as part of the natural spectrum of human diversity. It is, however, frequently accompanied by gender dysphoria, the distress arising from incongruence between a person’s gender identity and the gender they were assigned at birth (Telfer et. al. 2018). A study on the mental health of trans young people living in Australia known as Trans Pathways (Strauss et. al. 2017), found that 22.7% reported ever being diagnosed with an eating disorder. 5.9% of these young people were currently diagnosed with an eating disorder at the time of the study with less than half receiving treatment at that time. Across all Trans Pathways participants, eating and exercise behaviours in relation to their gender identity and/or expression were common with 66% having ever limited their eating because of their gender and 66% had ever increased their exercise because of their gender. Conversely, 33% had ever increased their eating and 25% had limited exercise because of their gender. International studies also report disordered weight management behaviours through intake restriction, purging, diet pills, laxative use and non-prescription steroid use (Guss et. al. 2016). Presentations to gender services across Australia and internationally have been increasing rapidly over recent years, with the Royal Children’s Hospital receiving more than 400 new referrals during the first 11 months of 2020. Assessment of body image disturbance and disordered eating behaviours are now considered routine for new assessments by paediatric and mental health clinicians within gender services, however, it has not been standard practice to incorporate detailed discussions about gender identity in eating disorder clinics (Strandjord, Ng, Rome 2015). A growing body of literature suggests that gender identity may play a role in some eating disturbances, particularly for those experiencing gender dysphoria.

Our workshop will be presented by clinicians from both the RCH Gender Service and the RCH Eating Disorder Service. We will address the multidisciplinary assessment and support options for young people with a focus on their gender identity, body image and disordered eating behaviours. We will discuss the potential for delayed recognition of gender dysphoria in adolescents with anorexia nervosa, using a recent case history to highlight the issues encountered. We will also address the impact of gender dysphoria on treatment for eating disorders and approaches to maximise overall health and well-being for these young people in the longer term.

Associate Professor Michelle Telfer is a Paediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Physician. She is currently the Director of the Department of Adolescent Medicine at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Melbourne. She is also the Director of the RCH Gender Service, being instrumental in the development and expansion of the clinical and research programs with rising demand for trans-medicine in children and adolescents. As an advocate for improved access to medical treatment, Michelle was central to the achievement of federal legal reform, with trans and gender diverse young people now being able access hormone and surgical treatment without the need for approval by the Family Court of Australia. She is also the lead author of the Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for trans and gender diverse children and adolescents which was endorsed through an editorial in The Lancet, and she was personally profiled in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health in 2019.

Dr Catherine Mollica is a Clinical Psychologist with the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Gender Service. She has experience as a Family Based Treatment therapist with the RCH Eating Disorders Service and also worked with the RCH Specialist Autism Team. Earlier in her career she developed a broad range of skills in the multi-disciplinary setting of RCH Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as well as running her own private practice.


Dr Alicia Tompson is a Clinical Psychologist with the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Eating Disorder Service and in private practice. She has worked with young people with eating disorders and body image concerns for over ten years, including children and adolescents presenting with restrictive eating disorders, and their families. More recently, she worked as a Clinical Psychologist within the Gender Service at RCH.

1.30pm – 4.30pm AEDT | Diversity in Mind, Body & Gender | Emerging knowledges at the intersections of gender diversity and eating disorders: A interactive conversational space between Queerspace Melbourne and EDV

Abstract: In this interactive workshop, Amy Woods, Marie August and Naomi Rottem will explore themes of personhood, the body and gender. We will introduce concepts around gender identity and discuss some of the many ways in which LGBTIQA+ people may experience the intersection of their identity and body image. We will explore possible functions that eating disorders may serve in the lives of some LGBTIQA+ people and use case presentation to explore these themes, amplifying the voices of lived experience. The presenters will use a conversational approach, reflecting a diversity of views and experiences, and will invite participants to reflect on their own values and practice. We will raise awareness of the diverse needs of LGBTIQA+ people experiencing issues relating to their body, how they may experience interactions with service providers, and how services and practitioners can increase safety and inclusion for people accessing support around these issues.

Amy Woods is the Wellbeing Program Coordinator at Eating Disorders Victoria, who joined the team to coordinate EDV’s COVID-19 response program. She manages the support groups including BLOOM, which is specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community and supports people with an eating disorder and their carers via phone and zoom for 1:1 counselling. She has a background in mental health counselling, working in both inpatient and community settings and is dedicated to supporting people. Amy has a passion for working with Eating Disorders, BPD and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Marie August is a senior practitioner in queerspace in Melbourne and works with individuals, couples and families in the LBGTIQ+ space. Marie has been working as a psychotherapist/counsellor and clinical supervisor with queerspace since May 2016. Marie has worked in community mental health services and addiction services in both New Zealand and Australia for 22 years. Marie also has worked in the education sector in Japan supporting foreign teachers teaching in Japan, where she lived for 5 years. Marie is interested in the intersections of bodies, gender and culture and what is possible in the re-imagining of how we take up living in bodies in the worlds that we inhabit. Marie has been involved in and within various queer communities throughout the world for the last 35 years. Marie also has a small psychotherapy practice where she continues to learn from the people she consults with.

Naomi Rottem is a social worker and family therapist who works for drummond street services and queerspace, managing training and consultancy services. She previously worked at the Bouverie Centre, and has designed and delivered a range of training, supervision and consultation to workers and managers in mental health, substance use, and other health and welfare sectors. Her areas of interest include lived experience workforces, diversity, intersectionality and inclusion, family inclusive practices, family violence and single session interventions.

9.00am – 12.00pm AEDT | Working with the body image concerns of young people with eating disorders in family led treatment

Abstract: This workshop will introduce a framework to help clinicians decide when and how to address body image distress in family led refeeding. The workshop aims to help clinicians to prioritise and identify the focus of body image interventions and explores how to support and upskill parents to identify and address signs of body image distress with compassion and firmness. The workshop offers ideas to support clinicians to help parents explore their own body experience which may be inadvertently impacting on their expectations and experience of treatment.

Lived experience panel: The workshop will conclude with a lived experience panel including both carers and people with lived/living experience of an eating disorder.

Dr Emma Spiel, is a clinical psychologist who has worked as a therapist, researcher, and supervisor within the eating disorders field over the past 10 years. As part of the La Trobe child body image research team, Emma’s doctoral research involved examining the development of biases in the body image beliefs of children using a developmental, bio-psycho-social model. Since this time, she has continued to study body image as it relates to eating disorders, wellbeing, culture, and issues of social justice, and has co-developed training in this area through her work at the Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED). Emma’s approach to body image is influenced by current and diverse theoretical models, her experience as a clinician, and her own yoga and embodiment practices. Emma sees the body relationship as an important yet often overlooked or misunderstood part of healing from an eating disorder.

Jess Ryan, is a Clinical Psychologist and family therapist with extensive experience working with people with eating disorders across public and private sectors. She is passionate about family inclusive practices, believing that directly engaging families is beneficial in the recovery process and fostering greater understanding for those involved. At CEED, Jess works within the youth team, providing clinical consultation and delivering training for health professionals including FBT. Her work is motivated by a desire increase the accessibility of high-quality eating disorder treatment across and improve outcomes for people with eating disorder.

9.00am – 12.00pm AEDT | Working with ARFID in Adolescents & Adults: Incorporating Lived Experience Narratives, Science and Clinical Observations into Best Practice Care

Abstract: As onset for ARFID is generally at an early age, adolescents and adults presenting for treatment of ARFID have likely had a lifelong struggle with their eating. For many of these individuals they have had multiple unhelpful experiences with healthcare professionals including misdiagnosis and dismissive responses or have had a long journey of hopelessness about the possibility of changing their eating behaviour. With the introduction of ARFID in the DSM-5 there has been increased awareness of feeding challenges amongst health professionals and increased interest and research focus on developing interventions for ARFID.

This workshop will incorporate lived experience narratives, current literature and clinical experiences to achieve the following learning outcomes:

    • Share insights from lived experience to facilitate improved understanding of the patient journey and how health professionals can be helpful in supporting individuals with ARFID and their families.
    • Provide an overview of predisposing, precipitating and maintaining factors to enhance assessment and clinical formulation skills.
    • Provide an overview of the evidence base and currently available interventions including transdisciplinary perspectives

Dr Amy Talbot is the director, founder and senior clinical psychologist at The Talbot Centre, a leading centre of excellence and innovation in healthcare that includes one of Australia’s largest private multidisciplinary outpatient feeding clinics. In 2018 she was awarded Australian Psychologist of the Year at the inaugural Australian Allied Health Awards. She has published multiple articles about neuropsychological functioning in eating disorders and more recently about feeding disorders across the lifespan. She was the invited co-author of the Treatment of ARFID article in the recent publication The Encyclopedia of Eating Disorders and provides clinical consultation, supervision and training to clinicians Australia wide who work with patients and families affected by feeding difficulties.

1.30pm – 4.30pm AEDT | Beyond Body Image: The Body as a Resource in ED Recovery

Abstract: Within the ED field, body image has been the focus of significant clinical and research attention and remains a topic many clinicians feel ill-equipped to address. This workshop will support attendees to explore a broader understanding of how what we name as “body image” is constructed intra-personally, inter-personally and collectively, and the role of the ED Clinician in facilitating conversations which assist clients to experience their bodies more as a resource than a battlefield in, and beyond, recovery.

People’s relationship with their body can be deeply impacted by their subjective experience of the world as it is felt through the body, alongside objective, hierarchical and stigmatising ways bodies are regarded in our culture. ED Clinicians can have a powerful role in elevating and extending more traditional interventions based on preoccupation with weight and shape, to offer impactful strategies which address dynamic, relational and cultural factors through a greater understanding of embodiment and embodiment practices.

Together, we will consider ways in which we can engage in effective, active allyship with our clients, colleagues and communities to collectively shift the conversation about bodies to one which emphasises embodiment, resilience and the powerful use of the body as a resource for recovery

Janet Lowndes is the Director and Principal Psychologist of Mind Body Well, a private practice in Melbourne providing outpatient therapies for people with eating disorders and concerns about eating behaviours, body image and wellbeing – from a Non-Diet, Health at Every Size® perspective. Janet has provided counselling to assist people with eating disorders for over 25 years. She is an experienced trainer and supervisor, providing support for therapists from various health professions. Janet is also a qualified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist, inspired by neuro-psychotherapy, embodiment, and social justice perspectives which empower those seeking treatment and aim to address systemic inequalities and barriers to care. Janet’s approach is evidence-based, client-centred, and is focussed on enhancing mind-body wellbeing.

Fiona Sutherland is Director of The Mindful Dietitian, practising for over 20 years as a specialist in the areas of eating disorders, body image and sports & performance nutrition. Fiona is a committed Health At Every Size ® and Non Diet Dietitian, spending most of her working week supervising other Dietitians, or facilitating live and online training events for Dietitians and health professionals. Fiona has been a general member of ANZAED Exec since 2017 and was the ANZAED Conference Co-Convenor in 2018. Fiona is host of the Podcast “The Mindful Dietitian” and a Sports Dietitian, consulting at The Australian Ballet School and national sporting organisations. She also teaches across Dietetic training programs in Melbourne in Counselling Skills and Weight Inclusive Approaches in Dietetics. Fiona is a committed mindfulness practitioner and Yoga Teacher, bringing a particular emphasis on embodiment, mindful eating, trauma-informed approaches and body image into her work and training.

1.30pm – 4.30pm AEDT | ARFID & Youth

Abstract: Since its addition to the DSM-5, increasing numbers of children and adolescents are presenting for treatment of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). Research is now recognizing the heterogeneity and complexity of ARFID presentations, hypothesized to be organized along a three-dimensional model that includes: sensory sensitivity, fear of aversive consequences, and lack of interest in eating. Complicating the clinical picture, individuals with ARFID are more likely to be younger and experience comorbid mood or anxiety disorders. Consequently, a tailored, flexible approach is required to target both nutritional and health impacts of selective eating, while also addressing the diversity in presentations. This workshop will present an innovative treatment that combines an adapted form of Family Based Treatment (FBT) for ARFID, together with the Unified Protocols for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Children and Adolescents (UP-C/A), a manualized, transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral treatment. Treatment focuses on a combination of techniques aimed at addressing both weight gain/normalization of eating and additional symptoms including fear, disgust, and obsessive thoughts, as well as varying forms of functionally-related avoidance behavior. A major advantage of this approach is the ability for clinicians to personalize treatment based on the patient’s specific presentation. This interactive workshop will begin with a didactic description of the treatment model/goals, utilizing case examples of patients and families who have benefitted from this treatment model. We will then use role plays to demonstrate delivery of this integrative approach and the various modules that can be used for differing ARFID presentations.

Dr Claire Burton, is a clinical psychologist in the RCH Clinical Psychology Service. She has worked with eating disorders for 10 years, including 8 years with the RCH Eating Disorder Program in the Department of Adolescent Medicine for 8 years. During her time in the Eating Disorder Program she developed a strong interest in ARFID and she leads a research project examining a novel ARFID intervention. Claire continues to work with young people with ARFID and comorbid medical conditions in the RCH Psychology Service.


Erica Allan is a psychologist in the Royal Children’s Hospital Eating Disorder Service. She has worked as a psychologist in the area of eating disorders for four years and prior to that worked as a research assistant in eating disorders for seven years. She has a strong interest in restrictive eating disorders, including ARFID, and is currently involved in a research project examining a novel ARFID intervention.

9.00am – 12.00pm AEDT | Working with BDD and EDs

Abstract: Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a prevalent, yet highly misunderstood psychiatric disorder. The aim of this workshop is to support clinicians working in the field of eating disorders and body image in better understanding BDD, with an introduction to assessment and treatment. This will include an overview of presentations, differential diagnosis, clinical features and assessment. The core features of cognitive behaviour therapy for BDD will be covered, including motivational interviewing, exposure and response prevention, perception training and mirror work. Specific presentations of BDD will also be discussed, including working with individuals seeking cosmetic surgery, muscle dysmorphia, genital dysmorphia, and individuals with comorbid BDD and EDs.

Dr Fran Beilharz is a registered psychologist and clinical psychology registrar primarily working in the field of body image and eating disorders at the private practice Mind Body Well. Her Clinical Psychology Doctorate thesis explored Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), and trialled a novel intervention using a visual training program to target the differences in visual perception present in BDD. She is particularly interested in combining research and clinical practices across the spectrum of body image concerns, and is aligned with the HAES® principles.

Dr Gemma Sharp is an NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow and the leader of the Body Image Research Group at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Monash University, Melbourne. She has been involved in the field of BDD and cosmetic surgery research for the last seven years and is particularly well known for her investigation of genital focused BDD across the gender spectrum. She was invited to give a TEDx presentation on genital dysmorphia in 2017. She also runs her own private clinical psychology practice where she specialises in the treatment of eating disorders and BDD.

1.30pm – 4.30pm AEDT | Working with Indigenous populations in a culturally sensitive manner

Abstract: Indigenous people in Australia are a diverse population. While making up only 3% of the Australian population, our burden of chronic disease explains 70% of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and this burden is largely due to the outcomes of modifiable risk factors (Al-Yaman, 2016). Reducing exposure to the modifiable risk factors could prevent over one-third (37%) of the burden of disease in Indigenous Australians. The risk factors contributing the most to the overall disease burden were tobacco and alcohol use, high body mass, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and dietary factors (CoA, 2016). High body mass and dietary factors are related to eating disorders. For these reasons, we need to consider how to best work with Indigenous people and communities. While most health professions require some degree of cultural competency, we recognise that clinicians still need to develop skills in working across cultures. We will present an interactive workshop that allows learners to develop skills and behaviours that are evidence-based, and demonstrate how clinicians can develop therapeutic journeys in paralogy with Indigenous service users.

Professor Aunty Kerrie Doyle
is the Associate Dean, Indigenous Health in Western Sydney University’s School of Medicine. A Winninninni/Cadigal/Irish woman, Professor Doyle was one of the first Indigenous women to graduate from Oxford University. She is also the Chair and Research Lead of the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Clinical Academic Group at Maridulu Budyari Gumal, the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE); member of the Council of Elders for the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM); and board member for Ngaramura Aboriginal, Maori and Pacific Islander Corporation. Professor Doyle has spent her career dedicated to improving outcomes for Australia’s Indigenous population. Her research interests include: education, promoting applied cultural proficiency research, social determinants of health and Indigenous health. She has published extensively in academic journals, presented papers at national and international conferences and co-authored book chapters on Indigenous issues. Professor Doyle’s extensive research and teaching experience has made her a sought-after speaker at conferences and she is a well-known media spokesperson on Indigenous issues.

Dr Paul Saunders is a Research Fellow, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing in Western Sydney University’s School of Medicine. A Biripi man, with connections to the Kamilaroi nation, Dr Saunders holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and is currently undertaking a Master of Public Health (MPH) through Western Sydney University. He has experience in clinical medicine, medical devices and Aboriginal health research which includes research project management. Dr Saunder’s experience encompasses both clinical and social health research, primarily relating to surgical prosthesis efficacy and Indigenous models of healthcare. His research interests include the social determinants of Indigenous health as well as care coordination pathways and innovative models of care for Indigenous communities. Paul is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, and an Honorary Fellow of Ngarruwan Ngadju, the University of Wollongong’s First People’s Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

AWS Co-chairs

Linsey Atkins, DPsych is an experienced Clinical Psychologist and Director of Hope Family Clinic, a Melbourne based centre that provides individual and family based treatment for adolescents and adults with eating disorders. Dr Atkins has been the Coordinator of the Eating Disorder Program at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, worked as the lead therapist on an RCT comparing PFT and FBT for AN, the Team Leader of the Butterfly Day Group Program for adolescents and adults as well as Coordinator of the outpatient eating disorders program at Monash Health.

Michelle Roberton APD is the Manager of the Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED) which collaborates with and supports the health system to provide quality community treatment for eating disorders through service development support, clinical case consultation and workforce development. Michelle is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with extensive clinical experience in the mental health sector including ten years as a senior clinician at CEED, working with people with eating disorders in a wide range of public and private sector settings, and treatment modalities.

AWS Committee Member

Claire Diffey is a credentialed mental health nurse (ACMHN) and Clinical Family Therapist (AAFT) with over 40 years of experience within the Victorian Mental Health service system. She is recognised for her expertise in the Child and Youth Mental Health and her work and research in Single Session Intervention (SSI) in CAMHS was able to inform practice change in CAMHS services in Victoria. Her expertise in Eating Disorders led to her position of Manager of the Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED) for 12 years where she led the development and expansion of the service until she retired in June 2019. Claire now works in her private practice to provide therapy to youth, individuals and families.

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