(For Members Only)
See the advantages of being an ANZAED Member

The need for both empathy and ‘Tough Love’ in eating disorder interventions

Conducted by Shannon Calvert, Lived Experience Educator

Register Now!

Thursday 19 September (1 hour duration) 

4pm New Zealand
1:30pm SA, NT
12pm WA, Singapore, Hong Kong
6am South Africa, Spain
12am USA EDT (19 September)

Eating disorders are conditions that involve an intense fear of eating normally, and clinicians working with this population may find themselves battling with their patients. This webinar is aimed at clinicians, to help them understand both the need for being tough with their patents and at the same time the need for compassion.

Eating disorders treatment often involves interventions that are challenging to the patient. Inpatient treatment frequently involves life-saving, confronting interventions (e.g., insertion of a naso-gastric tube (NGT); restraint to prevent removal of the tube, use of the mental health act). Day treatment involves meal support, persuading patients to eat foods that are challenging to them. Outpatient treatment often involves self-monitoring, regular eating and homework. These interventions can be conducted punitively, with disrespect and disdain for the patient, or they can be used supportively and collaboratively. When applied in a threatening or dismissive manner, such treatment can add to pre-existing trauma, hindering one’s physical and mental recovery. Alternatively, compassion and explanations can alleviate the inherent distress.

I will discuss my own experiences, illustrating when practices have been detrimental vs helpful and will outline some recommendations for treatment: a) Where challenging and confronting interventions are deemed necessary, application must be in the context of life-saving/life-enhancing intervention; b) The importance of treatment at all levels of care being guided by empathy, compassion and open, honest communication; c) Providing the individual (and carer) with a clear rationale for using the intervention(s) and the risks of not doing so.

In conclusion, ‘tough love’ can be necessary in treatment and, so is the equal importance of compassion and dignity towards the individual. That equal balance saved my life.


Shannon Calvert is a passionate lived experience advocate for consumers and supports, collaborating with organisations that facilitate consumer-centred, recovery-oriented and integrated best practice. She works as a national and international systemic advocate sitting on a range of boards, committees, and advisory groups. Her great passion is in educating, providing supervision and collaborating alongside clinicians, researchers, and organisations that aim to champion wellbeing, supporting quality in life.

Shannon is the Peer Work Co-ordinator for a large Health Service in WA, as well as a Mental Health Trainer and Lived Experience Educator.  She is a member of ANZAED’S Consumer and Carer Committee, Membership Committee and the 2021 Conference Committee, as well as a member of the AED Experts by Experience Committee and Membership Recruitment Committee.

Shannon continues to present oral papers and workshops at local, national and international conferences (both general mental health, and eating disorder-specific) on topics such as the importance of compassion in involuntary treatment; consumer and carer engagement in design of policy, training, and education; as well as her lived experience of an eating disorder and trauma. She was a Keynote speaker at the 2018 Service User Academia Symposium and at the 2019 International Conference on Eating Disorders in New York, she delivered a plenary presentation: “When does the time come for compulsory treatment?”

Integrative Cognitive-Affective Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa (ICAT-BN)

Presented by Stephen Wonderlich, Ph.D. & Carol Peterson, Ph.D.

Register Now!

Thursday 3 October (1 hour duration) 

1pm New Zealand
9:30pm SA, NT
8am WA, Singapore, Hong Kong
6am South Africa, Spain
8pm USA EDT (2 October)

The purpose of this webinar will be to introduce participants to Integrative Cognitive-Affective Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa (ICAT-BN). Presenters will review the model of bulimic psychopathology underlying ICAT-BN, with a particular emphasis on the momentary emotional correlates of bulimic 

behavior and their role in precipitating eating disorder psychopathology. The webinar will focus on the clinical content of ICAT-BN including the phases of treatment, clinical targets, and psychotherapeutic techniques. The overarching clinical aim of ICAT-BN is to enhance patients’ awareness of momentary emotional factors that contribute to their eating disorder symptoms, identify emotion precipitants, and change behavioral responses to emotions. ICAT-BN is an emotion-focused treatment that emphasizes behavioral changes in eating patterns, coping strategies for urge management, and the use of skills. Finally, this webinar will provide a brief overview of clinical research examining the empirical evidence of ICAT-BN as well as recent adaptations of ICAT for the treatment of binge eating disorder.


Carol B. Peterson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and the Chief Training Officer of The Emily Program (an eating disorders treatment program). She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota. The recipient of federal and foundation grants, Dr. Peterson has co-authored over 175 peer-reviewed articles on the topics of eating disorders treatment, assessment, and maintenance mechanisms. She is a Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders and a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Eating Disorders as well as a clinician and a clinical supervisor.

Stephen Wonderlich, Ph.D. is the Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. He is Co-Director of the Eating Disorder and Weight Management Center at Sanford Health. He serves as Vice President at Sanford Research. He has published widely in the literature. He currently sits on the Editorial Board for several professional journals, is a Past-President of the Academy for Eating Disorders, and was a member of the Eating Disorder Workgroup for DSM-5. He serves, or has served, on the Board of Directors for several eating disorder organizations, including the Eating Disorder Research Society, Academy for Eating Disorders, Eating Disorder Coalition, and the National Eating Disorder Association.

Webinar recordings

See recording of past webinars (Members only)