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Working Therapeutically with People with Eating Disorders – Harriet Parsons


Date: September 9th & 18th 2021
Location: Live via Zoom*
Time: 14:00 – 17:00 on both days BST
CPD credits: 6
Speaker: Harriet Parsons

*This training will be recorded and is available to purchase On-Demand. 

Sold By: Essential Therapy Training


Course Description: 

In these two webinars, Harriet will present a way of understanding eating disorders that will provide a grounded foundation upon which to build and structure your work with people with eating disorders. As well as outlining the different diagnostic categories, Harriet will elaborate the dynamics of the different eating disorders to ensure participants have an experiential understanding of what it is like for a person to experience an eating disorder. Drawing on her years of experience working with people with eating disorders, Harriet will use clear and helpful examples to bring this material to life and ensure that those attending are given something concrete and helpful, no matter what field of study they come from.

Harriet’s vast experience working with clinicians of every discipline (psychiatrists in training, GPs, Mental health nurses, clinical nurses, dietitians, OTs, social workers, psychologists and psychotherapists of every discipline) ensures that you will learn about eating disorders in a clear and helpful way, that is grounded in the clinic and can be used in any clinical field. The seminars will also cover communication skills that are particularly important when working with people with eating disorders as well as key aspects that are relevant and crucial to know if you embark on this field of work.

Working with people with eating disorders is not easy or straightforward, and Harriet will discuss the common fears, anxieties and expectations that clinicians have, by way of helping those attending to build confidence in their own ability to be of benefit to this client group. There will be time for questions, and on the second day people are welcome to bring clinical case questions for discussion (ensuring boundaries of confidentiality are always kept). Harriet’s experience supervising those working with people with eating disorders can be made the most of during the seminars. Harriet will also ensure that participants are given a reading list and a resource list should they wish to study further.

Learning Objectives:

  • Have an understanding of the different diagnostic categories of eating disorders and how to understand the person you are working with.
  • Have a helpful and working understanding of the ways in which an eating disorder affects how a person functions and how they interpret their world to help you to think through ways of working therapeutically with your clients.
  • Medical aspects to consider.
  • Learn key aspects of communication and support that are critical when working with a person with an eating disorder, regardless of age or eating disorder.
  • Learn key aspects that are cornerstones of eating disorder treatment no matter what your training or approach.
  • Understand the value of working as part of a wider team, whether you are part of a public service or working privately.
  • Have an understanding of the current evidence-based approaches used with children, adolescents and adults within public services (CAMHS & AMHS).
  • The family and working with the family are often an aspect of this work, and you will learn important aspects of how and when to do this.
  • Think through your fears and expectations when working therapeutically with people with eating disorders.- Resources for further reading and learning as well as training.

By the end of the two sessions, the aim is that no matter your role in a person’s care, you will be confident that you can work with a person with an eating disorder in a helpful way and that you will be confident about the limits of your role when dealing with these complex illnesses that straddle different aspects – medical, psychiatric, dietetic and psychotherapeutic.

About the Speaker:

Harriet Parsons. MA, MSc., Reg. Pract. APPI, ICP. Training and Development Manager, Bodywhys, The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland.

Harriet is a fully accredited psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She holds an MSc. in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Psychotherapy / University College Dublin, Ireland, an MA in Addiction Studies from Dublin Business School, and a BA (psychology) from DBS.

Having worked as a telephone counsellor with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Harriet joined BODYWHYS: The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland in 2005 and has worked with the organisation ever since. Currently Harriet is the Training and Development Manager, working to provide the support component by Bodywhys to the HSE National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders. In 2014, Harriet developed a 4-week family support programme – the PiLaR programme, which has been run nationally approx. 8 times per year. In addition to this, Harriet gives frequent training to many professional groups, GPs, psychiatrists, youth workers, foster carers, social care workers and others. Harriet also regularly lectures at 3rd level on the subject of eating disorders in UCD, UCC, TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery. Harriet is also a regular media spokesperson on the subject of eating disorders for the organisation.

Harriet is a member of the Irish Council of Psychotherapy (ICP), and is a registered practitioner with APPI (The Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland). She was Chairperson of APPI from 2014-2016 and is currently a member of the Editorial board of the APPI journal Lacunae.

All art images are reproduced with the kind permission of Patricia Fitzgerald of Healing Creations. https://www.healingcreations.ie/


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