I am generally fairly skeptical about self-help books, but I was very pleasantly surprised to read 8 Keys to Recovery From An Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb. I am guessing they believe that simply using their names makes them more approachable to readers; however, it is clear that these are intelligent, educated, and experienced professionals. Perhaps I would have been less surprised by the expertise of this book if they had included their degrees and licensing (all those fancy letters after their names) on the title page.
By the time I got to the third key, I had stopped writing down highlights for this review because the value of this book is greater than than the sum of the eight individual keys. Not only do I believe this book can be extremely helpful to someone suffering from an eating disorder, but I believe it could be helpful for other practitioners who are not specialized in eating disorders in helping someone experiencing a mild eating disorder. (I still think it is important to refer to specialists for anyone suffering from a moderate to severe eating disorder.)
Both Carolyn and Gwen specialize in treating eating disorders after recovering from their own eating disorder experience, and they share from “both sides of the couch”. In addition, Carolyn was Gwen’s therapist, so they are able to share very specifically about both experiences. Throughout the book there are examples and quotes from other clients that will help you to see yourself within the experience of an eating disorder. This makes it more difficult for reader’s to deny that the book and guidance does apply to them personally as well.
They wisely give readers permission to be ambivalent. I like the extended stages of change that they use. I appreciate that they encourage readers to learn from their eating disorder self the purpose that the eating disorder is serving, separating the eating disorder from the health self to allow the reader to see him or herself in a positive light while still maintaining responsibility for his or her own recovery. I believe that the journaling assignments are very positive, well thought out, and can guide readers through the journey to recovery.
If an eating disorder is affecting your life and you are looking for a book to help you overcome this challenge, I encourage you to check out 8 Keys to Recovery From An Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb.
September 29th, 2011