News from February 2018

Mid-South Eating Disorders Association Announces Board, Hosts Inaugural Meeting

February 26th, 2018

Mid-South Eating Disorders Association

The Mid-South Eating Disorders Association (MSEDA) has announced its formation and board of directors, as well as its inaugural meeting on Thursday, March 1. MSEDA was formed as a community resource dedicated to the education, treatment and networking for all eating disorders treatment providers.

"An eating disorder is a complex and chronic condition that can easily be misdiagnosed or, more often, undiagnosed," said Teri McCann, Ph.D., CEDS, and MSEDA co-founder and board member. "Treatment providers who devote some or all of their practice to treating eating disorders are rare and likely unaware of others who work with the ED community. We are pleased to have a dedicated professional organization to build community among treatment professionals in the Mid-South, which will improve our ability to provide comprehensive solutions for those struggling with this devastating illness." 

MSEDA is open to all behavioral health counselors, nutrition specialists, medical professionals, school/college counselors and interested treatment providers who seek to build community, awareness of treatment resources, and understanding of the complex needs of those dealing with eating disorders. The organization is proud to have a strong board of directors with widespread knowledge of the specifics of ED treatments, including McCann; Michelle Bowden, MD; and Angie Wallick, MS, RDN, CSR, LDN.

McCann is the founder and executive clinical director of Fairhaven Treatment Center for Eating Disorders. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy at Kansas State University, is a licensed psychologist, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Certified Eating Disorders Specialist. In addition to holding a Mental Health Service Provider designation, she has demonstrated competency in the areas of social-personality psychology and statistics and measurement. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Bowden, an assistant professor at University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Adolescent Medicine Physician at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, will lead MSEDA's effort to provide education and awareness for eating disorders in adolescents. Eating disorders can develop at a young age, and Bowden's role will be to offer knowledge and educational resources to help both treatment providers and parents recognize symptoms early on.

Wallick is a nutrition therapist with Memphis Nutrition Group, devoting a portion of her practice to the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. She is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP) and a member of the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians (IFEDD).

"What a wonderful opportunity for professionals who provide eating disorder treatment to come together as a community," said Wallick. "With MSEDA, I believe this can strengthen our interdisciplinary collaboration when caring for clients, increase our professional growth with learning opportunities and expand our professional network. I am honored to be a part of this group."

The inaugural MSEDA meeting will be held Thursday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Embassy Suites Memphis. The agenda includes:

  • Launching the MSEDA organization
  • Introducing the MSEDA board of directors, mission and charter
  • Establishing the basic goals and direction for MSEDA
  • Education and awareness agenda tied to IAEDP, AED, NEDA/BEDA national conferences

For more information or to register, contact MSEDA Director Suzanne Horsley at

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Intervention Methods for Eating Disorders

February 12th, 2018

Intervention Methods for Eating Disorders

By Dr. Teri McCann, PhD, CEDS

Every path to recovery is different, no matter your disease. Regardless of which tactical method works best for you, the most important thing to remember on the journey to recovery is that compassion is crucial, and healing is not a linear process. 

Below is a list of some of the most effective methods we've found in treating eating disorders, along with a brief explanation of each. 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a solutions-focused therapy that encourages patients to challenge their thinking patterns and change the destructive behavior that results from it. This often happens in a one-on-one environment or a group setting. 
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model. The IFS model has evolved into a comprehensive approach that includes guidelines for working with individuals, couples and families. It represents a synthesis of two paradigms: systems thinking and the multiplicity of the mind. Psychology Today stated that many of these "sub-personalities consist of wounded parts and painful emotions… that try to control and protect the person from the pain of the wounded parts." The IFS Model focuses on healing the wounded parts to restore a healthy perspective within every aspect of the client's attitude or personality.
  • Trauma-focused or trauma-sensitive yoga is a form of evidence-based therapy that has shown to be particularly helpful to teens in residential treatment programs, as well as military veterans suffering from complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The classes are geared toward the specific needs of the client and focus on the relationship between trauma and the body and the unique ways yoga can help encourage healing
  • Narrative therapy is a way to separate the person from the problem, and often involves the client imagining their lives independent of their eating disorder. 

At Fairhaven, we understand that each of these methods can greatly improve the lives of our clients; however, we pride ourselves on finding the unique combination of these and other methods in order to treat the individuals that trust their healing to us. 

Our priority is not just symptom control, but rather long-term recovery. By getting past symptom control and accessing emotional truth, our clients are able to heal their trauma and reclaim their joy in life. 

If you'd like to talk to someone about an eating disorder, contact a specialist or a counselor at Fairhaven Treatment Center today.

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Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder

February 5th, 2018

By Dr. Teri McCann, PhD, CEDS

Circumstances that precede the development of an eating disorder can often be considered warning signs. While the two are related, it’s important to distinguish the differences. Some conditions may create an environment of heightened risk; however, knowing what signs to be aware of may help you determine if your loved one is in need of help.

It’s important to mention that there is a great deal of evidence to show that some people have a genetic predisposition to developing eating disorder. Some personality types, such as those with perfectionism or those diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may be predisposed to rely on disordered eating as a coping mechanism.

The National Eating Disorders Association lists several warning signs, including:

  • Changes in personality. Mood swings, irritability, depression or even showing a lack of emotion can be a sign of something more serious. For example, isolating oneself may be a way of avoiding social eating, and sticking to a strict work-out regimen, such as exercising even when sick or injured can indicate dependence.
  • Changes in their relationship to food. This may seem obvious, but pay attention to drastic changes in eating patterns, such as eliminating entire food groups, adhering to strict fad diets, eating in secret or disappearing after meals.

Eating disorders serve as a protector from the unbearable emotions caused by experiencing complex trauma, often called attachment trauma. In my practice, I’ve often seen clients show relief and gratitude once you acknowledge that malnutrition caused by their relationship with food was physically preventing them from addressing these emotions, and therefore was serving as a protector. The numbing qualities of an eating disorder disguise the absence of pain as comfort.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. However, recovery is possible, and early detection and intervention can help people to reclaim their joy and live life to the fullest.

If you have noticed any of these signs or feel concern based on the environment for a loved one, reach out to one of the experts at Fairhaven Treatment Center.

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