Caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, diagnosed or not, can be overwhelming. It is common for families to feel that their new ‘carer’ role is impacting their own mental and physical health which is why First Steps ED feel our carers support pathway is an important offer within our service.

Every carer’s experience of supporting their loved one is individual, which is why we have a couple of options available to both support families and carers, as well as offer useful skills-based sessions which can offer information and advice in navigating any difficult situations may arise as a part of a loved ones recovery. We also have a range of resources and blog available as further reading and guidance. These are open access, and those in a carer role are welcome (and encouraged!) to contribute their own stories and experiences on our blog platform with the hope to shine a light on the importance of carers as a key part of a loved ones recovery.

Children requiring support as well as family and carers providing support for children can access our services at no cost. There are a number of services available and open to any parent, both parents and older siblings with a carer role, which includes our Skills for Carers workshops which can offer attendees a toolbox of skills for tackling eating disorder difficulties, whilst focusing on warmth, empathy and self-reflection.

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Caring for Carers

Recognising that whole families can be impacted by eating disorders.

Our dedicated parents and carer team have experience supporting someone struggling with an eating disorder, and or other mental health issues. Caring for a loved one can be exhausting, distressing, and disorientating. Many carers feel they have tried everything and don’t know where to turn next. First Steps ED support parents, life partners and older siblings with workshops (based on the New Maudsley approach), support groups and psychotherapy. We’re here to help families to navigate their way through a seemingly impossible task of recovery.

Skills-Based Workshops

‘Skills for Carers’ is a three-week course for parents, partners and older siblings who wish to understand their role in a loved one’s recovery. Our aim is to offer the skills, knowledge and tools needed to be an effective carer during any difficult or challenging moments.

Counselling Support

Counselling and psychotherapy at First Steps ED is one of our core services and one which recognises the unique experiences of carers and family members supporting a loved one. Our team provides a safe, non-judgemental and understanding space to give you the time and freedom to talk. You can learn more about our team and therapeutic approaches on our website.

Parents, relatives and carers of those accessing support through First Steps ED are eligible for free counselling or drop-in sessions with our team. Having a family member struggle with disordered eating, body image concerns and/or an eating disorder can put stress on the family too, causing personal stress and mental health concerns for the carer as well.

Our sessions are designed to be a space to support you through your child’s recovery. Together we can explore any thoughts or feelings you have around your experience as a carer of someone with eating difficulties, we can discuss difficult situations which arise through this recovery journey and develop new skills and strategies to maintain self-care.

These sessions can aid your ability to support someone and will be free and flexible, with no need to commit to a certain number of sessions or time for the session.

Parent and Carer Drop-In

We also have our parent and carer monthly drop-in group for parents and carers to get together online and share any challenges and successes they’ve experiences. It’s a relaxed group, with no commitment to attend each month, with the opportunity to find support from people going through the similar experiences. Follow the arrow to register your interest.

It’s hard to know what to do as a parent, but the course gave me a better understanding of my role at home and how my actions have an impact. It’s also nice to meet other parents who are going through something similar, albeit at different stages. I don’t meet many people on the same path as myself, but when I do I’ll continue to recommend the help and support I receive with from the First Steps team.

Attending Parent, Skills for Carers

Counselling help me focus on ME, which doesn’t always feel possible as a parent. I found it really helpful to talk about my situation, work through some options and find ways to cope – and I learnt that a lot of what I needed was inside me already. I just needed someone to listen and draw it out. Whilst I wouldn’t have pegged myself as someone that needed therapy, I realise now that it was the best decision.


Caring for a Loved One, Counselling Client

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