Eating is social and should be enjoyable. The people we live with are an essential part of recovering from any struggles with mental illness, but this is especially true when someone has food or eating related issues. Families share a kitchen and as such, they often share food, cook, and eat together. Feeding ourselves is also the first way in which we are taught by our caregivers to take care of our basic needs. In family therapy, we talk about how caregivers, parents and partners can support the recovery of their loved one and how the family unit can learn more productive patterns of interacting around food. When treating children and adolescents especially, we discuss ways in which tension and fighting regarding food and weight can also be forms of expression that are actually related to family dynamics and feelings entirely unrelated to food.
Family therapy is also considered an integral element of recovery from others addictions, such as drugs and alcohol. Often family support can help loved ones hold steadfast on the difficult journey of early recovery as it is rarely navigated successfully alone.