Book Review How To Help Someone With An Eating Disorder

Maddie Dunne-Kirby from Welbeck Publishing Group gifted me an advanced copy of How To Help Someone With An Eating Disorder by Dr. Pam Macdonald for a review. 

About the Author

Dr Pam Macdonald is a research psychologist, carer coach, and trainer. She is actively involved in supporting carers of people with eating disorders using the New Maudsley Approach, which incorporates the principles of Motivational Interviewing (MI). She also has personal experience of the regular emotional challenges that can impinge upon the functioning of the entire family, as well as friends and significant others, at different points along the recovery path.

When reflecting back on her time caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, she remembers it as a wholly frightening and stressful time. Even after several years, it still evokes strong memories of a long, dismal tunnel littered with countless pitfalls. A major uncertainty was her own role in the process. She desperately craved information on how to react to the situation as well as knowledge and guidance on how to react to the imposter that had invaded family life. She needed to know that she was handling the situation in a way that was conducive to a healthy outcome. In her search for these answers, she stumbled across Professor Janet Treasure’s work at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. Back in 2006, Professor Treasure and her team were working on a skills-based learning intervention for carers of people with eating disorders. Pam joined the project as a PhD student and started work researching the effectiveness of a guided self-help package that offered training and skills to carers.

In 2011, she was awarded her PhD and since then she has worked on a part-time basis with the team on subsequent iterations and development of skills training interventions. She co-edited The Clinician’s Guide to Collaborative Caring in Eating Disorders (2010)1 with Professors Janet Treasure and Ulrike Schmidt and has contributed to numerous peer- reviewed papers in the academic literature. She is a passionate advocate of evidence-based research that equips carers with the appropriate information and tools that will help them best support someone through their eating disorder. She is currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland.


It is heartbreaking to learn that your loved one has experienced a miscarriage or molar or ectopic pregnancy. Be it a friend, child or your own partner, it can be hard to know what to say, or how best you can help.

Should you mention the baby or avoid all topics that relate to children? How can you be there for your partner as they grieve, while dealing with your own emotions? What if you’re pregnant and it’s your best friend that has experienced a loss? What if you say the wrong thing?

This accessible guide provides evidence-based advice on supporting someone after a miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy. Clare Foster draws upon her personal experience and that of other women and partners, as well as extensive research, to provide you with the knowledge and practical advice you need to help your loved one. The National Director of the Miscarriage Association, Ruth Bender-Atik, has written a foreword.

Published 2021

256 pages

My Thoughts

Eating Disorders are complex and can be very difficult to talk about with a friend or loved one. How do you start a conversation and where do you go to better understand what the underlying triggers are with the disorder? 

Dr. Mac Donald has an extensive background in helping people with eating disorders, including a personal experience with a friend as a carer. She shares her knowledge in a gentle yet informative manner that allows you to broach the subject and help your friend or loved one. 

A few of the topics discussed: 

What is an eating disorder

The impact on others



Problematic Behavior

She also includes helpful resources you can turn to in the book. 

I had an eating disorder as a teen and there were no resources, no knowledge, or places to turn to talk about what I was going thru. This book would have been helpful for those around me to better understand the pain and shame I was going thru. 

Dr. Macdonald’s book is a great resource for anyone who has a friend or loved one who has an eating disorder and I highly recommend the book. 

Welbeck Publishing Group

Welbeck Publishing Group is an exciting, fast-growing independent publisher based in London, dedicated to publishing only the very best and most commercial books spanning a number of genres and categories, from leading authors and well-known brands to debut talent. We live for books that entertain, excite and enhance the lives of readers around the world.

From building our boutique fiction and narrative non-fiction lists to shaping our world-renowned illustrated reference, gift and children’s titles, our aim is to be a market-leader in every category in which we publish.  Our books and products come to life for adults, children, and families in 30 languages in more than 60 countries around the world, selling through a variety of traditional and non-traditional channels. We are constantly looking for new ways to deliver our exceptional content and new ideas to inspire readers and listeners everywhere.


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