Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders believes parents have unique abilities to support one another.
F.E.A.S.T. Coffee Breaks are informal chances to connect with other local parents. Breaks can be anything from two moms arranging to meet at a coffee shop or an informal regular gathering for a group of families in someone’s home. This worldwide map will allow you to see whether other members live near you and allow you to put yourself on the map as well.
The goal is simple: to help isolated parents feel connected and empowered.
There is a special isolation to caregiving a loved one with an eating disorder, but also special concerns about privacy. For that reason we are using this forum to allow parents to reveal their general location and arrange for meetings. We suggest that parents create "gmail" accounts to use on their ATDT profile if they wish to avoid sharing personal details.
We do not suggest publicly advertising meeting locations, so once a connection is made on the forum we ask that you use private email to discuss the specific meeting site.
F.E.A.S.T. cannot control or monitor what happens when local members meet, but we ask all participants to be aware of and agree to certain ground rules:
- The goals of any meeting between F.E.A.S.T. members are meant to be: connection, kindness, and information.
- Beyond F.E.A.S.T.’s Founding Principles, nothing said by participants should be considered endorsed or offered by F.E.A.S.T.
- The privacy of other members is profoundly important: names and contact information should never go beyond the people who are meeting.
- Details of the family, patient, and treatment history must never go beyond the get-together itself.
- Coffee meetings are between peers - fellow caregivers - and not to be used as treatment advice or therapy.
- These informal meetings are not a replacement for any aspect of treatment. Families must always be referred to professional, evidence-based care and information.
- F.E.A.S.T. Coffee Breaks are meant for adult caregivers only. Due to the boundaries expected of caregivers, patients are not to be invited or allowed to participate. Support for patients must come from caregivers and family, period. Any meeting joined by a patient should be promptly ended and the patient politely asked to refer loved ones to the F.E.A.S.T. site. This is for the protection of patients and not meant as a rejection or lack of caring.
- Parents who are also currently suffering from an eating disorder are considered patients.
- There are no dues involved, nor is a donation to F.E.A.S.T. required (yet always welcome).
- If there are concerns for the safety or stability of any participants or their family members, please contact F.E.A.S.T. and suspend meetings. If a meeting feels uncomfortable
please let F.E.A.S.T. know and feel free to stop communicating with the
other participants. If a participant seems to be at risk of self-harm or
harm to others it is important to inform emergency services. It is not
advisable to try to assess the situation yourself. Close the meeting
immediately and seek help.
- Mutual respect and civility are essential.
- F.E.A.S.T. parents share one thing: a child with an eating disorder. All differences should be accepted and embraced: e.g. social, religious, lifestyle, and political.
- Caregiver free time is precious. Set a time and place to meet, try to be on time, and set and keep to an END time.
- Feel free to bring written materials, books, articles to share. Return all borrowed materials promptly.
- We are caregivers, so it is all right to keep cell phones on to stay connected to home. Abrupt exits are acceptable.
- Caregiving is time-consuming and unpredictable: meetings may have to be canceled or changed at the last moment.
- Discussion should focus on the present and not the past.
- It is all right - in fact, it is expected - that parents will not agree on everything. It is only by hearing other points of view that we understand our own.
- Refrain from gossip or discussing others in the community who are not at the meeting.
- Practice good communication skills: supportive listening, use “I” statements, acknowledge what others say, avoid interrupting and side conversations, gently redirect perseveration. Avoid ‘ought,’ ‘should’ and ‘must’
- Listen more than speaking and give equal time to all present.
- Praise one another. Congratulate parents on surviving, perseverance, patience, wisdom, commitment, self-care, educating themselves, and keeping marriages and sibling relationships strong.
- There is no obligation to answer any question or reveal any information.
- Pay it Forward.
To see the list of locations, please search the map and then make contact on on the forum
. A Volunteer will add your location to the map.
(Special thanks to F.E.A.S.T. Advisor,
Kitty Westin & F.E.A.S.T. Board member, Becky Henry, S. K., and the F.E.A.S.T. moderator team for help
developing this initiative)