Author: Elisabeth Wilkins

From Problem Child to Child Behavioral Therapist: James Lehman’s Personal Transformation

This week, James Lehman, MSW sits down with EP Editor Elisabeth Wilkins to talk about his life, his new book, and the hard-won lessons he discovered growing up as a defiant, acting-out child. From being abandoned in a basement as an infant to a life of crime and drug addiction in his teens and young adulthood, learn how James transformed his life—and how he’s teaching parents across North America to do the same thing with their own children. Q: James, you had a difficult childhood and adolescence, and were headed down a dangerous path. Today you’re a nationally renowned...

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Does My Child Have an Eating Disorder?

Michelle’s parents did not address her anorexia until she weighed less than 85 pounds. At 5’10”, she was a skeleton compared to the healthy teen she had once been. “My mom and dad said nothing to me about my weight loss, until one morning at breakfast when my father slammed a stack of pancakes down in front of me and demanded I eat them,” she said. “I refused.” Michelle’s eating disorder began when her older sister died in a car accident. “At first I didn’t want to eat, I was grieving so much. But the subject of my sister’s death was taboo at my house—we weren’t even allowed to mention it. I continued to refuse food because of the pain I was in, and their unwillingness to see it.” Fortunately, after that breakfast table incident, her mother sought treatment for Michelle with a counselor who specialized in eating disorders. “I’m sure it saved my life,” said Michelle. She’s not exaggerating. Of all psychiatric illnesses, eating disorders have the highest fatality rate. Nearly 45,000 people die from them in America each year, and that number is growing. Even after patients have sought treatment, eating healthfully becomes a lifelong struggle. Angela Blier, a clinical counselor who treats patients with eating disorders in Portland, Maine, explains this by comparing it to someone with a drug addiction. “When you give up drugs and...

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