As a service we refer to parents, step-parents, children, siblings, partners, other family members and friends as 'carers', even though you may not feel that you are a carer. We see carers as anyone who provides help and support to someone with an eating disorder.

You may see the person every day or less often. You may or may not live with them. What we know is that carers can provide invaluable help and support during recovery from an eating disorder. 

Support for family and friends

Carers' Support Group 

The Cambridge Adult Eating Disorder Service provides a support programme held virtually over Microsoft Teams every Tuesday, 4:30 - 5:45pm. Once a month, we hold an educational session given by a professional working in the eating disorder field, followed by an informal discussed between carer's about their own concerns and issues. These talks try to address the issues involved in caring for an individual with an eating disorder. This discussion is facilitated by a member of staff.  

Forthcoming dates for 2020 Carers' Support Group and the planned presentations are:

  • Tuesday 16th June: Dietetic Support with Sue Young (Dietician)
  • Tuesday 7th July: Assertiveness and Guidance on not enabling ED behaviours with Dr Georgina Hurford (Clinical Psychologist) 
  • Tuesday 4th August: Excessive Exercise with Dr Pia Thiemann (Clinical Psychologist) 
  • Tuesday 1st September: Distress Tolerance and Managing Distress with William White (Trainee Clinical Psychologist) 
  • Tuesday 29th September: Looking after Ourselves with Suzanne White 
  • Tuesday 20th October: Assertiveness with Dr Georgina Hurford (Clinical Psychologist)

Previous topics have included: communication; compassion; problem solving; boundaries; meal support and body image, including how to model positive body image; motivation, eating disorders and the role of the carer; encouraging independence; mindfulness; medical questions and answers; stress strain and developing resilience as a carer

For the smooth running of the group, it is preferred if individuals arrive at the beginning of the meeting. However, due to carer's commitments, we understand that this might not always be possible. The group facilitators would welcome prior knowledge if an individual is going to be late to ensure that we are expecting you and can welcome you. A message can be left with reception on 01223 596201 before 5pm. We would recommend that members, wherever possible, stay until the end of the group.

Group objectives

  • To provide a safe forum for carers to share experiences
  • The opportunity to explore thoughts and feelings triggered by caring for an individual with an eating disorder
  • To enhance understanding by providing information on eating disorders in the form of presentations or lectures
  • To encourage group members to share their knowledge
  • To provide links with others in a similar situation 

Ground rules

We suggest the following ground rules to help the group feel like a safe and supportive environment for all that attend:

  • We ask that group members speak one at a time so that everyone can be heard
  • It is accepted by the group that having a loved one with an eating disorder is very stressful and challenging
  • We ask that everyone respects each others views, even if they do not share them
  • Confidentiality amongst group members is respected and this extends to the individuals they are caring for. Names may be used but not shared with those outside the group


Click here to watch: Eating Disorders a Professional’s Perspective

Click here to watch: Eating Disorders a Carer's Perspective

Useful reading

We would recommend the following texts as useful reading in learning how to care for a loved one with an eating disorder: 

  • Skills-Based Learning For Caring For A Loved One With An Eating Disorder: The New Maudsley Method by J. Treasure, G. Smith & A. Crane
  • Anorexia Nervosa: A Survival Guide For Families, Friends & Sufferers by J. Treasure
  • Beating Your Eating Disorder: A Cognitive-Behavioural Self-Help Guide for Adult Sufferers and their Carers by G. Waller & V. Mountford  

Click here to read our recent blog post about caring for a loved one with an eating disorder.

More information

For more information for carers please click here.

The page was last updated on 04 September 2020 by aedscambs.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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