National Eating Disorders Association

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Daughter refuses therapy (new to group)

Hi, we are new to the group. Our daughter has been in treatment for a year, with a doctor and nutritionist. After several miserable appointments with psychologist, we all agreed not to force her to therapy. She refuses to talk during sessions, what little she says is rude and mean.

After a year of mostly steady progress gaining weight, she managed to lose weight over two weeks of vacation. The doctor wants to reconsider therapy but she refuses. How can I convince her to try?

Post Edited

Hi scottgina!

We are glad that you are finding support here on the NEDA forums. A portion of your post was edited and deleted due to the mention of specific numbers that may be triggering to other forum members. Our community guidelines are always available to review here:
In the event you need further assistance please call the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (M-Th 9-9, F 9-5 EST).
Again, thank you for posting, and we hope you will continue to do so!


@scottgina, welcome to the NEDA forums. I'm sorry you and your daughter have to go through this! Perhaps it might help to search for a different doctor or therapist? It's possible that the issue may be that she does not feel comfortable with her current medical professional! I know that many people see many different doctors/therapists before they find the one! Good luck and please keep us updated!

@olivia2205. Thanks for the

@olivia2205. Thanks for the advice. Sadly I tried offering all kinds of different therapy options. No luck.

your daughter

Hi scottgina - I am so sorry to read your post describing the struggle with your daughter. It's awful to watch a child be in such misery.

I'd like to encourage you to check out the Parent Toolkit on this website, if you haven't already. It can be very helpful in navigating this very difficult situation. Also, I'm wondering if there might be a highly trusted friend or relative that for now might be more successful in helping her see that she needs professional help. Sometimes the parent/child dynamic can make the conversations very difficult. Also, perhaps the doctor and/or the nutritionist that you mention could be helpful -- both in communicating to her the serious risks associated with ED's and also the relief that she would likely feel in really engaging in therapy? In any case, I hope that things start to improve and that you will continue to post.

I have been through that same

I have been through that same struggle with my daughter. I dreaded her doctor's appointments. She would not talk to her doctor and would leave those appointments so full of anger. She also started becoming distant with her therapist and basically fired her. I too made multiple offers to change her doctor and/or therapist but she just did not want help from anyone. In the meantime she was continuing to spiral into deeper depression. We are now getting back on track but unfortunately it took a crisis situation for that to happen. I was given the option of taking her home or requesting hospitalization. We went home with new rules in place that included communicating with her doctor and seeing a new therapist. So far we are doing okay.
I really have no advice, but I can offer understanding and the motivator that you can do hard things! I'll keep you and your daughter in my thoughts.


Hi scottgina. I am sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling so much. It is so hard to know the best way to help. My 16 year old daughter has ED. For the first year in therapy, she went to the therapy sessions, but did not participate a lot. She did not like her councilor, yet I knew her councilor was helping her a lot. Then my daughter hit a rough patch about 7 weeks ago. She lost a lot of privileges, she wanted those privileges back and I told her that she needed to go into each session with her doctors with three things she wanted to talk about. She is doing it and I am so thankful that she is taking more control with her recovery. For my daughter we had to set some boundaries and be very firm on her losing or gaining privileges depending what choices she made. When she loses weight, she has her food increased and she loses privileges until she gets it back up. Sometimes change is difficult for someone with ED if your daughter had been doing well until the vacation, then you might talk to her about giving her a chance to gain that weight back in a specific time period and then to just go back to how things were, because you said she had been doing well with her weight before the vacation. I know what works for one person, may not work for another person. I hope that things get better. It can be so stressful. How are you doing? Please take time for yourself, and you might want to think about getting into counseling for yourself or finding friends or family you can talk to.