National Eating Disorders Association

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My sister is anorexic. She has been hospitalized twice this year. I found a counselling centre close to where we live but whenever I bring up therapy she shuts down and tells us to leave her alone. She says it doesn't help. She did group therapy at the hospital but she didn't like it. I don't know how to approach this. How can I help her to give this a try?

Thanks for sharing your story

Thanks for sharing your story. I can tell how much you care for you sister and her well being. Trying to talk to a sufferer about getting help when they may not want or are ready for help is so difficult. It’s a delicate conversation and there is no one right way to go about it. NEDA does have some very valuable tools about how to approach these delicate topics and I encourage you to take a look:
I encourage you to keep posting here for support

Hi kollwitz,

First of all, thank you for coming here for advice and support. It's so clear how much you love and care for your sister, and I think she is very lucky to have you in her support group. I highly encourage you to look at the links that als2908 sent. Another option I would try is offering to attend her first therapy session with her; she may find it daunting and intimidating to go alone, and having you there may make her more willing to try it. Beyond that, try your best to remind her that you're there for her whenever she chooses to open up. I know how helpless it can feel to support someone with an ED, but just know that your support will help your sister so much.

Keep us updated!

Family Therapy

Hang in there! This can be one of the most challenging situations ever (and super frustrating too)!

My little brother suffers from ED too and he had a similar reaction to therapy in treatment. My recommendation is to seek therapy for yourself, your pain, distress, and fear and ask your sister to come support YOU. My brother did NOT want to go to therapy for himself, I doubt I could have dragged him there for a million dollars, but when I asked him to come help and support me he was there, by my side, almost at once.

I would also recommend checking out a book or two on family therapy from your local library. This gives a different frame on how to think about therapy that you, and your sister, and your whole family might find helpful.

Feel free to leave a comment in return if you have any questions or want to talk more.