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EATING DISORDERS: Decode the Controlled Chaos | Book Review

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Eating Disorders: Decode the Controlled Chaos - Your Knowledge May Just Save a Life

"Erica Ives claims to provide readers a deeper understanding of the epidemic of eating disorders through reading her book. I agree with her claim. Ives utilizes clinical case studies in a way that is uncommon- the examples seem familiar and personal rather than boring scripts so common in psychotherapy books.

Eating Disorders: Decode the Controlled Chaos would be a worthwhile read for any person-clinical or layman-wanting to better understand and approach eating disorders, The book begins in such a way that encourages more to be read. Eating disorders are framed as much more than just an issue of food. Ives begins the book with a systemic frame and maintains this frame throughout the book.

Eating disorders are described throughout the book as being a type of friend. These eating disorders can provide validation, support and companionship; they serve as a way to cope with life and regulate emotions. Many people suffering are unable to distinguish any part of themselves that is separate from the disorder.

After a basic education of eating disorders and their causes, Ives helps readers understand early warning signs of eating disorders, as well as differentiating between them and understand the serous health risks that are included. The part that I most appreciate of the the book is the multi-disciplinary treatment approach described. Ives suggest including primary care providers, dietitians or nutritionists, psychiatrists and therapist in the treatment with the inclusion of other health providers as needed.

Several different types of therapy that have been shown to be successful in working eating disorders are described and specific ways in which they are appropriate are expanded upon. The chapter on treatment does a great job of not offering only a general theoretical understanding of the treatment but also includes specific examples of how the treatment is appropriate. The chapter includes suggestions for individual, group and family therapy; Ives also provides ideas about how to integrate Twelve-step groups into treatment, which is often a challenge.

One of the aspects of the book that found thought provoking is the Chapter on the clinical interview and assessment. While Ives addresses assessment tools for eating disorders, also included are issues of depression, anxiety, and dissociative experiences. Something included in this book that is often missing is a suggestion to include a spiritual assessment. While this is often out of the comfort of many therapists, Ives suggests that gaining a clear understanding of the client’s spiritual framework- or lack of-will significantly assist treatment when done in a manner that is sensitive and respectful.

Eating Disorders: Decode the Controlled Chaos offers great insight into the paradoxical world of eating disorders. The book is pleasant to read and very practical in its layout and content and would easily be understood by clinicians of any level of experience. Eating Disorders: Decode the Controlled Chaos is a resource worth having and one that I will recommend-both as a tool for therapists working with eating disorders and others that want to further understand appropriate sources for a referral."

To purchase EATING DISORDERS: Decode the Controlled Chaos please click here. To learn more about Erica Ives and her work as a therapist, author, media expert, and speaker please visit .  To find out more  about Erica’s work as a Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, and to learn more about eating disorders, please visit

Thank you for taking the time to read.



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