The Saturday before last (December 3rd), I traveled downtown with Dr. Michelle Bidwell to attend the inaugural meeting for the Heartland Chapter of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP). Michelle is on the board and is serving as the Social Media Chair, and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. I do not treat eating disorders as a specialty, but am a Clinical Psychologist, so I got to attend this as an insider / outsider, of sorts. What struck me most about this event is how quickly such a community of professionals had formed into a cohesive group. In the course of chatting with attendees, I met counselors, therapists, psychologists, medical doctors, dieticians and a dentist (who has identified the disorder several times due to tooth pain and/or erosion). There was a sense that these inter-profession relationships were vital to the important work they do, and everyone rapidly fell into a connectedness not typical of most professional organizations I have seen.
Part of this meeting involved a screening of a relatively new documentary called Someday Melissa. The documentary details the eating disorder that developed in the young woman the film was named for. It was very well presented, and showed a heartbreaking view of what this disorder is like for the patient experiencing it, and the family trying to support them. I highly recommend seeking it out. The main webpage for the film is located here:
As for IAEDP, I am excited for this group of professionals to have formed in this region of the country. We have offered our new lecture hall to them for trainings or meetings anytime they would like, and I hope to see them up here in McHenry County in 2012. We definitely would like to show support for their efforts in the areas of advocacy and treatment of this frequently misunderstood disorder.
Here is the IAEDP website, and you can easily find the Heartland Chapter on Facebook!
Jeremy Bidwell, Ph.D.