A Change of Thinking about Eating Disorders

Clinical Manager Paul Agar with Medical Co-Directors Dr. Jennifer Couturier and Dr. Natasha Johnson

Clinical Manager Paul Agar with Medical Co-Directors Dr. Jennifer Couturier and Dr. Natasha Johnson pose in front of a poster with faces of children on it.

An eating disorder affects every aspect of a person’s well-being. Whether one is struggling with anorexia nervosa, bulimia or binge-eating, the potential health consequences are significant and dangerous.

“The Pediatric Eating Disorders Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital is one of the busiest in the province,” explains Clinical Manager Paul Agar. “We take an evidence-based approach to care with our six-bed inpatient unit, four-bed day-treatment program and outpatient program. Both the inpatient and outpatient units have seen an ongoing increase in the number of patients who require care.”

Mindful about health

Eating disorders are considered mental health disorders, so a patient’s way of thinking must be addressed.

“It’s extremely rewarding to provide care for young patients and help them on their path to adulthood.” – Dr. Jennifer Couturier

“We use psychotherapy to provide patients with valuable new skills to deal with emotions,” says Dr. Jennifer Couturier, Medical Co-Director of the Pediatric Eating Disorders Program. “The therapy encourages patients to live in the moment and accept things they cannot change while also working toward goals that they can affect.”

Convergence of disciplines

Dr. Couturier works closely with many different specialists, including pediatricians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, psychologists and social workers to ensure that the entire family is receiving the support they need.

“It’s extremely rewarding to provide care for young patients and help them on their path to adulthood,” she says.