Treating Black Women With Eating Disorders:
A Clinician's Guide
Edited by Charlynn Small & Mazella Fuller
Clinicians of any race will gain new tools for assessing, diagnosing, and treating disordered eating in Black women and will be empowered to provide better care for their clients.
MD, General Psychiatrist, Diplomate in Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
The intersection of clinical expertise, lived experience, and compassion is where therapeutic magic, otherwise known as sound, evidence-based care that seeks to liberate not pathologize, happens. A must-read for every mental health provider who works with and cares about the well being of Black women and their self-actualization.
Norman H. Kim
PhD, National Director for Program Development, Reasons Eating Disorder Center
This groundbreaking work starts a very necessary conversation that not only expands our understanding of recognition, assessment, and treatment of eating disorders among Black women, but deepens our understanding of the core nature of eating disorders for all as disorders rooted in experiences of marginalization and voicelessness.
LMSW, CEDS, F.iaedp, Vice President of Professional Development at Renfrew Center Foundation
Research outcomes blend beautifully with poignant case studies and tools for treatment. More than just a 'what to do' book, this is a heartfelt treatise on how to 'feel', to inhabit another's world, to broach issues of race and identity, and build the therapeutic alliance crucial to providing patients with the quality treatment they deserve.
Praise for Treating Black Women With Eating Disorders
As Dr. Charlynn Small states in the introduction of Treating Black Women with Eating Disorders: A Clinician’s Guide, she and her co-author Dr. Mazella Fuller found each other at a conference for the treatment of persons with eating disorders (EDs). “It seemed we were put together at that place and time on purpose.” The women soon realized they had both attended the same HBCU at the same time and both currently held positions in Counseling and Psychological Services at their respective predominately White colleges.
“However, the most salient knowledge we acquired at the conference was that many non-Black therapists were surprised by the number of Black women who struggle with EDs, body-image issues, or both,” Dr. Small wrote. It was in this moment the two decided it was their duty to bring much-needed light to the stories of Black women while offering tools for practitioners to help their Black female clients in a context that is culturally sensitive.
Dr. Small and Dr. Fuller noticed that while recent literature was beginning to acknowledge the misconception that Black women are protected from eating disorders, they recognized that many health care providers still fail to observe eating disturbances in Black women. “One of the most important reasons for this failure is many practitioners fear asking questions that often concern racial differences and identity issues,” Dr. Small emphasizes. In Dr. Fuller's chapter of the guide, Black Women “Showing up” for Therapeutic Healing, she asserts the importance of practitioners providing a healing space for Black women to overcome the obstacles of structural racism, colonialism, and sexism. “To provide a therapeutic healing space focusing on empowerment and a strong foundation for Black women to recover and heal is to engage social justice and equality.”
Putting Their Experience to Work