Family enjoying a meal

Eating Disorder Services For Families

Family plays a central role in eating disorders treatment. Parents are invited to work closely with the clinical team to support their child’s recovery.  Our approach is inspired by the belief that parents are their child’s best allies against the eating disorder and central to their child’s recovery. With central and suburban London locations we are well situated to accept patients from anywhere in the UK or beyond. You will feel welcomed, safe and supported.

Family Therapy at Ellern Mede

Family therapy is also an essential part of the treatment programmes at Ellern Mede hospitals including Ellern Mede Barnet and Ellern Mede Ridgeway as well as our Outpatient Clinics in central London. Parents play a crucial role in supporting their child’s recovery, as well as in relapse prevention. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends family therapy as the treatment of choice for young people with anorexia. Family Therapy aims to enable families to explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s needs and support the young person to manage their eating disorder at home. Positive change is created in partnership with families by building on peoples’ strengths, experiences and resources and being sensitive to different family systems, cultures and beliefs. The family therapy team also runs a monthly group for parents, which aims to offer psycho-education and support.

Our family based approaches have been evidenced as effective in clinical practice worldwide. We offer a unique blend of flexible inpatient and outpatient programmes which together provide a full care pathway, immediately accessible to private patients.

The eating disorder treatment programme includes:

  • inpatient and extended-day patient care
  • psychological therapies (family, individual and group)
  • medical monitoring
  • psychiatric review
  • psychoeducation
  • nutritional rehabilitation
  • specialist dietetic input
  • meal coaching and post meal support
  • skills groups for parents
  • parent support groups
  • Who will benefit from the 8 – 18 family based programme:
  • Young people with early acute onset of an eating disorders, particularly first episode or relapse after a period of stability.
  • Young people who are willing to collaborate with their parents and the team.
  • Parents who are able and willing to participate in this short-duration intensive programme


“There is a great need in the UK for family based treatment programmes for eating disorder patients. In our many years of offering treatments at Ellern Mede Ridgeway we recognised this and have moved to provide it. We know that recovery from an eating disorder requires specialist intensive treatment. At Barnet we offer short-term residential programmes with the flexibility for the patient to remain with the same team in the Ellern Mede group and either step down or step up as their needs change.”

Dr Hind Al Khairulla

Ellern Mede’s eating disorder interventions and therapies available for children and families

  • Initial psychiatric assessment of children
  • Physical and Mental Health assessments including specialist tests as required (eg blood tests, scans, psychometric testing, and neuropsychological assessment)
  • Psychiatric sessions with children
  • Consultant psychiatrist support for the family
  • Family Therapists support for the family
  • Psychological therapies for children including:
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
    • Cognitive Remediation Therapy
    • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
    • Psychoeducational interventions
  • Systemic and Family therapy initial consultation and follow up
  • Family-based interventions including coaching on meal support
  • Specialist Dietetic input and meal plans


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Family services can be accessed at any of our four sites. To arrange, please call our main office number 0203 209 7900.

Head Office, Ellern Mede Ridgeway
Holcombe Hill
The Ridgeway
Mill Hill
London NW7 4HX

NHS referrals

Ellern Mede has provided specialist Tier 4 eating disorder services to the NHS since 2000. We respond to referrals within 24 hours.

Private referrals

Call now for immediate access to Ellern Mede specialist private eating disorder services. Accepted referrals begin treatment within two weeks or faster in emergencies.