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8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health) Paperback – 3 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (3 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393706958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393706956
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"[R]emarkably readable ... [C]ontains much that a counselor would find useful and it could form the basis for a programme that client and counselor tackled together." "Carolyn Costin was my eating disorder therapist, and I credit her with my recovery. 8 Keys gives the reader the same insight, inspiration, and tools that Carolyn gave me. It's straight-forward, well-written, and allows the reader to actively participate in her own recovery. I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder." -- Portia de Rossi "Carolyn Costin is the first person who ever looked me in the eyes and said, You can be fully recovered from your eating disorder. In The 8 Keys of Recovery, she and Gwen Grabb say just that. Even better, they provide real wisdom and guidance on how to actually find that freedom. I highly recommend this book!" -- Jenni Schaefer, author of Goodbye Ed, Hello Me and Life Without Ed "In 8 Keys to Recovery Costin and Grabb courageously disclose details of their own eating disorder histories, and also engage in revealing dialogue about Grabb's successful (if sometimes difficult) treatment by Costin. In doing so, they expose the most intimate challenges of living with and healing an eating disorder both personally and professionally. Costin and Grabb enlighten the reader with the knowledge they gained from failure as well as success, literally, from the inside out." -- Babette Rothschild, author of 8 Keys to Trauma Recovery Trauma Essentials and The Body Remembers "Costin and Grabb support their clients so they can learn to accept and understand instead of always having to fight their illness. Their keys are clear and flexible." "By the time I got to the third key, I had stopped writing down highlights for this review because the value of this book is greater than the sum of the eight individual keys. Not only do I believe this book can be extremely helpful to someone suffering from an eating disorder, but I believe it could be helpful for other practitioners who are not specialized in eating disorders." "This brave and hopeful book melds difficult personal narrative with the intimacies of a therapist-client relationship...The book not only offers great insight into how to beat this formidable illness/addiction, but supplies the motivation to do so. It should be in the hands of everyone who suffers from this affliction, directly or indirectly."

About the Author

Carolyn Costin MA, MEd, MFT, founder of Monte Nido Treatment Center, is a therapist, activist, author, and renowned eating disorder expert. Gwen Schubert Grabb is a psychotherapist in private practice. She lives in Palos Verdes Penninsula, California. Babette Rothschild, MSW, LCSW, has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1976. Author of 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery and the best-selling The Body Remembers, and member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, she gives lectures and professional trainings around the world. She is the editor of Norton's 8 Keys to Mental Health Series. She lives in Los Angeles.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JudyReviewer on 22 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book and have recommended it to clients but it really is mis-titled. It is for people recovering from anorexia and possibly EDNOS. I don't think that someone with binge eating disorder would not find it helpful or relate to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Ka Mckinnell on 17 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read a fair amount of self help books for eating disorders and this is definitely the best I have used. It gives hope and practical advice and \i would recommend it to anyone struggling with any kind of eating disorder.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. Gaskell on 12 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent condition and prompt delivery. Thank you. Will purchase more books from this seller in the future. Not read the book as yet but looking through it appears to be just what I wanted. Thank you again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Satisfying physical, emotional, and spiritual hunger 5 April 2012
By Deb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To give my authentic reaction to _8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder_, I'll share an excerpt from the e-mail I wrote to the author soon after I completed the book:
"I absolutely loved this book!!! Similar to my experience with your other book, I enthusiastically savored every nourishing word! I just love how the book explains, organizes, demystifies, and humanizes eating disorder treatment and recovery. This book has already informed and shaped the therapy sessions I have held since reading it. (I feel like I've been channeling it in all my recent sessions!)"

For therapists, those who suffer from eating disorders, and their loved ones, this book offers a complete and satisfying menu. It's divided into eight "main courses" which are the keys to eating disorder recovery:
Key 1: Motivation, Patience, and Hope
Key 2: Your Healthy Self Will Heal Your Eating Disorder Self
Key 3: It's Not About the Food
Key 4: Feel Your Feelings, Challenge Your Thoughts
Key 5: It *Is* About the Food
Key 6: Changing Your Behaviors
Key 7: Reach Out to People Rather Than Your Eating Disorder
Key 8: Finding Meaning and Purpose

Flavoring each of these courses are highly informative, well-organized, easy-to-digest, and satisfying explorations of all aspects of the eating disorder recovery process. For example, the beginning of the book provides a birdseye view of the ten phases of eating disorder recovery (pp. 14-16):
1. I don't think I have a problem.
2. I might have a problem but it's not that bad.
3. I have a problem but I don't care.
4. I want to change but I don't know how and I'm scared.
5. I tried to change but I couldn't.
6. I can stop some of the behaviors but not all of them.
7. I can stop the behaviors, but not my thoughts.
8. I am often free from behaviors and thoughts, but not all the time.
9. I am free from behaviors and thoughts.
10. I am recovered.

After guiding the reader through the stages of change and integration of the recovery process (during which the eating disorder self and healthy self merge into a fully integrated person), the book provides an informative and fascinating exploration of the 14 key issues underlying eating disorders (pp. 83-86):
1. Poor self-esteem
2. Need for distraction
3. Longing to fill up emptiness
4. Belief in a myth
5. Drive for perfection
6. High-achievement orientation
7. Desire to be special/unique
8. Need to be in control
9. Desire for power of self/others/family/life
10. Desire for respect and admiration
11. Difficulty expressing feelings
12. Lack of coping skills/use of eating disorder serves as a safe place to go
13. Lack of trust in self/others
14. Fear of not measuring up

The book is also packed with practical tools and techniques for managing eating disorder behaviors, including conscious eating guidelines, the hunger scale, and ways to move through the three-step process of feeling, challenging, and changing. Supplementing these how-to's is the spiritual component of the book which recognizes the complexity and depth of eating disorders. In the authors' own words (p. 222):
"With an eating disorder, you fall into the illusion that your worth is tied to the external, to things of the ego such as your looks and your ability to control food or your body. [The goal of recovery] is to tie your worth to your innate intrinsic value as a human being, and your connection to other beings and the world around you. This involves turning your attention to matters of spirituality and soul."

And, to help guide the readers through this essential spiritual growth aspect of the recovery process, the book explores the four-fold path of: (1) showing up; (2) paying attention; (3) telling the truth without judgment; and (4) not being too attached to the results. Following this path, it becomes possible to use mindfulness to respond from the soul instead of react from the ego, and to ultimately experience "the love, self-worth, and connection you were seeking all along." (p. 190)

The book ends with a clear and inspirational snapshot of recovery (p. 253) :
You will no longer have an eating disorder self but instead be living your life as a fully whole integrated person.
You will understand your issues but no longer use eating disorder behaviors to cope.
You will feel your feelings and know how to challenge your thoughts.
You will eat freely--but consciously--what you want, and no longer use scales or diets to dictate your eating.
You will continue to be aware of and work on any problematic behaviors that need to change.
You will get your needs met from your relationships rather than your eating disorder.
You will live a soul-led life that brings you meaning and purpose.

As a therapist, I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone struggling with an eating disorder, and for all of those who support them during the recovery process. The content of the book feeds the mind and provides guidelines to follow for feeding the soul. In the end, it's possible for anyone to arrive at the destination of one of the clients featured in the book who pledges that (p. 256):
"I will let food satisfy my physical hunger and love fulfill my emotional hunger."
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Hope and Understanding 28 Oct. 2011
By Rebecca of Amazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It is probably true to say that we all know someone with an eating disorder and we may ourselves have struggled with eating too much or too little. I personally have in the past self-medicated with food but didn't realize I was doing this due to a period of depression in my life. Society also puts a lot of pressure on us to eat (don't you want another helping?) or not to eat (that will make you fat). So it is very likely that anyone reading this book will easily relate to the issues presented. Mainly this book gives hope that you can overcome an eating disorder. This may however not be a short-term project and may require real lifestyle changes. You may really have to fight to get better. That is where this books comes in and guides you gently to recovery. There is an excellent section on how you can strengthen your healthy self with self-talk. Healing may come from confronting your thoughts. This book will help you change your behaviors so you can get healthy again. This book even deals with compulsive exercise. Basically the authors help you deal compassionately with yourself and this leads to positive change.

~The Rebecca Review

I received a free copy of this book for review.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An ABSOLUTE must for therapists and clients alike! 7 Dec. 2011
By Jade014 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As both a therapist, and in recovery myself, I found this book to be extremely informative and inclusive. I have read countless books on the subject, and found that "8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder" effortlessly weaves together the many therapies and directions one could take to better understand, and eventually heal, from an eating disorder.

The unusual format, in which we hear client and therapist perspectives both between Grabb and Costin, and within each author (having each been "on both sides of the couch"), is an effective antidote to shame, and provides hope for full recovery.

The writing assignments interspersed throughout the book may feel overwhelming at first, but bring a much-needed awareness to thoughts and behaviors that often go unchallenged. From personal experience, I know how pervasive and insidious the inner critic (aka The Eating Disorder Self, or Ed) is, and how it can stick around far longer than the behaviors themselves. If you have been working at recovery for a while (like myself) the questions will likely look familiar. But what's different from other books, is how the exercises build on themselves. And the authors' honest disclosures help to normalize some of the thoughts and behaviors that often keep us locked in shame.

I was also impressed by the inclusion of progressive practices, such as mindfulness and self-compassion, which are rapidly receiving the respect and attention that they deserve.

For therapists: This book is a comprehensive resource for supporting your clients.
For clients: This book offers support for wherever you are in your recovery. And even though it is written by two therapists, it is very approachable, as Grabb and Costin have a wonderful way of explaining concepts, often relying on personal experience to provide examples.

Thank you, Grabb and Costin -- I've been waiting for this!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A Must-Read for Parents of a Child Suffering from an Eating Disorder 27 Feb. 2012
By reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a godsend to me as a mother whose daughter is recovering from anorexia and bulimia. It gives me such hope to read Gwen's detailed account of her own struggles with a serious eating disorder (many which parallel my daughter's experiences) and how she ultimately fully recovered to become a successful wife, mother, therapist, and author.

Because both Gwen and Carolyn suffered with eating disorders and went on to recover and become ED therapists, they offer unique insights and perspective in telling their story. I found it so compelling that Carolyn, as Gwen's therapist, was able to eventually guide her out of her deeply carved ED abyss by peeling away the layers of Gwen's resistance to finally identify the motivator that would silence Gwen's unhealthy voice once and for all.

With the secrecy and shame that surrounds an eating disorder, as well as the necessary privacy of therapy sessions, it can be difficult for parents to understand what their daughter is going through, what goes on in therapy, what recovery entails, understanding intuitive eating, etc. I found it so helpful and eye opening to follow Gwen's thoughts from the onset of her eating disorder and into its depths, and all the way through to her full recovery, and appreciate that she reveals the specifics of her disordered behaviors and the therapy details that would normally remain secret and behind closed doors. Relaying her experiences in the manner she has gives me comfort and an understanding that the recovery process can be long but to not give up hope.

The authors' empathetic and approachable tone is comforting, especially to someone like me who didn't know who to turn to for help for my daughter. I appreciate that they offer their contact information for additional help and resources. Though it is primarily a self-help book, it is a must read for anyone who has a friend or child suffering from an eating disorder.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Father's Opinion of 8 Keys... 14 Jun. 2012
By Mike Polan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Whether you suffer from an eating disorder yourself, have a loved one who is suffering, or know someone who is suffering, 8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder is a must-read for critical information and strategies to help you through the process of recovery (yourself or in support of a loved one).

This book does not use overwhelming medical terms, but offers accessible, easy to follow explanations for serious eating disorder related issues.

The authors offer their own personal accounts of recovery as well as interviews from clients they treated in their practices, giving readers insight into the illness and recovery process. They also offer strategies on how to cope with and avoid destructive feelings and behaviors that occur as a result of having an eating disorder.

In addition, the book provides assignments at the end of each chapter to give readers an opportunity to work on specific areas they are struggling with, as well as activities they can do to prevent acting on their eating disorder thoughts. Specific coping strategies and activities are helpful to those personally affected, and also give carers important tools for encouraging their loved one.

As a father who has been through it, I believe a key strategy cited in the book for carers is be there to support, not fix or judge. The book recommends the motto "Truth without Judgment." Costin and Schubert Grabb effectively explain how this idea can help open up the lines of communication, an important component for being able to provide support and encouragement. Your loved one will be more likely to open up to you if you approach them with patience and empathy.

The book offers another strategy that I found very helpful: Treat an eating disorder like any other serious disease. The authors explain the complexity of eating disorders in a way that helps to dispel much of the misinformation that is out there, and stresses: Get the best help possible - just like you would get the best doctor possible - and trust and believe in the treatment team while being a proactive part of the process.

Having a daughter that has battled an eating disorder for 10 plus years, I know firsthand how confusing, frustrating, and difficult this disease can be to understand.

This is a book I wish I had early on in my daughter's illness. The authors help you understand the thought processes that go on in your loved one's head. They also give strategies that we, as parents or loved ones, can use to help support them on their road to recovery. In order to truly understand what your loved one is going through, you must realize that there is an internal battle between their healthy self and their eating disordered self. This is like the old cartoon that shows an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, each one trying to get them to come over to their side. It can be like a constant tug of war! In the midst of an eating disorder, when a loved one's weight is too low and/or their body is not being fueled with the nutrition it needs, they are not thinking clearly and the eating disorder is in control.

Understanding how difficult and stressful the above scenario is will help you better understand their behaviors, preventing unnecessary anger on your part. It's not their fault; it's the eating disorder winning the battle. But the eating disorder does not have to win; with treatment and your support, they can fully recover.
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