by Ann F. Haynos, Evan M. Forman, Meghan L. Butryn, and Jason Lillis
In Ann Haynos, Evan Forman, Meghan Butryn, and Jason Lillis’ most recent publication, Mindfulness and Acceptance for Treating Eating Disorders and Weight Concerns, the authors provide a comprehensive, practical, insightful, informative, and organized resource for graduate students, practitioners, researchers, educators, and related professionals working in the field of mental health—specifically within the specialty of eating disorders. Additionally, the title of this book accurately describes its purpose, contents, and overall themes.
The current publication is divided into two parts; mindfulness interventions directed toward individuals presenting with eating disorders (Chapters 1–5) while the second part focuses more on interventions related to weight concerns (Chapters 6–9). Chapter topics include using dialectical behavior therapy and emotional acceptance to strengthen appetite awareness, improving body image, and using mindfulness-based tactics for individuals who have recently experienced bariatric surgery. The authors were also intentional in enlisting over 20 expert contributing authors who are pioneers in the field.
The book is filled with excellent case conceptualization tools and treatment applications for the various eating disorder diagnoses. Likewise, the book demonstrates how to translate theory and research into clinical practice with its mindfulness-based framework and by integrating evidence-based components into innovative techniques. Each chapter provides specific instruction, examples, and explanations for applying this approach when working with individuals presenting with body image and/or food concerns.
While eating disorders are challenging to treat, this book and ultimate resource provides hope for the entire eating disorder community. For example, the book includes strategies for helping clients understand connections between thoughts and urges, tools for separating facts from feelings, hands-on tips for reducing experiential avoidance and practicing mindfulness, and insight for viewing “self-as-context” rather than attaching to their suffering. By using this empirically supported approach, clients will be more able to stay connected with recovery and live a life consistent with their values.
While this resource does an exceptional job of incorporating acceptance and mindfulness-based approaches (ACT, DBT, MBCT) to the treatment of eating disorders and includes numerous strengths, this publication is not without potential growth areas. One area for improvement would be to consider more cultural barriers and language skills for better connecting with clients of diversity. This would also strengthen the social justice, access, and equity of service components. Additionally, it may be helpful to add a “quiz” section at the end of each chapter or section so that readers can check their comprehension. The authors may consider adding a helpful resource or quick reference section before the index, possibly listing websites, YouTube videos, sample worksheets, or in-session activities.
In summary, Mindfulness and Acceptance for Treating Eating Disorders and Weight Concerns: Evidence-Based Interventions demonstrates how theory can be translated into practice. It represents a comprehensive and valuable resource that significantly contributes to the mental health and related counseling fields, and includes research from a variety of experts in the eating disorder and mindfulness niche. Whether for graduate students or advanced professionals in the field, this book will serve as a beneficial resource that can be used across eating disorder presentations and concerns.
Haynos, A. F., Forman, E. M., Butryn, M. L., & Lillis, J. (2016). Mindfulness and acceptance for treating eating disorders and weight concerns: Evidence-based interventions. Oakland, CA: Context Press.
Reviewed by: Mary-Catherine McClain Riner, NCC, Riner Counseling, LLC
The Professional Counselor