1st Edition

Treating Athletes with Eating Disorders Bridging the Gap between Sport and Clinical Worlds

By Kate Bennett Copyright 2022
    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides readers with concrete, tangible tools for treating athletes with eating disorders by discussing issues that are unique to this population and introducing specific ideas to help facilitate recovery among this population.

    Dr. Bennett integrates her experiences in sport and mental health to provide a comprehensive resource for all healthcare providers who support athletes with eating disorders. Traditional sport psychology interventions are translated into clinical action to help therapists align with the athletic identities of individuals recovering from eating disorders. From diagnosis and neurobiology to athletic identity and excellence, this book covers a range of topics to help readers build their own toolboxes of creative and clinically sound psychological interventions.

    This comprehensive guide provides professionals who are new to the field with essential knowledge pertaining to the treatment of eating disorders and offers experienced healthcare providers insight on treatment aspects that are unique to working with athletes.

    Part I Foundations for the Treatment of Eating Disorders; 1. Diagnostically Speaking; 2. Treatment Basics; 3. Defiance or Desperation: The Reality of Biologically Based Mental Illness; 4. Beyond the Brain: The Physical Effects of Disordered Eating Behaviors; Part II Bridging the Gap; 5. Shades of Gray; 6. Me, Myself and I: Honoring the Athlete; 7. Objectified: Body Image in Sport; 8. Imbalanced: Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S); 9. Passion Versus Placation: Understanding Movement Among Athletes; Part III Leveraging Past Success; 10. A Case Against Perfection; 11. The Willingness to Suffer; 12. The Power of Competition; 13. Lasting Belief: Confidence in Recovery; 14. The Coach’s Hat.


    Kate Bennett, PsyD, is a clinical sport psychologist. A former two-time national track cycling champion, coach, and athletic trainer, she combines her sport experiences with her clinical expertise to support the needs of athletes recovering from eating disorders in her private practice, Athlete Insight.

    "As a coach, leader and psychologist working with athletes over the past 40 years I often have been confronted by athletes experiencing eating disorders. Where was this book when I needed it? Fortunately, it has arrived and Dr. Bennett has provided a thorough, probing and comprehensive road map into the what, why and how of this global issue. In Chinese, the word for crisis means both danger and opportunity. Yes, eating disorders are a crisis on many levels but they are also an opportunity as Kate so beautifully points out, how suffering can lead to great results in the recovery process. She eloquently discusses how such a crisis is actually the ultimate competition with the freedom of recovery being the greatest reward, perhaps greater than a national championship. Such mental and emotional reframing will empower every athlete to take on the challenge of going beyond one of life's greatest challenges. If you work with athletes, you must read this book."— Jerry Lynch, PhD, founder and CEO of Way of Champions, athlete, and author of The Competitive Buddha and 13 more on Leadership and Performance

    "Treating Athletes with Eating Disorders is a valuable resource for treatment providers, athletes, parents, and sport personnel who want to increase understanding and attunement specific to eating disorders in sport. Kate Bennett provides a sound framework for conceptualizing the multifaceted and complex nature of eating disorders in athletes. In addition, practical and effective interventions are outlined to appropriately facilitate needed healing and change while honoring an athlete’s identity, values, and unique disposition." —Riley Nickols, PhD, CEDS, counseling and sport psychologist, director of the Victory Program at McCallum Place, founder of Mind Body Endurance

    "Bravo Kate Bennett for tackling the very complex problem where eating disorders and athletes intertwine. Treating Athletes with Eating Disorders is fraught with nuisance and requires the ability to understand and empathize with the kind of training, discipline and mental toughness that is required for peak performance while at the same time being able to challenge when things get out of hand and an eating or exercise disorder develops. The important point is made over and over that these are not easy black and white issues but take a nuanced approach. As a clinician for decades and now founder of an institute where I train and certify eating disorder coaches, I was impressed that Kate Bennett sees herself as a therapist and coach to athletes and believes that this combination is critical. In my experience all eating disorder clients need both of these elements in their treatment providers. This book is an absolute necessity to any eating disorder clinician’s library and should be required reading for coaches as well." —Carolyn Costin, The Carolyn Costin Institute, author 8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder, The Eating Disorder Sourcebook and more, Carolyncostin.com

    "This book wins a gold medal! Dr. Kate Bennett innovatively unites the clinical and athletic worlds to bring you an original, applicable and action-focused guide to support athletes with eating disorders! She brings her creativity and expansive knowledge to the court to provide the field with this much needed resource. This book is a must-read for any clinician or coach that wants to deepen their understanding of eating disorders and strengthen their work with their athletes!" —Amanda S. Tierney, MS, CSCS, CEDS, strength and conditioning coach at the Victory Program at McCallum Place, founder of Discovering Balance: Fitness Coaching and Support

    "I highly recommend Dr. Bennett’s new book, Treating Athletes with Eating Disorders for everyone, including primary care providers, therapists, athletic coaches or individuals who have struggled or are struggling with disordered eating. Dr. Bennett’s book is the first book I’ve come across in my 3 decades of medical practice that goes beyond providing definitions for specific DSM disorders. Refreshingly, she recognizes that the approach to helping athletes recover from disordered eating is different. This book is ground-breaking, easy to read for both medical and non-medical providers, and a wonderful handbook mapping out key elements for diagnosis and treatment for all stages of recovery. As a provider who is privileged to work with athletes at all levels (professional to recreational), and an MD who believes in evidence-based medicine, I know that this book will become one of my trusted resources!" —Kiki (Nicole) Silver, MD, ABAARM, founder/owner of Boulder Peak Health, PC, www.boulderpeakhealth.com

    "Athletics is a unique, pressure-packed performance culture that some mental health professionals do not fully understand. While sports present opportunities for self-esteem, social support, and resilience, sport participation also increases risk for eating disorders. When athletes develop eating disordered behaviors, they need professionals who appreciate the distinctive dynamics involved in recovery and wellness in an athletic system. This book is a fantastic primer for teaching such cultural competence to professionals in mental health, athletic medicine, and sports nutrition. Dr. Bennett starts with the fundamentals of diagnosis, treatment, biology, and medical complications. Section two enhances understanding of athletic culture by exploring norms, identity, imbalances, and barriers to treatment. A diversity of case examples illustrates these principles. Section three (my favorite) embraces the best aspects of sport to battle one of the toughest opponents athletes face: the eating disorder. How can athletes bring their grit, competitiveness, training, and drive for excellence to the pursuit of health and balance? Dr. Bennett provides insightful and creative strategies that I’m excited to implement in my own practice." —Jen Carter, PhD, ABPP, lead sport psychologist, Ohio State University Sports Medicine, associate professor, Clinical, OSU Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

    "The author of this remarkable book highlights unique strategies which offer exceptional guidance to those in the role of supporting elite athletes with body image and/or eating concerns. As both a seasoned clinician and elite athlete, Dr. Kate Bennett skillfully teaches us how to understand and interpret the nuances of an athlete's experience – such as the pursuit of perfection –which can negatively affect not only performance but the ability to maintain one’s health and well-being. Treating Athletes with Eating Disorders will be a pivotal resource where the reader will learn of useful approaches on how to reduce ongoing stress levels, work through the pressure to perform - and equally important, address unhealthy eating disordered thoughts and behaviors. As a provider honored to be on this journey with countless athletes, this "roadmap to recovery" will be recommended to each and every colleague on behalf of the athletes in their care. This is a must read for the entire athletic community!" —Dawn Hynes, MSW, founder and CEO, Hynes Recovery Services

    "Treating Athletes with Eating Disorders is a brilliant manual for athletes, coaches and sports psychologists alike. In a world of pop-culture treatments for serious psychological ailments, Dr. Bennett is a breath of fresh air with practical advice based on evidence and practice." —Jason Koop, author of Training Essentials for Ultrarunning

    "In my work as a clinician in a sport setting, I am often looking for substantive resources for myself and my clients. Dr. Bennett’s book provides just that. This book takes a developmental approach to educate the reader to the nuances of eating disorders, sport, and the coming together of those two worlds. Her balanced approach of using research, anecdotes and case studies is a refreshing way of approaching such a complex and concerning topic." —Christopher M. Bader, PhD, LP, CMPC, counseling & sport psychologist

    "This book is one of the first of its kind to take the traits that make an athlete excel and use those towards their recovery from an eating disorder. Dr. Bennett combines common language with familiar sport tactics to improve clinicians’ ability to connect with their athlete. Kate's knowledge as an athlete and coach help clinicians understand the line between what is driven and what is destructive. One must understand the culture in sport and the culture in society that our athletes live in. This resource is unique in its consideration of both. A must for all clinicians treating athletes with eating disorders." —Rebecca McConville, MS, RD, LD, CSSD, CEDRD-S, sports specialist and eating disorder dietitian supervisor, Rebecca McConville Consulting

    "This is a must read for anyone that works with athletes in the coaching, high performance, academic or sports medicine space. It also holds great insight for parents working to ensure their young athletes are maintaining optimal health in the pursuit of their performance goals. Dr. Bennett expertly presents the complexity of eating disorders with a tenor of eloquence and empathy while maintaining resolute focus on problem solving and patient treatment." —Derick Williamson, MEd, USA Paratriathlon Resident Team coach, USA Paratriathlon National Team coach, USAC, USAT and USA Paratriathlon certified coach