Treating Black Women with Eating Disorders : A Clinician's Guide book cover
1st Edition

Treating Black Women with Eating Disorders
A Clinician's Guide

ISBN 9780367820640
Published July 14, 2020 by Routledge
234 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The first of its kind, this edited volume provides in-depth, culturally sensitive material intended for addressing the unique concerns of Black women with eating disorders in addition to comprehensive discussions and treatment guidelines for this population.

The contributing authors—all of whom are Black professionals providing direct care to Black women—offer a range of perspectives to help readers understand the whole experience of their Black female clients. This includes not only discussion of their clients’ physical health but also of their emotional lives and the ways in which the stresses of racism, discrimination, trauma, and adverse childhood experiences can contribute to disordered eating. Through a wealth of diverse voices and stories, chapters boldly tackle issues such as stereotypes and acculturative stress.

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.

Table of Contents



Charlynn Small



Chapter 1: Eating Because We’re Hungry or Because Something’s Eating Us?

Charlynn Small

Chapter 2: Black Women "Showing Up" for Therapeutic Healing

Mazella Fuller

Chapter 3: A Gap in the Research: Race-Specific Issues and Difficult Questions

Eulena Jonsson

Chapter 4: Food for Thought, Mind, and Body: Exploring Embodiment Techniques for Black Queer Women

Anisha Cooper

Chapter 5: Social Desirability, Social Networking Sites, and Eating Disorders among African American Women

Chantelle Bernard

Chapter 6: The Skin I’m In: Stereotypes and Body Image Development in Women of Color

Warrenetta Crawford Mann



Chapter 7: Father Hunger? Engaging Fathers in the Eating Disorder Recovery Process: A

Developing Country’s Perspective

Caryl James Bateman and Abigail Harrison

Chapter 8: An Integrative Approach to Understanding and Treating Disordered Eating in African American Women

Carolyn Coker-Ross

Chapter 9: Treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Black Women with Eating Disorders

Sasha Ottey

Chapter 10: Psychiatric Medications and the Treatment of Eating Disorders in African American Women

Rashida Gray


Chapter 11: Cultural Competence: Considerations in the Treatment of African American Women with Eating Disorders

Goulda Downer

Chapter 12: Only a Dog Wants a Bone! The Other End of the Eating Spectrum: Overweight and Obesity

Dawn McMillan



Chapter 13: Black Women’s Presence in Eating Disorders Treatment Facilities

Kena Watson

Chapter 14: The Weight of Shame: Black Women and Binge Eating Disorder

Paula Edwards-Gayfield

Chapter 15: Food as a Drug: Mental Problem, Spiritual Solution

Joyce Woodson

Chapter 16: Creative Training Approaches for Clinicians-in-Training Working with African American Women with Eating Disorders

Jacqueline Conley

Chapter 17: Bulimia: An Attempt to Solve Insoluble Problems

Jennifer Ashby-Bullock



Chapter 18: Disordered Eating Habits of a Black, Deaf Adolescent Female: A Case Study Applying a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approach to School Psychological Services

Erica Payne

Chapter 19: Multidisciplinary Treatment Teams as Best Practice for Treating Eating Disorders and Body Image for College Students: Who Should Be at the Table?

Mary Churchill

Chapter 20: Evolution of the Fluffy Ideal in Jamaica

Venecia Pearce-Dunbar and Caryl James Bateman

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Charlynn Small, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist at the University of Richmond in Virginia. She received her PhD at Howard University and is an advocate for eating disorders awareness.

Mazella Fuller, PhD, is a psychiatric social worker at Duke University. She attended Smith College for social work in Northampton, Massachusetts and completed her clinical training at UMASS Amherst.


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. The clinician authors of "Treating Black Women with Eating Disorders: A Clinician’s Guide" have harnessed that magic and make an invaluable scholarly contribution which broadens the much needed evidence base and knowledge on this topic. A must read for every mental health provider who works withnand cares about the well being of Black women and their self actualization.

Nerine Tatham, MD, General Psychiatrist, Diplomate in Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Small and Dr. Fuller have compiled an essential reading list about the nuances of treating Black women struggling with eating disorders. This groundbreaking work starts a very necessary conversation that not only expands our understanding of the 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.

Norman H. Kim, PhD, National Director for Program Development, Reasons Eating Disorder Center.

Thirty-eight years after Gilligan’s ground-breaking book "In a Different Voice" asserted that all people aren’t male, Small and Fuller enlighten the eating disorders’ world that all women aren’t Caucasian. Twenty in-depth chapters cover every topic imaginable, written with passion, insight, expertise and lived experience. 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.

Adrienne Ressler LMSW, CEDS, F.iaedp, Vice President of Professional Development at The Renfrew Center Foundation

Most clinicians are not trained on the needs of marginalized populations. The authors help to fill that important gap from their extensive experience in the eating disorder field treating Black women, and their own personal experiences as Black clinicians. I hope that all therapists will read this book and strive to improve their cultural humility in their treatment.

Millie Plotkin, MLS, Informationist, Eating Recovery Center

While we know that eating disorders do not discriminate, Black women are virtually invisible in many of the current eating disorder treatment manuals. With this groundbreaking book the authors have substantially enriched the eating disorders field by shining the light on the important work of Black professionals treating Black women suffering from eating disorders. This is an essential read for any eating disorder clinician treating Black women and serves as a helpful resource for all clinicians who desire to increase cultural competence and empathy.

Gayle E. Brooks, PhD, CEDS-S, VP & Chief Clinical Officer, The Renfrew Center of Florida.