The Maudsley Approach is an evidence based treatment method specifically designed for adolescents who are showing early signs of an eating disorder. It was named after the Maudsley Hospital in London, UK where the treatment method was initially conceived.
The Maudsley Approach differs from other treatment techniques in that the entire family of the adolescent is involved in the treatment process. A great deal of commitment and dedication is required, especially from the parents. One parent must be present for every meal and snack that the adolescent consumes, and if bulimia is suspected, a parent must remain with the young person for at least one hour afterwards. Counseling sessions are also a part of the Maudsley Approach, and are aimed at helping the adolescent resume healthy eating patterns, re-establish normal boundaries, and return to independent responsibility for food choices and eating.
The Maudsley Approach is broken down into 3 phases, with each one in effect until the adolescent is ready to move on to the next set of goals. In the first phase, the family’s interpersonal relationships and eating habits are examined. The parents are educated on healthy eating and encouraged to support the adolescent to begin eating again. In the second phase, the adolescent will begin to take over responsibility for nourishing him or herself. Weight gain should take place during this stage. In the third phase, the adolescent is given increasing responsibility for maintaining good eating habits and re-establishing a new healthy identity.
The Maudsley Approach does not necessarily address the underlying reasons behind the eating disorder. Instead, the focus is on re-discovering healthy food choices, and repairing poor eating patterns.