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Communication: tips to engage in difficult conversations, deal with strong emotions, and give more effective support

When the person we love has an eating disorder, we may realise that we’re avoiding difficult conversations or walking on eggshells. We may also notice that we’re expressing blame, anger, fear or hopelessness, which can lead to needing to look at the way we communicate.

Eva Musby will outline crucial principles of communication, and then we’ll get very practical, with things we may say – or should probably avoiding saying – in various common situations.

For instance: how can you be both compassionate and persistent if you’re supporting a meal? How might you respond to high emotions, like panic or aggression? How might you communicate your limits, or your concerns, or your love? How might you problem-solve together? Or repair connections? When treatment is optional, how might you engage your loved one’s motivation? What opportunities can you draw on to strengthen your loved one’s self?

I’ll be guided by your questions on the conference Q&A panel. Let’s see how many practical examples we can cover, and how we can tease out the big principles, so that you leave with some positive and adaptable communication tools.