As those who work with people with eating disorders know, the landscape is changing in ways both positive and negative, exciting and troubling, and medically/therapeutically appropriate and terribly harmful, often at the same time. As the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders have changed to reflect the people we actually see in our offices, one positive shift has been the change in patient demographics. Though there is an unfortunate absence of research into this issue, one anecdotal change has been the increase in men seeking therapeutic assistance for eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, compulsive exercising, weight gain/loss, and many other issues commonly thought of as being the purview of women (Cox, 2017).
I recently jumped at the opportunity to form a men’s group at Balance Eating Disorder Treatment Center, in NYC. It was something I’ve wanted for awhile, but amassing a concentrated group of men to form a group has proved difficult. Balance advertised in as broad a manner as possible to attract as many members as possible. We invited men interested in examining their relationship with food, body, self, and society, focusing on body image concerns, emotional eating, relationship issues and sexuality, nutrition, healthy exercising, communication, and coping skills. We didn’t know who would respond.