Counseling & Psychological Services
For Faculty & Staff
Savitz Hall — Top Floor
201 Mullica Hill Rd.
Glassboro, NJ 08028
8:30am — 4:30pm
Monday — Friday
4:30pm to 7:00pm Wednesday - by appointment only
Mondays and Wednesdays
Walk-In Appointments Available Daily 11am-4pm
After Hours Emergencies
Call Public Safety at
256-4911 and ask for Counselor on Call
We ask that you please contact the CPSC in advance to cancel appointments you are unable to attend, so that the appointment slot might be made available for another student.
Faculty and Student Guidelines for Meeting With and
Referring Students Who May Have Eating Disorders
by: Michael Levine, PhD and Linda Smolak, PhD
- No matter how strong your suspicion that a student has an eating disorder, do not make a decision without first speaking privately with the student. If possible, select a time to talk when you will not feel rushed. Ensure sufficient time and try to prevent interruptions.
- Roommates or friends should select the person who has the best rapport with the student to do the talking. Unless the situation is an emergency or otherwise very negative for many people, confrontation by a critical group without professional guidance should be avoided.
- In a direct and non-punitive manner, indicate to the student all the specific observations that have aroused your concern. Allow the student to respond. If the student discloses information about problems, listen carefully, with empathy, and non-judgmentally.
- Throughout the conversation, communicate care, concern, and a desire to talk about problems. Your responsibility is not diagnosis or therapy, it is the development of a compassionate and forthright conversation that ultimately helps a student in trouble find understanding, support, and the proper therapeutic resources.
- If the information you receive is compelling, communicate to the student:
-Your tentative sense that he or she might have an eating disorder.
-Your conviction that the matter clearly needs to be evaluated.
-Your understanding that participation in school, sports, or other activities will not be jeopardized unless health has been compromised to the point where such participation is dangerous.
- Avoid an argument or battle of wills. Repeat the evidence, your concern, and if warranted your conviction that something must be done. Terminate the conversation if it is going nowhere or if either party becomes too upset. This impasse suggests the need for consultation from a professional.
- Throughout the process of detection, referral, and recovery, the focus should be on the person feeling healthy and functioning effectively, not weight, shape, or morality.
- Do not intentionally or unintentionally become the student’s therapist, savior, or victim. Attempts to “moralize,” develop therapeutic plans, closely monitor the person’s eating, adjust one’s life around the eating disorder, or cover for the person are not helpful.
- Be knowledgeable about community resources to which the student can be referred. In discussing the utility of these resources, emphasize to the student that, since eating problems are very hard to overcome on one’s own, past unsuccessful attempts are not indicative of lack of effort or moral failure.
- Faculty should arrange for some type of follow-up contact with the student. If you are often involved with students with eating disorders, consultation with a professional who specializes in eating disorders may be needed.
Some "Don'ts" for Educators and Others Concerned About a Person with an Eating Disorder
By: Michael Levine, PhD and Linda Smolak, PhD
- Don’t cast a net of awe and wonder around the existence of an eating disorder. Keep the focus on
the reality that eating disorders result in:
-Inefficiency in the fulfillment of academic, familial, occupational, and other responsibilities.
-Misery in the form of food and weight obsession, anxiety about control, guilt, helplessness,
hopelessness, and extreme mood swings.
-Alienation in the form of social anxiety, social withdrawal, secrecy, mistrust of others, and self-absorption.
-Disturbance of self and others through loss of control over dieting, body image, eating, emotions, and decisions.
- Don’t oversimplify. Avoid thinking or saying things such as “Well, eating disorders are just an addiction like alcoholism,” or “All you have to do is start accepting yourself as you are.”
- Don’t imply that bulimia nervosa, because it is often associated with “normal weight,” is somehow less serious than anorexia nervosa.
- Don’t be judgmental, e.g., don’t tell the person that what they are doing is “sick” or “stupid” or “self-destructive.”
- Don’t give advice about weight loss, exercise, or appearance.
- Don’t confront the person as part of a group of people, all of whom are firing accusations at the person at once.
- Don’t diagnose: keep the focus on IMAD (inefficiency, misery, alienation, disturbance) and the ways that the behaviors are impacting the person’s life and well-being.
- Don’t become the person’s therapist, savior, or victim. In this regard, do not “promise to keep this a secret no matter what.”
- Don’t get into an argument or a battle of wills. If the person denies having a problem, simply and calmly:
-Repeat what you have observed, i.e., your evidence for a problem.
-Repeat your concern about the person’s health and well-being.
-Repeat your conviction that the circumstance should at least be evaluated by a counselor or therapist.
-End the conversation if it is going nowhere or if either party becomes too upset. This impasse suggests that the person seeking help needs to consult a professional.
-Take any actions necessary for you to carry out your responsibilities or to protect yourself.
-If possible, leave the door open for further conversations.
- Don’t be inactive during an emergency: If the person is throwing up several times per day, or
passing out, or complaining of chest pain, or is suicidal, get professional help immediately.
*All above information was obtained from National Eating Disorders Association's website at http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org