#13: How do I foster core values that promote body-positivity?

with Emily Wacker, PhD, LMFT

listen here


In this episode we discuss…

  • how emily began studying eating disorder prevention

  • the definition of subclinical eating disorders

  • how “voice” is defined as a protective factor - both in terms of internal communication with oneself and communication with others

  • the connection between eating disorders and losing touch with one’s genuine voice in adolescence

  • eating disorder voice vs. genuine voice

  • what parents can do to foster a child’s genuine voice

  • helping children identify and explore their own values

  • the connection between genuine voice and values

  • safe and supportive relationships as a protective factor

  • non-judgmental openness

  • what parents can say to children they are concerned may be dieting or struggling with disordered eating

  • references and theories that informed emily’s research can be found here

Dr. Emily Wacker helps us understand how a young person’s genuine voice and core values can protect them against disordered eating. We also discuss what parents can do to help their children develop an understanding of their values and feel empowered to use their voices.

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dr. Emily Wacker is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Minnesota. She holds a master’s in couple and family therapy and a doctoral degree in human development with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. Emily currently works at the Melrose Center for Eating Disorders in St. Paul, MN conducting outpatient and intensive outpatient services with adolescents, young adults and their families.

As a family therapist, her practice incorporates postmodern and systemic approaches to treating eating disorders. In line with her research, Emily believes that family and supportive relationships are the most important tools for effective treatment and long-term recovery. She highly values the client-therapist relationship and works to explore core beliefs, dominant narratives, and issues of self-worth that are sustaining the eating disorder. She is currently undergoing intensive training focused on healing relational trauma. Emily is also an active researcher in the field, and has published research related to family dynamics and eating disorders, as well as protective factors that promote recovery. Emily is a believer in the power of the feminine identity, and cultivating a world where gender is no longer the greatest risk factor for eating disorder development, but a source of empowerment and agency. If she could only tell her clients one thing it would be, “You deserve to be heard, you deserve to take up space.”

Connect with Emily on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Jordan Best