InsideOut eLearning

Learn more about eating disorders with our suite of online courses for health professionals.


Do No Harm

Create a safe space

People living with an eating disorder often feel embarrassed or ashamed about their behaviours and may want to keep it a secret.

This can make it hard for them to reveal their behaviours to a health professional.

What you say really matters. If a person has a negative first presentation with a doctor and potentially has an ED, they may never engage in treatment again.

Building rapport and creating a safe and non-judgemental space will make it easier for people to divulge information about their eating disorder. 

Be curious and empathetic about the person’s experience. 

Ensuring a positive experience will make it more likely that an individual will continue to engage in treatment, and importantly, come back for ongoing medical monitoring.

The good GP I had, she didn't lecture me, or grill me for answers or anything. She gently asked me ‘what is it about your weight that frightens you?’ She approached with calm and curiosity. She wasn’t just there to lecture me about stuff.Olivia, lived experience

Discussions about body, weight, and shape can be highly distressing for people with eating disorders. It needs to be handled with sensitivity and empathy.

For more on this, see: Discussing Weight, A Healthy Approach to Weight and Dangerous Dieting.