When children are struggling to eat, behavior is their way of communicating that something may not be working the way it should. It is also how they show their like or dislike for certain food. These behaviors can often leave family members and caregivers feeling confused and frustrated, affecting the parent–child relationship as well as the child’s thoughts and behaviors toward feeding.

Who Can Help Assess And Treat

Mental health providers are licensed professionals who can partner with other professionals on the treatment team to provide support for the child and family’s mental health needs. In most cases, they are a psychologist, social worker, or counselor. The vast majority of mental health providers have master’s degrees, and many hold doctoral degrees and undergo postgraduate training. To find a licensed professional in your area, visit Feeding Matters’ Provider Directory.

What They Do

  • Evaluate how both the parent and child are responding to the feeding disorder
  • Evaluate mealtime behaviors and identify the learned responses
  • Suggest strategies that will strengthen a positive relationship with food and eating
  • Motivate children to participate in the feeding process through various behavioral strategies
  • Identify strategies that promote positive mealtime experiences based on trust
  • Enhance the feeding team’s overall communication