Artistic Expression & Eating Disorder Recovery

Many find artistic expression through dance, music, film, painting, drawing, sculpture and theatre to be useful in eating disorder treatment and recovery.

Deep feelings that are difficult to express can often be shared and acknowledged through the arts. This form of expression offers a window to the inner workings of the heart and soul of an eating disorder sufferer.

Free “ED 101” film now available

ED 101 is a free 30-minute film that explores the four types of eating disorders through expert interviews, family testimonials and special performances by American Idol Season 4 finalist, Natalie Weiss, Tony award-nominated actor Robin de Jesus and Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominated actress, Kerry Butler.

The fact-filled piece features interviews with eating disorder experts, such as Dr. Kim Dennis of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, Lynn Grefe (CEO, NEDA) and Chevese Turner (CEO, BEDA), as well as hopeful stories from those in recovery. The project is the result of five years of research and is a collaborative distribution effort between more than 15 nonprofit organizations; including, ANAD, BEDA, EDAN, FED UP INC, LETS Educational Foundation, NAMED, NEDA and many others.

Sponsored by Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, the release of ED 101 will be available in TWO formats. First as an online film, then in DVD. Either version comes with informational materials and helpful handouts to lead your own effective discussion panel after the film. Learn about eating disorders with this powerful FREE film…

Someday Melissa Documentary

DVDs of the documentary Someday Melissa, the story of an eating disorder, loss and hope, are now available for pre-order.  On May 6, 2009, after a five-year battle with bulimia, 19 year old Melissa Avrin died of a heart attack. A gifted writer, Melissa kept a journal during her years of struggle with bulimia and depression.  Along with words of sadness and pain, there were powerful messages of hope that Judy Avrin, Melissa’s mother, felt needed to be shared.  Her poem “Someday…” became the inspiration for the documentary that Judy created with Danna Markson, LCSW, and Director Jeffrey Cobelli.

To order the film and for more information on Someday Melissa, go to

nor.mal: family Documentary Film at UVA

a collaboration between professional New York film makers, directors, with other nonprofits such as FEAST, NEDA, BEDA and The University of Virginia, we announce production of a groundbreaking documentary film called nor.mal: family.

Following the lives of 4 groups of “normal” parents who are watching their child struggle through an eating disorder, while — on the campus of UVA nor.mal: (the musical told from a mother’s perspective about her family overcoming an eating disorder) is being cast and staged live.

nor.mal: family is about the healing power of the arts shown through the lens of four groups of parents, a cast of 7 actors and an arts program that ties them all together. They all meet up for one live evening of theatre and experience a heartrending catharsis.

The footage of the rock musical gathered from this documentary will be used to complete our much-anticipated Online Educational Film / DVD project. Filming is slated to begin in 2012 — stay tuned for details or visit NORMAL – a national organization to build
resilience and mindfulness through arts-based learning programs!

Expressing Disorder

New CD released by Jenni Schaefer, author, singer & songwriter— When I was lost in my eating disorder, I didn’t want to sing. I didn’t even want to listen to music. I remember going for a few years without ever turning on the radio in my car. And I love listening to music on the radio in my car. My eating disorder stole my passions — like music. Throughout the recovery process, I gained my
passions back. Today, I am finally able to sing and enjoy music again!

Check out Jenni’s latest CD

Skeleton in the Closet

Skeleton in the Closet is a series of intimate portraits, by artist Fritz Liedtke, of people struggling with anorexia and bulimia.

Combining photographs and text, it creates a powerful narrative of what it’s like to live with and leave behind an eating disorder.

Please browse the site, read the stories, share in the conversation, and learn more.

Last reviewed: By Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 25, 2012

Page last updated:August 25, 2012
Published on, Help for Eating Disorders