At their first family therapy session, Rina Ranalli and her husband tried to coax their anorexic 13-year-old daughter to eat a bagel with cream cheese. What followed was a protracted negotiation.
The girl said she would eat it only if she could have it plain, with nothing on it. The parents countered that they really wanted her to eat it with the cream cheese. Her last offer: she would eat half.
“Does this happen at every meal?” the therapist, Daniel Le Grange, asked them, Ms. Ranalli recalled. He added gently, “It has to stop.”