Nick Arnott-Steel

Registered Clinical Psychologist

- create meaningful change -


Fussy eating, picky eating, whatever you decide to call it, a fussy eating child can be incredibly difficult to parent. It's hard to know what to do in this situation, with so many other parents (and professionals) offering advice and suggestions on how to manage the matter. 


A lot of children naturally increase their diet over time as they feel more confident and comfortable experimenting with new foods. However, research has shown that the prevalence of fussy eating behaviours is common across childhood and into adolescence. This means it could be years before you're back to making just one meal at dinner time.


With any food related challenge, you're most likely worried about your child's nutritional intake, weight or size. Other concerns include difficulties socialising with others (or going out for dinner) and of course, war at the dinner table!


Fussy eating can become a diagnosable disorder when it affects your child's health or day to day functioning. In psychology, fussy eating sits within the broad diagnosis of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder or ARFID. Other presentations within this diagnosis include, choking phobias, as well as a general disinterest in food altogether. If your child experiences either one or all three of these presentations, it doesn't matter, because the treatment for are three presentations is the same.


It's important to think carefully about your options when seeking treatment for ARFID. At present, there is only one intervention that has an evidence base to support its use. This treatment is called Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for ARFID or CBT-AR. This is a cutting-edge therapy for ARFID with the most recent protocol published in 2018. CBT-AR is a practical and hands on solution to managing fussy eating behaviours, utilising education, systematic desensitisation and graded exposure to feared foods. If you would like to know more about this treatment, contact me today. Online appointments can be arranged either weekly or fortnightly and can be conducted via video conferencing (Zoom). Treatment is appropriate for children, youth and adults. 



027 235 0095

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