ARFID for Dietitians: A Responsive Feeding Therapy Approach

3-session workshop – 100% online!

17.5 Self-Study CE Credit hours for Dietitians 

This course is available for purchase — no membership necessary. Please click on the buttons below for details.
Please note: this course and is not included in the EDRD Pro membership.

Alyssa Mitola, MS, RD, CEDRD-S

“This is by far the best ARFID resource currently available. Thank you for creating such a wonderful compilation of experts and resources. Very engaging.”

Join dietitians from around the globe for this 3-part virtual workshop! You’ll learn from five experts in eating and feeding disorders on the complexities of selective and avoidant eating, with an emphasis on Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). Along with a thorough exploration of ARFID etiology, subtypes, and treatment and Responsive Feeding Therapy (RFT), this 12-hour workshop-style series includes panels and Q&As for learning how to best support those with avoidant/selective eating across the lifespan. Dietitians earn 19 CEs upon completion. See a more comprehensive list of topics and learning objectives below and on the Agenda & Speakers page.

What to Expect:

3 half-day, online workshops presented via Zoom records

All materials and videos will be provided to attendees to complete the course at your own pace.

What Makes this Course Essential for Dietitians who Support People with ARFID?

What we will cover…


  • A lifespan understanding of ARFID, etiology and subtypes, and treatment considerations
  • Factors that impact how clients learn to relate to food and their bodies from a responsive lens
  • Sensory, oral-motor, autism spectrum concerns
  • Interpreting growth charts and addressing common misconceptions that fuel worry and counterproductive feeding
  • Bidirectional nature of “pressure to eat research” and how it impacts food responsivity
  • Examples of potential for pediatric feeding therapy and eating disorder treatment, such as response escape exposures, to reinforce pressure and become aversive
  • Introduction to common pediatric feeding therapies clients encounter and their philosophical underpinnings
  • Eating disorder literature around ARFID, subtypes and weight trajectory, and how that informs “refeeding” and treatment


  • Defining RFT and considering the STEPS+ model as an example
  • Differences in treatment for children, teens, and adults
  • What to do with: “I’m doing everything you say, and it’s not working…”
  • Scope for dietitians: when to refer, to whom, what that looks like
  • Complex diagnoses where ARFID may coexist with body image concerns and Anorexia Nervosa, or include Bingeing and other disordered behaviors
  • Approaches and considerations: Family Based Treatment-ARFID, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – ARFID
  • End-goals of treatment and internally motivated eating, what “recovery” might look like
  • Weight inclusive concerns for avoidant and selective eating
  • What “responsive exposures” look like in practice
  • Working with neurodiverse clients and a Social Model of Disability
  • Trauma, dissociation, and interoception

What is Responsive Feeding Therapy?

“Responsive Feeding Therapy (RFT) is an overarching approach to feeding and eating interventions applicable to multiple disciplines and across the lifespan. RFT facilitates the (re)discovery of internal cues, curiosity, and motivation, while building skills and confidence. It is flexible, prioritizes the feeding relationship, and respects and develops autonomy.White Paper Responsive Feeding Therapy: Values and Practice (Rowell, Cormack, Wong, Moreland)

How does an RFT lens advance/add to ARFID treatment?

There is no gold-standard treatment for ARFID. As pointed out by Bryant-Waugh, “(t)reatment needs are likely to vary across individuals and, as a rule of thumb, are generally informed by the main areas of impact of the avoidance or restriction of food intake.”

In contrast to a manualized approach to treatment, RFT looks to understand why clients eat the way they do. It strives to identify and address the root influences and challenges that existed as the individual learned to relate to food and their bodies. In a recent study on outpatient ARFID patients (Zickgraf 2019), for instance, all experienced onset of avoidant eating before age 5, the overwhelming majority before age 3. It is critical to thoroughly assess individuals’ history of feeding and eating difficulties, as well as any therapies undertaken in order to provide informed individualized interventions.

Thus, in addition to sensory, oral-motor, metabolism, temperament, disgust, aversive experiences, anxiety, and other factors, the impact of feeding dynamics and early experiences should be considered in the development of avoidant, selective, and anxious eating.

Considering the factors at play opens opportunities for clinicians to use their skills in a responsive way with each client. The clinician’s “toolkit” may include motivational interviewing, DBT, CBT, nutrition counseling, emotion coaching, interoception support, and the healing power of the therapeutic relationship, improving outcomes and personal satisfaction for the dietitian.

Course Overview

Many teens and adults who struggle with anxious, avoidant, or selective eating, including ARFID, experienced challenges in the very earliest stages when they were learning to relate to food and their bodies. Negative experiences with food or mealtimes (including anything that made chewing, eating, swallowing, or digesting negative, difficult, or painful) increase the odds of avoidant eating. Thus, session one of this three-part workshop explores the what and why of avoidant eating to lay the groundwork for deeper healing.

Session two then considers the range of common pediatric feeding therapies. This includes a special focus on Responsive Feeding Therapy (RFT) and overviews conducting assessments, addressing parental worry and frustration, supporting appetite and curiosity, and navigating the potential negative complications of non-responsive feeding and therapies.

Finally, session three brings together three practicing dietitians and a PhD psychologist to discuss pertinent topics such as scope of practice, clinical application of responsive therapies and principles including case studies, “responsive” exposures to address variety, neurodiversity, interoception, and weight-inclusive care.

This course is designed to support dietetic professionals who work with individuals struggling with selective and avoidant eating, from infant to adult populations and from outpatient to inpatient treatment settings.

ARFID for Dietitians: Speakers

Katja Rowell, MD
Grace Wong, MSc, RD, CEDRD-S
Nicole Wavra, MPH, RD, LD
Naureen Hunani, RD
Erin VandenLangenberg, PhD, MPH, LP

 Registration Details:

EDRD Pro Member Price $279
Non-Member Price $379

*3 part payment plan option available

Not a member yet? Become a member today. for $1 today to get $100 off the course. No long-term commitment.

Contact for any questions or to inquire about scholarship opportunities.

Scholarships are available. Finances should not be a barrier to attendance.
Please email for information on scholarships.