Connecting clinicians and non-profit organizations

How The Alliance can support you, your clients, and their families

Presented by:

  • Johanna Kandal, CEO and Founder of The Alliance
  • Rachael Rifkin, Support Group Manager and Clinical Psychotherapist

What is The Alliance?

The National Alliance for Eating Disorders (“The Alliance”) is the leading national non-profit organization providing education, referrals, and support for all individuals experiencing eating disorders, as well as their loved ones.

In 2000, after recovering from a long battle with eating disorders, Johanna Kandel founded the National Alliance for Eating Disorders as a way to give back and make a difference. Since then, The Alliance has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, eliminate stigma, and promote access to care, as well as support those vulnerable to, currently experiencing, and recovering from eating disorders. 

The Alliance: A timeline

  • 2000: The Alliance is founded by Johanna Kandal with a mission based on three pillars: Help, support, and recovery.
  • 2002: The first Alliance support group is held in West Palm Beach. 
  • 2016: Expansion to 6 support groups, including BED, adolescent, and substance use and eating disorders support groups, all held at The Alliance headquarters in West Palm Beach.
  • 2017: The first support group is held outside of headquarters at Pro Recovery Tampa.
  • 2018: Support groups launched in four new states: Miami, Orlando, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.
  • 2019: Seven new groups are added in 5 cities in Indiana, New York, and New Jersey.
  • 2020: The Alliance now has 20 support groups nationwide across 15 cities and 7 states. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, all groups were required to shut down on March 13th, but just a few days later, the first virtual support group was held.
  • 2021: The first Not One More (NOM) day is held, with 16 hours of non-stop online support groups attracting tens of thousands of attendees across the globe.
  • 2022: Support groups re-open in person, but virtual groups continue.
  • 2023: Four new support groups launch for LGBTQ+, grief and loss, larger-bodied individuals, and the beauty, fashion, and entertainment industries.

Goals of The Alliance’s

Since its foundation in 2000, The Alliance has been dedicated to boosting awareness of eating disorders and providing support for all those in need. They do this through primary services:

  • Referrals
  • Support groups
  • Education

About referrals

The Alliance provides a free, therapist-staffed referral helpline, open Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm EST. The aim is to operate the helpline 7 days a week until 9:00 pm EST. 

  • The helpline is run by licensed therapists specializing in eating disorders.
  • The referrals are free, with options suitable for all levels of eating disorder treatment and care.
  • The helpline provides specialized and personalized referrals based on the appropriate level of care, insurance coverage, co-occurring diagnoses, and more.
  • The helpline also offers psychoeducation, emotional support, and guidance.

As well as the helpline, The Alliance also runs the website, which contains the largest, most-inclusive national database of eating disorders and providers. The Alliance believes that money shouldn’t be a barrier to treatment, so the website is free for providers and consumers to join. 

The website caters to all levels of treatment, is regularly updated, and has no advertisements. Find ED Help is also available as an Android and iOS app for use on the go. 

In 2022, people of all ages reached out to the helpline and the website, either looking for support for themselves or for help for a loved one. While the biggest group seeking help was aged between 18 and 30 (40%), over 10% of those reaching out were over 50, and over 30% were younger than 17. This serves to demonstrate that eating disorders don’t discriminate. Check out some other statistics gathered by The Alliance:

  • In 2022, The Alliance provided 242,271 referrals for all levels of care via the helpline and referral database.
  • receives 19,000-24,000 hits per month.
  • The referral specialists help an average of 275 unique callers a month, and this number is increasing.

About support groups

The Alliance currently runs 7 weekly and 2 monthly virtual support groups and 9 in-person support groups nationwide. All support groups are easy to join, free of charge, and are led by licensed clinicians, such as psychologists, therapists, and dietitians experienced in eating disorders. 

All support groups have unlimited attendance and are available to anyone over the age of 18 experiencing or recovering from an eating disorder. There are also support groups to support the loved ones of those living with an eating disorder.

A pre-publication study by Matthew Murry et al. demonstrates the significant impact The Alliance’s support groups have on its members. The study shows:

  • Attending an eating disorder support group more frequently is associated with lower eating disorder symptoms
  • Participating in support groups more regularly is associated with increased social support
  • Approximately one-third of support group participants reported improved eating disorder symptoms
  • Approximately two-thirds reported an improved level of internalized stigma
  • Approximately one-half reported improved social support and autonomy
  • Descriptively, participants agreed or strongly agreed with seeing positive changes in themselves since attending virtual support groups

About education

Education is a key component of The Alliance’s mission to eliminate the shame and stigma that surrounds eating disorders. Furthermore, it’s estimated that 29 million Americans will experience an eating disorder at some point, and early intervention leads to better long-term outcomes. To recognize when an intervention is needed or how to best approach someone who may require help, a basic understanding of eating disorders is needed.

The Alliance has a considerable amount of educational resources on its website, and it also offers an extensive array of educational outreach programs on all eating disorders to healthcare professionals and facilities, social service agencies, community organizations, and schools.

The Alliance’s impact

In 2022, The Alliance had a significant national and global impact, operating in all 50 states and  88 countries worldwide.

  • 20,182 attended the free, weekly therapist-led support groups
  • 40,787 attended The Alliance’s educational program
  • 3,321 hours of low-cost outpatient therapy services were provided by The Alliance, including individual, group, and family therapy

Clinical connection

How can working with The Alliance impact you as a clinician? The Alliance does a lot of the extra work so clinicians, whether working at a treatment center or in private practice, can do their jobs effectively and show up for their clients in their fullest capacity. The table below shows how The Alliance can aid you as a clinician.

Without The Alliance
With The Alliance

Connecting clients to The Alliance can help support your client’s recovery in a variety of ways, including:

  • Improving their willingness to seek help and additional treatment options
  • Boosting motivation and a sense of hope to maintain their recovery
  • Providing a sense of connection and community
  • Discussing therapeutic goals and needs in individual sessions
  • Allowing a client to use their voice and advocate for their needs
  • Offering a collaborative treatment team approach

So, if you are an eating disorder clinician, consider connecting with The Alliance today by:

  • Using them as a referral source
  • Send clients and loved ones to their support groups
  • Sign up on
  • Register for educational training days

Get help from or contact The Alliance

For immediate help when in crisis, text the “ALLIANCE” to 741741 for free, 24/7 support.