ARFID Treatment for Children: Feelings and Body Investigators (FBI)

We hope you’ve been enjoying the Columbus Park ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) blog series! This third and final installment of the series will focus on Feelings and Body Investigators (FBI) as an innovative ARFID treatment modality for children ages 4-10.


Our first blog in the series focuses on defining ARFID and highlighting both its causes and the impact the condition has on those who struggle with this extreme form of “picky”/restrictive eating. In our second blog of the series, we talked about the leading treatment for ARFID called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-AR (CBT-AR) which is designed for individuals from age 10 and up. For children under age 10, we at Columbus Park use another very promising intervention called Feelings and Body Investigators (FBI).


So what is FBI?

Feeling and Body Investigators is a novel ARFID treatment designed specifically for children, ages 4-10. Developed by Nancy Zucker, Ph.D. and her colleagues and Duke Center for Eating Disorders, Feelings and Body Investigators is a playful but potent intervention that encourages children with ARFID to become curious about different sensations, feelings and flavors so they may lean in and experiment rather than avoiding things they initially may find unfamiliar or aversive. 


The focus of FBI treatment is to experience and explore with openness, developing a willingness to try and ultimately, encouraging tolerance or eventually satisfaction in things previously deemed unfamiliar or unpleasant.  


Within the structure of the FBI treatment, the therapist will create a safe, inviting, and playful atmosphere, meeting with the child and parents all together. The goal is to engage the child’s innate curiosity and enable them ultimately, to explore the world of food safely. Using fun characters like “Henry Heartbeat”, “Julie Jitters”, and “Sabrina Stuffed”, the therapist guides the family as private detectives on a mission to explore body feelings and sensations.  


In FBI, children learn that their bodies are very good at communicating needs to them so they work to get more comfortable listening to their bodies and responding appropriately. When new foods are introduced to the child, the experience is framed as a “mission” and the new food is an “experiment” or interesting new specimen to investigate. Children are supported in expanding language around their internal experience (what it feels like) and they are guided in integrating strategies to self-soothe and cope.  


Each session follows a consistent and predictable format. Through their “detective work,” participants learn something new about the body each week. The therapist uses a giant body map to record each session’s take-aways. Homework is designed to help the child generalize what they’ve learned in session into their real lives.  


How can I learn more about the ARFID treatments available at Columbus Park?

If you would like to learn more about Columbus Park’s treatment, feel free to give us a call at 646-414-1446 or submit an inquiry via our Contact Form. We’ll be sure to get back to you promptly! ARFID can be a debilitating condition for children and adults alike and we encourage you to find support.


ARFID Intervention Series at Columbus Park:

Part Two: ARFID Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ARFID (CBT-AR)


If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out to our team at to discuss treatment options.