what is the recognized protocol for personal trainers when it comes to managing suspected body and eating disorder clientele?
I am doctoral student conducting PhD dissertation in muscle dysmorphia and personal trainer awareness. I would like to know if anyone can proffer an evidence-based source (Like the DSM for mental health professionals) that indicates what professional trainers are expected to do in the event of suspected disordered behavior?
there is none that I know of. Most personal trainer manuals mention eating disorders at some length, but I have not seen reference to muscle dysmorphia. I have probably seen a few people who would fit that profile, and I suspect that the bodybuilding community would harbor quite a few of them but the line between pride in one's body appearance to vanity to obsession is a very fluent one.
Eating disorders are discussed at greater length but the general recommendation is to refer to a health care professional. The reality is a lot more difficult because - from my observation - people with eating disorder have a tendency of isolating themselves and are not likely to look for a personal trainer. I have addressed this issue once to health club management about a member but the response was a shrugging of the shoulders. Not that they did not care but because of helplessness as to what to do about it. The lady in question was in her fifties.
Even among instructors, this can be a problem. We have examples in the industry of very prominent celebrities (Jane Fonda comes to mind) who battle the problem. I know of instructors who obsessively exercised themselves into injury, and I have never seen any action resulting from those observations.
Take care, good luck.
I also agree with Karin and Daniel and both have posted some great points.