A SCHOOLBOY has beaten his phobia of food after 12 years of eating only mashed potatoes.
Parents Kate and David Murphy were left stumped when son Woody stopped trying new foods at 18 months.
The youngster suffered with extreme anxiety and nausea when offered anything other than mash.
But keen footballer Woody, now 14, has had hypnosis therapy and can now eat an array of dishes — from chicken korma and beef burgers to fruit and vegetables.
Pub manager Kate, 44, said: “We had no idea what to do. He was terrified of any other food.
“After a few years, we stopped trying to introduce new food as he was anxious and would have panic attacks. It was heartbreaking.
“He was assessed by a doctor and everything came back fine as he would eat carrots on occasions and also drank plenty of milk.”
Woody, from Birmingham, was referred to a children’s mental health team but Kate said the sessions never helped.
At a loss for an answer, she contacted London-based therapist and hypnotist David Kilmurry, who identified Woody as having avoidant restrictive food intake disorder.
She added: “David told us Woody had a phobia of food. It totally made sense as he’s spent practically all of his life eating mash.
“David made Woody feel at ease. He encouraged him to eat new things by stating how a goalkeeper needs energy to play to their best.
“By the end of the two-hour session, Woody had tried blueberries, spinach, kiwi fruit, cucumber and mango. I was amazed.”
Woody has had another session and now tries four new foods per day.
Mr Kilmurry said: “Mothers always try to take responsibility for their children’s food, but with ARFID it is like trying to get an arachnophobe to hold a spider.
“I am very proud of my work with Woody.”