Intensive EMDR therapy for deep healing
Therapy for Eating Disorders
Food and Weight at Center Stage
For someone suffering from an eating disorder or with symptoms of disordered eating, food and weight become a primary focus. This focus can dominate our thinking and behavior, causing us to feel worthless, out of control, or like we never get it right. In this context, we often enter a cycle of striving for impossible ideals and thus feel terrible when they are not attained.
But eating disorders are not really about food and weight. Food and the focus on weight and body image can become coping mechanisms to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions or to help us feel more in control when feelings or situations seem over-whelming.
Eating Disorder Symptoms
> Depression, shame, or guilt about food or weight
> Adopting an overly restrictive diet
> Excessive focus on healthy eating
> Withdrawing from social activities
> Persistent worry about weight
> Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
> Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
> Binging and/or purging
> Skewed view of weight and body image
> Eating in secret
Eating Disorders within a Trauma Context
As a women's trauma specialist, over time I have learned that for some clients, there are indeed specific traumas or painful events at the root of disordered eating; in this example, disordered eating becomes a way to cope with the painful emotions that result from the traumatic event. In order to address the eating disorder, it is vital also to utilize a trauma-informed approach to transform and heal from the traumatic event at its root.
In other cases, eating disorders can arise out of a deep unmet need or void in one's life. These needs are so painful that the eating disorder behavior is again used to cope with and prevent the exposure to painful emotions. This pain is so fundamental, often kept a secret, and usually involves self-blame, guilt, and shame -- these unmet needs and emotions are often experienced in a traumatic way, at least with regard to their intensity. With these strategies, we treat anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, binge eating, sub-clinical issues with disordered eating, along with issues of body image and body dysmorphia.
How therapy can help
The goal of therapy for an eating disorder is to help you get back in touch with what you need in order to feel healthy, nourished, and fulfilled. Therapy from a trauma-informed approach will help you get to the root cause of the disordered eating behavior; this new found awareness often jumpstarts the behavior change and can begin to help alleviate symptoms. You will also identify new coping skills that will help you change eating disordered thoughts and behaviors in the present moment, helping to reduce symptoms and increase fulfillment as you work to restore the necessary balance in your life.
My practice is offering EMDR intensive therapy exclusively, which is an excellent way to effectively and efficiently resolve the underlying issues associated with an eating disorder. For many clients wishing to work on the root cause of eating disorder behavior, an ongoing primary therapist is often going to be necessary. You can read more about EMDR intensive therapy here.
If you'd like to discuss your individual situation and whether you would be a good fit for an EMDR intensive, please reach out via phone or the contact form here for a complimentary 15 minute consult.
The perfect is the enemy of the good.