Treatment for Eating Disorders
The techniques and strategies described here will be helpful across the spectrum for different types of disordered eating. However in regards to diagnosed eating disorders, I only provide treatment for people experiencing Binge Eating Disorder. For information or referral to a counselling service for other conditions, such as Anorexia Nervosa, or Bulimia Nervosa, please contact your medical practictioner or The Butterfly Foundation.
Disordered Eating or Eating Disorder?
Normal eating is the ingestion of foods that form a mixed and balanced diet, and adequate nutrients to maintain health and wellbeing. It also involves a positive attitude about food; there is no labelling of foods as “good” or “bad,” “slimming” or “fattening”, which can lead to feelings of guilt and/or anxiety.
Disordered eating describes the full spectrum of eating related issues, from simple dieting to a clinical eating disorder. Disordered eating behaviours refer to problematic behaviors such as purging, bingeing, food restriction, and other dysfunctional methods to lose or control weight, which are less frequent or severe than the criteria for diagnosis of an eating disorder.
At the higher end of the spectrum are eating disorders, which are psychiatric illnesses involving the practice of weight control methods that are significantly detrimental to health. They involve disordered eating behaviours, disordered food intake, and disordered attitudes towards food and body image.
You may be experiencing
difficulties with body image and
maintaining a healthy relationship
with food, without meeting the
criteria of a diagnosed eating disorder.
If you are not sure whether you have
an eating disorder, you should contact
your medical practitioner
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is characterised by frequently eating excessive amounts of food, often when not hungry. This is not the same as occasionally overeating, as it is a recurrent and more serious condition. Feelings of guilt, disgust and depression often follow a bingeing episode. This behaviour and the resulting emotional distress create a distraction that results in avoiding the real root of problems.
Binge eating disorder has some similarities with bulimia nervosa, however binge eating disorder is characterised by an absence of purging after binges. A person experiencing this disorder will go through cycles of fasting and dieting, followed by binges characterised by feelings of compulsion or lack of control.
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
Bingeing is triggered by both physiological factors, such as hunger, and emotional factors, such as stress, depression or anxiety. Often compounding these issues is the influence of environmental factors, such as family, culture, relationships, and social norms and values.
Effective treatment for Binge Eating Disorder needs to target both the physiological and the emotional triggers as well as the underlying causes. I have had training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Focal Psychodynamic Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy, which are all recognised as being effective treatments.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Recognise unhelpful or negative thinking, and patterns of behaviour.
Develop skills to challenge and change unhealthy patterns.
Learn strategies for coping with triggers.
Improve life skills, e.g. communication, problem-solving.
Focal Psychodynamic Therapy:
Address the way negative experiences and associations affect the way you process emotions.
Gain insight into how patterns of relationship affect your habits.
Explore how your eating habits are related to your thoughts, beliefs and self-esteem.
Identify feelings you have about yourself and other people in your life, and how these influence your eating behaviour.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT):
Explore how interpersonal difficulties influence the development and maintenance of the eating disorder.
Identify changes for improving relationships.
Support to take the lead in making change in the interpersonal realm.
Maintain interpersonal gains and relapse prevention.
It is important to find the best counsellor for your needs. I have 20+ years experience as a counsellor, and have completed specialised training in treating people with disordered eating. To discuss further whether I am the right counsellor for your needs, please contact me, or book an appointment.