My own eating disorder recovery is what brought me into the field of mental health. With hard work and the support of family, friends and professionals, I refilled my shell-of-a-person with a real person again. I learned what was fueling the disorder and how to deal with my painful thoughts and feelings in other ways. I woke up from the spell of the cultural obsession with appearance and thinness, and was angry and sad about how many women around me were still stuck in it.
When I realized that in recovery it often felt like I had a healthier relationship with my food and body than most women who had never had an eating disorder, that's when I knew I needed to shift my career so I could start helping other women* reclaim their lives, too.
So what's my approach to working with eating disorders?
It is about the food, and it's not about the food.
I work with clients to address all the layers of their disordered eating patterns: the behaviors going on with food and exercise, the emotional layer (since hey, those behaviors were probably helping you cope with anxiety and other tough feelings), and whatever underlying beliefs or traumas might be connected with it.
I get that if you could just change your behaviors and do what you know you "should," you wouldn't be coming to me for help.
I know you're sick of feeling this way, but you're also terrified about what it means to change.
While the medical complications of eating disorders are very real, the mental prison can often feel like the worst part. Obsessing when you are sick and tired of obsessing, feeling distant and even isolated from the people you care about the most, and not having the mental space or energy to think about much else. You just want it to STOP.
I know because I've been there, and while I won't say that it's easy or quick to get to the other side, I can promise you that there is another side. I can work with you on learning ways to get some space between you and the craziness of the thoughts, and how to cope with the anxiety that will come up as you're working toward challenging engrained behaviors and patterns so you can get back in the driver's seat of your life.
Teamwork makes the dreamwork
If you're already working with a dietitian, psychiatrist, or other healthcare providers, I am eager to collaborate with them so we can all be on the same page and give you the best care.
If you aren't yet working with any other providers, I can answer any questions you have about this and provide recommendations for people I know and trust to ensure you have the right kinds of support in place.
I also like to discuss with my clients whether it might be helpful to bring family members (or other close people in your support system) into session or phone calls as appropriate, to help give them the education and tools they need to be helpful without being in the role of the "food police."
Make sure to check out the Eating Disorders section on my Resources page for tons of great books, podcasts, and more.
*Of course, eating disorders are not just a "women's problem," but the majority of my clients are female. If you're a male and feel like we might be a good fit, let's talk!