Treatment of Eating Disorders and Body Image Concerns
Eating disorders, disordered eating, and skewed body image are becoming increasingly common problems for men and women. It is no secret that there is an incredible pressure on us all to fit into some ideal whether it mean that we should be thinner, more toned, have lighter skin, darker skin, be taller, shorter, have better abs, smaller butt, bigger butt, smaller breasts, larger breasts, defined pecks, biceps, stronger legs . . . the list goes on and on and on and can be exhausting. All these thoughts and messages we have about ourselves can lead to a profound sense of emptiness. We become convinced that we will not feel so empty if we felt more confident, and we would be more confident if we were ____ (fill in the blank). This leads to a cycle of dieting, fasting, excessive exercise, etc. all in the effort of feeling better about ourselves.
Every person in our culture has some pressure regarding the way their body "should" look and this affects people in a variety of ways. Overall, a problem with eating is likely a problem of body image which in turn affects other aspects of life. This is a problem that requires a holistic perspective of the individual's world and will often involve healing multiple relationships including the relationship with oneself, others, and food.
The most effective treatment typically involves a therapist, physician, dietician, and in some cases a personal trainer. Thus, it is likely that you may be asked to initiate treatment with these other providers and for your clinician to be able to communicate with them (which requires a signed release of information). All of this will be discussed in session and will depend on each person's circumstances. Your clinician will strive to meet you where you are at, gently challenging you while still supporting you every step of the way. Feedback to your clinician is extremely important as it helps treatment to be collaborative and increases the chances that everyone is aware of what is happening in treatment and why. Treatment will primarily be on an individual basis, however depending on client availability and interest, there is the possibility that a group could be formed at some point in the future.