"In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety".
Eating Disorder Recovery
Eating Disorders - My Approach
My approach when working with eating disorders is always to address the underlying causes of the behaviour in order to heal the whole person. Not all individuals who suffer with an eating disorder have a history of complex trauma, however, many do.
Trauma has multiple causes and manifests in our lives in different ways. So it stands to reason that there is a range of ways in which we distract ourselves from our pain. One approach is to focus on our relationship with food, weight and how our bodies are received by the world. Difficult relationships with food are relatively common and fall on a spectrum, incorporating behaviours like restriction, bingeing, overeating and purging.
When this difficult relationship becomes an obsessive preoccupation, it’s likely that an eating disorder has taken hold. As with all coping strategies, eating disorders arise as a way of managing distress with many sufferers reporting that their eating disorder gives them a sense of control, helps them to detach from their pain and offers a way of self soothing that helps regulate emotions. However this often presents alongside feelings of depression and anxiety.
An important component of treating eating disorders is diagnostic categories and how to distinguish between different variants, such as anorexia and binge eating, as well as the pitfalls of some diagnostic processes and how they can prevent the ability to examine cases individually and be free from standardisation. Adopting a multidimensional model of working with the complexity of eating disorders is critical for promoting flexibility and adaptability to individual client differences.
Using the neuroscience underpinning anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, my work with clients deconstructs self destructive patterns that perpetuate eating disorder symptoms. Often, the roots of emotional problems go deeper than normal awareness can reach, and my role is to enable you to identify, and focus on, some of the destructive ways of relating to yourself and others that might leave you feeling depressed, anxious or alone. Together, we will create a safe and nurturing environment, which will help you to explore the different aspects of yourself.
Psychological therapy for anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders must understand and treat the underlying causes of the behaviour. An individualised approach is an essential part of recovery, understanding how our thoughts and beliefs influence our current behaviour is critical. In any person, the subconscious can hold truths about how we think and feel that impact the daily lives of people struggling with eating disorders. To quote Jean Petrucelli " An eating disorder symptom is not something to simply git rid of, but rather something to profoundly understand as it holds dissociated parts of oneself and one's relational history. It reflects aspects of one's history that cannot be tolerated as part of the self."
My current and future research interests centre on the links between genetics, neurobiology and trauma, and ways in which these factors can impact eating disorder behaviours. Trauma and eating disorder recovery work requires deep, long-term, at least weekly therapy with an experienced therapist who can use the therapeutic relationship to support in healing the underlying attachment and relational difficulties.
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”
Carl Gustav Jung
As an Eating Disorder, Addiction and Trauma specialist I am able to create a treatment plan designed and personalised for each individual. Providing clients with a fully integrated approach to healing and recovery.