Finding the Right Eating Disorder Specialist For You

Finding the right eating disorder specialist

Certain areas, like eating disorders, addictions, and trauma, are true specialties. You should feel comfortable asking questions about someone’s experience in a certain area – this is your treatment!

Almost nothing upsets me more than hearing someone resist getting the therapy they need because they have had unhelpful, or worse yet, damaging eating disorder treatment in the past. It takes so much courage to reach out for help that you want it to be worth the risk, right? So, how do you know that the eating disorder specialist you are seeking treatment with is likely to be a good fit? Although there are no guarantees, the following points are worth considering when you looking for a treatment provider or team:

1) It might seem obvious, but do they specialize in the treatment of eating disorders? Eating disorders pose unique challenges and demand a unique set of skills and knowledge. If you encounter someone who states that they specialize in eating disorders but they also specialize in everything else, ask about their specialty further. Most therapists are trained as “generalists” and therefore have the resources to help you recover from many common mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and life transitions. Certain areas, like eating disorders, addictions, and trauma, are true specialties. You should feel comfortable asking questions about someone’s experience in a certain area – this is your treatment!

2) Can the eating disorder specialist describe their approach in a deep, yet understandable way? Good therapists are able to boil down their “theoretical orientation” or treatment approach into terms that not only make sense to you, but fit the issue(s) for which you are seeking treatment. If the therapist seems overly general, inquire further, or move on in your search.

3) Is the therapist up-to-date on current research? Psychological science is constantly changing and therefore, so is our understanding of the development, maintenance, and effects of eating disorders. Your eating disorder specialist should know where the research currently stands on the role of families, biology, and other factors in eating disorder recovery. For instance, we now know that family is often a huge asset to treatment, whereas historically parents of minors were encouraged to stay out of their child’s treatment. Getting to know the research yourself will enable you to identify when a therapist is up-to-date.

4) Is the therapist a good match for your style? This is a consideration for anyone seeking a therapist, not just an eating disorder specialist. The relationship between therapist and client is central to the effectiveness of treatment. Finding a therapist that you find to be sincere, trustworthy, credible, non-judgmental, and a good personality match creates the perfect situation for growth and recovery.

Although it might be frustrating to meet with a few different therapists or take the risk to start treatment again after a negative experience, finding the right fit therapeutically is key to regaining your health -time well spent!

For detailed information on our training, specialities, and treatment methods, visit our website at www.clearhorizonsaz.com.

5 Signs That Your Relationship with Food is Out of Balance

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It is estimated that a mere 10% of people with eating disorders seek treatment – at least in part a commentary on what we label “disordered eating” and what we think is “normal” eating these days. Although most people will never reach full criteria for an eating disorder, not having a diagnosable disorder does not necessarily mean that our relationship with food is healthy. Wondering if your relationship with food could use some work? Ask yourself how many of these common signs apply to you:

1. Guilt after eating

Guilt is an emotion meant to be reserved for immoral behavior and yet many of us have learned to judge not only our eating behavior but often our character based on what we eat. Eating (whatever it is or however much) is not an issue of morality. It is a matter of meeting physical, and sometimes emotional, needs. If we are meeting emotional needs with food, it is simply a sign that we need to take better care of ourselves, NOT a cue for self-judgment.

2. Food on the brain

Find yourself thinking about food a lot? As in, planning what you can have, should have, shouldn’t have, or wish you hadn’t had? Spending a lot of energy planning your food intake or compensating for your food intake is a sure-fire sign that food issues are taking up too much space in your life. Most of the time we only need to think about what we are going to eat in the moments before and during our eating experiences, as in “Am I Hungry?,” “What Am I Hungry For?, or “Yum!”. How often do you trust your body to make food choices for you in the moment? This leads us to #3…

3. Ignoring hunger signals

How often do you find yourself delaying eating because you don’t feel that you should be hungry again yet? Or, it’s not convenient to eat? Or, because you are trying to control your food intake? Not only does ignoring hunger indicate that you don’t trust your body, it teaches your body that it can’t trust you and slows metabolism to prepare for what it believes may be impending famine.

4. Ignoring fullness signals

There are so many reasons that we eat past fullness that I will save those for another post! The bottom line is that eating past fullness is only occasionally about the food itself being so absolutely amazing that we can’t pass it up. If you find yourself consistently ignoring these signals, there is more to the story.

5. Food rules the day

Does your mood, enjoyment of events, or the whole tone of your day depend on how things went at breakfast (or what the scale said)? Any one factor in our life setting the tone for the whole thing suggests that we are out of balance.

Life has too much to offer to spend it fixated on food or totally ignoring our body’s needs. A healthy relationship with food is governed by trusting your body’s cues and having compassion for yourself when it becomes tempting to use food to solve other issues. If you regularly experience any of these signs, it might be time to take a closer look at your relationship with food!