Eating Disorders are very complex and often misunderstood by the general population and even by those suffering from them. Eating disorders are about the food, the weight, the calories, the exercise….and more. Although it may not seem like it, eating disorders can be about finding a way to not feel. They are often about how to deal or not deal with an overwhelming amount and variety of conflicting feelings….and more. Complicating matters is the need to navigate a combination of psychological, behavioral, physiological, social and familial experiences. Often eating disorders are accompanied by other factors including trauma history, relationship dynamics, depression, anxiety, or alcoholism to name a few.
Another component of Eating Disorders is how we are impacted by the values of our current culture, the focus of the media and the overwhelming influence of social media. We are exposed to an extraordinary number of apps, advertisements, TV shows and movies that present unrealistic physical ideals for women and men. Very often society defines our worth and identity as measured by the sum of “acceptable” body parts. In addition, we live in one of the most academic and intellectually competitive corridors of the country. I will help you sort through these influences to develop an understanding of their contribution to your unique situation.
I have more then twenty six years of experience with eating disorders spanning inpatient, outpatient and partial hospital program settings, as well as currently in private practice. I work with adults, adolescents and pre-teens of both genders struggling with all types of eating disorders, including:
- Athletes and Eating Disorders
- Binge Eating Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Bulimia (purging)
- Compulsive Exercise
- Disordered Eating
I understand being caught between wanting a “normal” life and being terrified of giving up the eating disorder. The shame and embarrassment that often accompanies an eating disorder can prevent those who need treatment from seeking it. Even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, you are in charge of your body and your life. Regardless of treatment, you still have the choice. While I can help you understand the role the eating disorder plays in your life, I cannot take your it away from you, nor will I force you to give it up, or leave you with the gaping hole that it once filled. Lastly, I promise to include you in treatment decisions and explain the perspectives of other professionals (if involved), to every degree possible.
For those of you who know someone with an eating disorder: parents, spouses, friends, family members, this can be a very difficult time. I will help you to understand the illness in general. Together we will identify specific strategies for you to use in approaching the illness and its many components. There are a number of ways to help, but most often they are specific to each situation. I will guide you through the process, including:
- Helping you understand your role in the treatment process
- Providing regular treatment progress updates while maintaining confidentiality
- Helping with all types of treatment decisions
- Clarifying treatment goals and expectations
- Helping sort through the “language” of the variety of professionals on the treatment team
I work with males and females of all ages in a team approach (as needed) including physicians, psychiatrists, and nutritionists. Unlike treatment centers with a limited choice of professionals under one roof, I collaborate with a variety of highly qualified professionals in the community. This offers much more flexibility in finding the most optimum “match” or “fit” between client and care provider.
I use a combination of approaches in my work depending on your needs. These include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Brain Based Therapies
- Body Awareness
- Insight Oriented (Psychodynamic) Psychotherapy
- Family System Therapy
- Stress Reduction Techniques
Both those suffering with an eating disorder and their loved ones have mixed and conflicting responses to improvement. Family and friends may feel relief that the scary physical components have quieted but also fear that the old patterns will return. Those in recovery may fear letting go of it for a variety of reasons. Often in recovery, two steps forward are followed by one step back and panic sets in. I can help with this challenging transition, when new behaviors and new ways of relating to the world can feel unfamiliar and tenuous.