Eating Disorders

Making the commitment to seek therapy for an eating disorder is an act of courage. It can take years to make that first call and sometimes just the thought of discussing your experience can seem overwhelming. Feelings of intense shame are common. In my work with clients struggling with eating disorders, creating an emotionally safe counselling environment is my first priority. Counselling progresses at a pace that is comfortable for you.

In my downtown Vancouver counselling office, I meet with clients struggling with:

I occasionally work with clients with anorexia, providing they are also under medical care for their eating disorder. Most of my practice is focused on working with adults.

Why seek help for disordered eating?

Many people turn to counselling when they feel that their life has been hijacked by obsessional thoughts about food, body size or feelings of profound worthlessness. These thoughts interfere with people’s ability to live their lives normally, and can range from “get me off of this emotional roller coaster” to “I want to die.” Yet, if there is the desire for emotional peace and an end to emotional pain, there is hope. This is what motivates recovery.

What can therapy do to help?

Counselling is an important pillar of recovery, helping to:

  • Understand the thoughts and feelings which fuel disordered eating
  • Trace unhealthy patterns of behaviour and how to free yourself from them
  • Create customized, practical coping strategies which speak to your experience and situation
  • Develop healthy goals and a plan for getting there
  • Transform how you feel about yourself
  • Restore hope. Change is always possible!

What counselling methods help?

There are a number of psychological approaches to treating disordered eating. In my practice, I primarily utilize: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and elements of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). As with any issue I help with, I always look for client’s strengths and seek to mobilize them in the face of adversity. While always listening deeply to clients’ emotional pain, also asking “What’s right with you?” is a question that should not be neglected!

Eating Disorders Treatment

Counselling is not a substitute for comprehensive eating disorders treatment. Rather, it is one key piece of the puzzle. Recovery is accelerated with a multidisciplinary team in your corner. For this reason, I always recommend that clients be under a physician’s care (or to find one if you don’t have one) and that people be assessed by a registered dietician (RD) with experience in eating disorders.

If you are ready to change and want to take a step forward, I welcome you to contact me today. I look forward to meeting you or addressing any questions you may have.

Recommended Books

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by E. Tribole & E. Resch (2012)

From the authors that coined the term intuitive eating, and then went on to write about it in this book, introduces the reader to intuitive eating and how to make it real.

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Lindo Bacon (2010)

Science-based expose on the fraudulence of the diet industry and the myth that ‘thin’ and ‘healthy’ are synonymous. Practical tools to eat intuitively and find joy again in moving one’s body. This book has also spawned a community of practitioners committed to using this approach with their clients https://haescommunity.com/search/ .

If Not Dieting, Then What? By Rick Kaufman (2005)

Sensible discussion of the practice of person-centred intuitive eating. Realistic, not idealistic take on eating mindfully.

Resources

Nurses Line – Health Link BC

Call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse 24/7. Other professionals available through this line include after-hours pharmacists, exercise professionals and dieticians

Wellness Together Canada

Canada-wide, 24/7 professional phone counselling and other support options.

Health at Every Size (HAES) Registry

Find a health practitioner that is committed to practicing a body-inclusive, HAES philosophy in their work with you.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Web-based learning of DBT skills. Particularly useful for those without access to individualized programming, or to supplement an existing group DBT program.

Crisis Services and Hotlines in Vancouver

One-page sheet, updated quarterly.

Mind Shift CBT

App developed by the folks at Anxiety Canada to help manage anxiety symptoms and promote relaxation.

Looking Glass Foundation For Eating Disorders

BC-based organization offering prevention initiatives and intervention programs for those suffering from eating disorders and their families.

Reduced-Cost Counselling [PDF]

A resource list of lower-cost professional counselling options in Vancouver. Corrections and suggestions welcome.

Find A Dietitian

National database for help in locating a registered dietician in your area.

National Eating Disorder Information Centre

Provides extensive information on eating disorders and food/weight preoccupation. Offers a telephone helpline: 1-866-633-4220

Mood Gym

Online self-help program for depression and anxiety, using cognitive behavioural principles (CBT).