Eating Disorder
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other, lesser-known forms are highly complex and difficult to treat. For this reason, finding the right counselor or treatment center can make all the difference in recovery. In practice, this means making the most of several different methodologies to design the most effective treatment program for the client's specific needs. A therapist who doesn’t specialize in eating disorders or a treatment center that doesn’t explore all avenues to recovery may not be able to provide the most effective therapy.

However, an evidence-based, empathetic treatment methodology based on experience and understanding CAN make the difference.

That's because this methodology provides a person in eating disorder treatment a safe space to talk about their life, their concerns, and how they relate to disordered behavior and thoughts. This approach is usually more holistic, which means focused on treating all aspects of a person, and complete than an isolated talk therapy program.

Full Recovery Comes From the Correct Approach

The therapeutic approach that an eating disorder counselor uses is very important. Some are more clinical, while some are more focused on group therapy and nutrition training. Having a mixture of both of those things is usually the right path, although that balance will be different for each person.It can be extremely useful when choosing an eating disorder counselor to find someone who is themselves recovered from an eating disorder – they have a greater sense of understanding and empathy regarding disordered eating behaviors. A staff that understands the journey toward being fully recovered is a staff that is going to work with the client and give them the best possible chance to comprehensively treat the disorder.

Therapist and Clients Should Be Comfortable Together

Being comfortable together is vital for effective treatment–if the client’s and therapist’s personalities clash or they cannot reach a decent working equilibrium, the progress made is going to come at a higher cost in time and effort. Although progress can still be made, diminished comfort between the client and therapist can hinder progress. The person in treatment is emotionally vulnerable, and if they don’t trust their counselor they may hold back. Lack of trust might also cause them to ignore suggested activities or fail to consider a different point of view as presented by the counselor.

On the other hand, a bond of trust between client and therapist can accelerate the treatment process and more completely address the disordered eating behaviors. When they trust each other, the pair can face the eating disorder together as a unified front. As an example, if a recovered counselor discusses eating certain kinds of food with a client who has ARFID, or even shows them how the counselor overcame a fear of the exact same food, the client will have a real-life example of how it can be overcome.

The Focus Should Always Be the Client

For any therapist or counselor focused on eating disorder recovery, focusing on their client as a whole person is what matters. If the approach is too clinical, the client might feel like they are just a bundle of symptoms to the counselor. If evidence-based, clinical approaches are ignored, the counselor might seem like just a friend to the client and not a psychiatric professional.

Additionally, the psychologist needs to put the client before themselves, before the staff, and before others in the equation. That person-centered approach is so valuable for clients, who are vulnerable and need to be heard. A person-first, therapeutic approach can help them become fully recovered, and while there are other ways to find that success, these ways are generally not as reliable in the long term.

Finding an Eating Disorder Treatment Center That Works for You

Entering residential or outpatient eating disorder treatment shouldn’t be taken lightly – it’s important to do your research. If the center doesn’t provide a balanced therapeutic approach that can balance evidence-based and holistic treatment methods, chances are you won’t receive the best treatment available there. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, including ARFID, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, or any other type of disordered eating or exercise behavior, don’t hesitate. Seek out an eating disorder counselor who can focus on the whole person; your fully recovered self will thank you for it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CARRIE HUNNICUTT



With 20 years of behavioral health business development experience, Carrie combines world-class marketing, media, public relations, outreach and business development with a deep understanding of client care and treatment. Her contributions to the world of behavioral health business development – and particularly eating disorder treatment – go beyond simple marketing; she has actively developed leaders for her organizations and for the industry at large.