Having an eating disorder is painful. Some common thoughts/behaviors are:
- I feel hopelessness, despair and shame about my behavior.
- I have a tendency to isolate even though I feel lonely.
- I obsess about my physical appearance and hate my body.
- I go back and forth between dieting and then gaining weight back.
- I have trouble expressing my anger, fear or neediness.
- I have difficulty finding positive ways to reward myself except with food.
- I can be extremely harsh and self-critical.
- I focus on taking care of others more than myself.
Do you have an eating disorder?
Eating disorders take on many forms: compulsive overeating, bingeing, bulimia (overusing laxatives or purging food), anorexia (self-starvation), or alternating between bingeing and starving. This behavior may be chronic or may happen in times of stress. The level of severity can vary too. When you have an eating disorder you focus on food and your body in a negative, unhealthy way. You may feel out of control, or totally in control, and you are being destructive to your body and yourself.
How can eating disorders therapy help me?
Many people with eating disorders have unsuccessfully tried to manage alone for many years and feel very discouraged. Asking for treatment for bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating is the beginning of recovery. Coming to therapy, admitting you need help, and facing the pain of the behavior that is out of control is a tremendous first step. With eating disorders therapy, you and your therapist work towards understanding the emotional components of your eating as well as developing healthier coping skills, behavior, and eating habits.
Assessments for a variety of factors include:
What food or emotion may trigger the destructive behavior? What can you do to cope? Is there a food plan that adds safety to my eating? Your therapist will help you evaluate and decide if you can use the help of a nutritionist in addition to therapy.
What family patterns may perpetuate my negative behavior? This could include how you were taught to feel about your body and food as a child and what kind of attitude your parents and caregivers had towards food and weight themselves. Was one or both of your parents always on a diet or dissatisfied with their weight? Did a parent or sibling take pleasure in feeding you while depriving him/herself? Remember that most girls even as young as 8 or 9 are thinking about or actually dieting. What kind of message does this give about the way girls are taught to feel about their bodies?
Is there someone in your life who is sabotaging your well-being?
How can you cope with loneliness, depression or fear?
Eating disorders therapy involves a relationship that forms over time. You can begin to feel that there is someone on your side. You can begin and continue to sort out why you feel afraid and how to handle it.
Sometimes nutrition therapy, group therapy or other kinds of support groups are part of the eating disorders recovery program. A therapist with whom you can develop a trusting relationship, can help sort out with you what best suits your particular problems and unique need. At WTS, the therapists have years of experience in the treatment for bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive eating to help women recover from the pain of eating disorders.
Please feel free to call Phyllis Klein (415) 273-1036 or Marlena Kushner (415)563-2759 for more information or to set up an appointment.