Therapy for Eating Disorders
Supporting Positive Change & Healthy Eating Choices in West Hartford, CT
Eating disorders are often thought about as focusing on what a person does or doesn’t eat. While a disordered relationship with food consumption is a common factor associated with eating disorders, they are actually much more complex conditions, involving disordered beliefs, emotions, thinking, and behaviors related to eating, weight, and body shape. If you or a loved one struggle with food, weight, or body image, therapy may be an essential part of the healing and recovery process. On this page, you can learn a bit more about eating disorders and how therapy can help.
Types of Eating Disorders
There are many types of eating disorders, and each person’s relationship with food, weight, and their body is extremely complex. In many cases, the different types of eating disorders are cooccurring or experienced by individuals at different points in their lives. In most cases, the types of eating disorders are characterized by specific symptoms. Most eating disorders will include some form of food restriction like limiting calories or not eating at all, binge eating, and purging, which may include excessive exercise or vomiting.
Our therapists work alongside individuals who are struggling with disordered eating of all kinds, but we frequently provide therapy for clients who are working toward recovery from anorexia nervosa and binging/purging disorders. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an individual’s belief (often false) that they are overweight. This leads them to only eat certain types of food, restrict calories, and over exercise. In most cases, people with this type of eating disorder are constantly worried about losing weight, and their self-esteem is often tied to their body weight.
Binging/purging disorder (sometimes referred to as bulimia nervosa) is an eating disorder that involves consuming large quantities of food followed by some form of purging. During a food binge, individuals struggling with this eating disorder feel they can’t control what they’re consuming. Following the binge, individuals engage in a purging behavior to make up for the calories they consumed. Many people believe purging just means vomiting after eating, but
other purging behaviors include avoiding food for days after a binge, using diuretics, and exercising excessively.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Eating Disorders
Our therapists utilize dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to support individuals who are working toward recovery from eating disorders. DBT is an evidence-based therapy approach that helps individuals to manage difficult or confronting thoughts and emotions while developing new skills and strategies to change behaviors. For individuals with eating disorders, this involves identifying the beliefs and emotions tied to their disordered eating. Then, utilizing DBT skills to change their eating habits. Specifically, we may rely on Radically Open DBT (RO DBT). This form of DBT recognizes the need for flexibility and openness in order to transform the overcontrolling tendencies of individuals who struggle with disordered eating. RO DBT focuses on helping people overcome hyper-detailed thinking, rigid behaviors, self-isolating, envy, bitterness, and inhibited emotional response. These factors may not seem like they are connected to eating disorders, but actually, much disordered eating is deeply rooted in these over-controlled ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.
At some stages of recovery from eating disorders, more intensive care is necessary for the safety of our client. During your initial intake session, we will talk to you about your current symptoms and help you determine whether or not an in-depth treatment option is more appropriate. We may also recommend working with a therapist as part of a team approach that could include medical doctors, nutritionists, and other professionals who can ensure you are safe and healthy throughout the process.
What Do I Do Next?
If you’re ready to begin making progress toward a healthier relationship with food, the therapists at the Harmony Center for Change are here to support your goals. We can help you throughout the recovery process. We know it can be a big step to start making changes and begin therapy, but we do our utmost to make it easy to get started working with our team. Simply reach out to us using our online form or give our practice a call. We look forward to
hearing from you.