Problems around food, eating, and body image are the source of such profound emotional pain and suffering. These issues usually spawn from deep emotional wounds and reflect acute feelings of shame and despair. Fears of closeness and intimacy are at the heart of the eating disorder. Ironically, however, these fears also compete with a powerful need to feel seen and understood, which creates an unforgiving and seemingly impossible double bind.
Food becomes that which is used to regulate the emotional pain, chaos, and confusion that arises from this inner conflict. Often, one’s disordered eating behavior remains a secret, one that few, if any, know of. Rituals around food, eating, and sometimes exercise often emerge – rituals that become addictive and engender profound feelings of shame. And yet, these rituals are fiercely protected as they serve as the only reliable way to feel safe and empowered in a world that feels dangerous and uncontrollable. This often creates a desperate and lonely world for the individual who struggles with an eating disorder; a world they long to be rid of, and yet cling to with all their might.
In my work with eating disorders, the therapeutic relationship is the focus of treatment and is used to explore early experiences of relatedness, core emotional wounds, and the internal dynamics that have given rise to the problematic eating behavior. Empathy, warmth, and positive regard provide the backdrop for the very challenging therapeutic work. In addition to tending to the relational origins of the eating disorder, I also use a holistic lens to understand the dynamic interplay between the mind and body. This facilities a more comprehensive understanding of the persistent nature of the eating disorder. It also helps guide the direction of treatment and the integration of body-based techniques to facilitate healing at a deeper level. And, as many healthcare professionals are often involved in the treatment of eating disorders (i.e. nutritionist, psychiatrist, medical physician), I work closely with them in a multidisciplinary approach to provide the best possible care.
It is undeniable, the complexity of disordered eating dynamics and indisputable, the amount of emotional and psychological suffering endured by those who struggle with issues around food, eating, and body image.
If you are engaged in a daily battle with an eating disorder and want help, please call me. I look forward to working with you to understand the unmet hungers that underlie your eating disorder and helping you find more nourishing ways of filling them.