Eating Disorders Counselling Wolverhampton
Psychological Therapy for Eating Disorders and Poor Relationships with Food
People who suffer with eating disorders are usually suffering from some sort of poor self image that is, from their point of view, managed through the way that food is consumed.
A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health.
Because the sufferer has a badly distorted sense of self they tend to attribute this distortion to the food that they eat, or use food as an internal way of expressing this “problem”, so they either believe that they eat too much (and might believe that they are “fat” or “greedy”) or they may feel somehow compelled to “binge” and the perhaps “purge”.
There are many more “variants” within the eating disorder spectrum.
More recently there has been much press about the degree of obesity in our modern societies and the latest figures suggest that obesity now affects MORE than 50% of the population of the UK.
What are the different forms of eating disorders?
Eating disorders come in several different “forms” and can have various different affects including psychological, physical, emotional and social issues.
Is an eating disorder characterised by attempts to control weight by “stuffing” or “bingeing” on food followed by a second phase of “purging”, deliberately making oneself sick in order to counteract the overeating.
A very common feature is that this binge-purge cycle is usually kept very secret and sufferers feel very guilty about what they do.
Is a condition where people continue to eat food even when feeling full.
Most compulsive eaters are very overweight and use food as a way to alleviate or relieve “emotional” problems such as depression, stress or anxiety.
The principle characteristic of this serious problem is that the sufferer continues to believe that they are “fat” or “overweight” even when they are terribly underweight.
This “cognitive distortion” leads to behaviour where only tiny amounts of food are eaten with the body suffering very obvious malnutrition.
What causes eating disorders?
In the current climate there is a lot of blame being levelled at the media, particularly “glamour” magazines and “lifestyle” publications that are said to project totally unrealistic images of “thin” and “beautiful” people that young people aspire to be.
This pressure to “fit-in” is said to create enormous pressure on young minds leading to unrealistic expectations of what one must look like to be “accepted.”
Whilst elements of this view may be true, there are usually more complex psychological issues involved.
A number of these psychological issues that can contribute to the development of eating disorders include:
- A family history of eating disorders
- Being exposed to harsh criticism about weight or shape
- Working in an environment in which there is pressure to be “slim”
- Personality traits that might make you more susceptible to eating disorders
- A history of Depression
- Sexual or Emotional Trauma
- Abusive relationships
- High levels of stress at work, home or School
Are eating disorders common?
Bulimia is around five times more prevalent than Anorexia and almost exclusively affects females (although we have helped a number of men here at the clinic).
Bulimia tends to present itself around the ages of 17-19 years of age.
Compulsive Eating affects men and women in equal proportions and tends to become a problem later on in life with most of our clients presenting in the early to mid thirties
Although Anorexia tends to make for very traumatic headlines, it is less common than people may think with estimated figures showing less than 0.5% of women will suffer and ten times less men (0.05%).
Anorexia tends to present around 15-18 years of age.
Therapy for Eating Disorders
Eating disorders, when left untreated, have the ability to seriously impact on a person’s life. In the most extreme cases an eating disorder can be fatal. Fortunately this is quite rare but people of a certain ‘vintage’ will remember the tragic story of Karen Carpenter, the american singer, who developed anorexia nervosa and eventually dies of her condition.
If your health has already been seriously affected by an eating disorder it is important that you speak with your GP before deciding to embark on any kind of therapy or counselling.
Because most eating disorders are connected with deeper psychological problems that are often kept secret or buried away in the mind, treatment and recovery can often be a protracted experience.
We offer a range of Brief Directive Psychotherapy and Psychodynamic Therapy to treat Eating Disorders here at our clinic in Wombourne, Wolverhampton.
In general, Eating Disorders respond well to Directive Therapy – (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & the Thrive Programme) – as well as Psychodynamic Therapy – (Psychoanalysis) – so when it comes to deciding the best choice of therapy for your problem, your own personal history will play a central role in helping you to decide.
As a guide, if you have suffered from Eating Disorders for a significant number of years then you might be best advised to undertake a course of Psychoanalytic therapy.
If, on the other hand, your Eating Disorders are more recent and on the whole you have been free from the symptoms for extended periods of your life, then you might benefit more from one of the briefer, “directive” type interventions such as CBT or Thrive.
Learn How to Thrive & Overcome Eating Disorders
If you want to learn the tools, techniques and coping skills to overcome eating disorders then you should consider following the Thrive Programme with Paul here at Tranceform Psychology.
Thrive is an evidence-based training programme that uses applied psychology and CBT principles to help you understand and then change any unhelpful thinking styles and limiting beliefs that have an adverse impact on your symptoms.
Over the course of ten one-hourly sessions you will learn about and develop personal insight into how your core beliefs have either helped or hindered you over your life course and then how to use a range of proven scientific methods to bring about changes which directly impact on your experience and the way that you feel.
Watch the Thrive Video
FREE Initial Consultations
We offer all prospective clients a FREE initial assessment to chat about your Eating Disorders. During this 50 minute consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
At TranceForm we believe that therapy & coaching should be a collaboration between therapist and client so it’s very important to be able to meet PRIOR to agreeing any kind of help. Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking therapy with us, including both the financial and personal implications.
Page Author - Paul Lee BSc. Honours
Current Page: Eating Disorders Counselling
This page was authored by Paul Lee Bachelor of Science (honours) Psychology and Social Psychology. All content is cross-edited by Dr. Justina Somal PhD (British Psychological Society) for accuracy and operational validity.