Eating Disorders Therapy & Counselling
Eating disorders are, in many cases, coping mechanisms for more deep rooted or historical problems.
The use of the word ‘disorder’ seeks to imply that there is a bio-medical cause which has never been proven and so we prefer to think of eating disorders more as a form of behaviour that has been adopted to solve some other life problem.
You can read more about the psychiatric classification Body Dysmorphic Disorder here.
People who suffer with eating disorders are frequently suffering from some sort of poor self image that is, from their point of view, managed through the way that food is consumed.
Eating disorders may also be a surrogate for taking control where the sufferer perceives having a lack of control over other aspects of their lives.
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 and wellbeing.
There are many more “variants” within the eating disorder spectrum.
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.
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 & Counselling for Anxiety
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 psychotherapy or counselling.
We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Eating Disorders and anxiety-related problems.
Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:
- How long you have had the problem.
- Your personal preferences.
- How your problem is affecting you today.
You can read more about the different types of therapy for anxiety on the following links:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders
- Self-help CBT course for Eating Disorders
- Counselling for Eating Disorders
Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.
Furthermore, research also suggests that therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.
Free Initial Consultations for Eating Disorders
We offer all prospective clients a FREE initial consultation to discuss your food-related issues prior to commencing any treatment plans.
The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.
During this consultation we will discuss the various therapy options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
Initial consultations are also available as part of our online therapy service.
Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.