Treatment Philosophy

Recovery involves looking at food as being a relationship issue. That is, because eating disorders are diseases of feelings, treatment examines food/body as the stage upon which feelings and relationships are acted out. The way people relate to food and their bodies provides insights into feelings about themselves, primary relationships, boundary setting, ability to experience pleasure, connectedness, and take in nourishment. As with food behaviors, persons with eating disorders often feel out of control, unbalanced, and chaotic in work, relationships, and life, regardless of external accomplishments and/or appearances.

This, coupled with relentless self-scrutiny, criticism, self-sabotaging behaviors, perfectionistic attitudes, black-and-white thinking, and other cognitive distortions, often leads persons with eating disorders to have difficulty sitting with themselves, without engaging in eating- disordered behavior. After all, if you are alone in a room with someone who hates you, you are bound to want escape.

Therefore, psychotherapy is designed to be a safe, life-affirming, nonjudgmental environment where clients cultivate a sense of self-acceptance replacing harsh judgments; recognize their strengths, positive characteristics, and competencies; learn to redirect maladaptive character defenses (e.g., stubbornness into perseverance), gaining self-esteem, a feeling of usefulness, strength to surmount difficulties, humility to utilize help, and a willingness to act on faith; gradually substituting eating-disordered behaviors/thoughts with healthier alternatives.

Recovery involves learning to understand, honestly listen to, and respect one's physical and emotional hunger and nourishment needs. This begins a process of self acceptance; learning to trust and to take oneself seriously as a viable, unique person, with distinct feelings and competencies, interdependently connected with others.