Eating disorders are complex and influenced by a number of different factors. They can happen to anyone in any body and you cannot tell someone’s health or behaviors by the size of their body. Biological factors can include irregularities in hormones, genetics and nutritional deficiencies. Psychological factors include poor self-esteem or self-worth, as well as poor body image. Environmental factors can include an unhealthy family dynamic, peer pressure, social pressures or trauma, like physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
There is no one thing that influences the development of an eating disorder, which is why at West Hartford Holistic Counseling we take a holistic, mind-body approach to your overall wellness. By tailoring your counseling experience to focus on your unique needs, your counselor can help you reframe your thinking and change your perspective. You will have the opportunity to address your concerns about body image and food, while learning to nurture your relationship with yourself.
As you build a connection with your counselor, you will have an opportunity to reaffirm your value, and establish an acceptance of who you are as a person who deserves to be both happy and healthy. Our environments have an impact on us as well and family educational therapy is helpful in the treatment of eating disorders. This will be offered to you and your family to assist in the process and provide you with the best support system possible.
In a safe, non-judgmental setting, you and your counselor will explore how expectations and perceptions can impact your self-acceptance. You will learn strategies to help you better manage negative self-talk, creating a positive shift in those expectations and perceptions. Through a program of body-focused psychotherapy, you will have the opportunity to reframe your thinking around body image and self-acceptance. You will also explore approaches to self-care that support and strengthen your mind-body connection.
If you are struggling with irregular eating patterns, cycles of overeating, restrictive eating, or find yourself on a new diet all the time, you may be struggling with an eating disorder. If you are finding yourself overly concerned with the way your body looks or how much you weigh, this may also be impacting your eating habits, compensatory behaviors (such as purging, overexercise, etc.) and your self-esteem.
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Eating Disorder Recovery After Care
Eating disorders can be very disruptive to your health, as well as your life. Sometimes, you may need support beyond counseling to address your issues, stay focused on your recovery and get your back on track. This might include a stay at a dedicated facility or even hospitalization.
When you return from that higher level of care such an inpatient, PHP, IOP or residential treatment center, you will likely need ongoing support to continue addressing the issues you’ve learned to recognize and better manage through that experience. The counselors at West Hartford Holistic Counseling can support your progress and continue the work you started. Our counselor’s holistic approach to wellness provides a complement to your previous inpatient treatment, addressing all of your concerns—mind, body and spirit—in a progressive and productive way.
Many clients have questions about what to expect from counseling and how the counselors at West Hartford Holistic Counseling can help you on your journey to wellness.
Is Outpatient Care Right For Me?
The level of care that is best for you will be determined after your initial visit. Your counselor can help guide you towards the best next step. Depending on your diagnosis, type of eating disorder, and/or where you are at in your recovery journey, your counselor at West Hartford Holistic Counseling may require you to have a care team in addition to counseling that also includes a Primary Care Physician and a Registered Dietitian. Since eating disorders can be more complex and impactful both physically and psychologically, this means that sometimes their treatment requires higher levels of care including intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization treatment or hospitalization. If you have recently returned from a program like those above, outpatient care may be great to help you continue on your journey to recovery with support. Your counselor will complete a thorough initial assessment with you to determine the best next step.
What kinds of eating disorders do you treat?
There are several different types of eating disorder diagnoses and we provide treatment for all of them at the outpatient level of care here at WHHC. Those diagnoses include the following:
Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by restriction of food intake leading to low body weight, typically accompanied by intense fear of gaining weight and disturbed perception of body weight and image. People with anorexia can also engage in binge/purge behaviors.
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating. Purging may also be done through exercise or other compensatory activities. Purging is very dangerous and puts people more medically at risk. People with bulimia also have persistent and excessive concern with body weight. People in any body size can have bulimia.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is the common eating disorder in the United States. It is characterized by frequently consuming large amounts of food in one sitting, often to the point of discomfort, and feeling out of control during the binge then experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards. This does not mean that people who have binge eating disorder never restrict, often times the drive to binge is triggered by restrictive behaviors; it does mean however that the predominant behavior is binge eating. People of any body size can struggle with binge eating.
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, also known as ARFID, is a newer eating disorder diagnosis. ARFID involves limitations in the amount and/or types of foods consumed that impacts those with ARFID to not consume enough food. ARFID is different from anorexia in that it does not involve any distress about body shape, weight or size. People with ARFID present more as the extreme picky eaters and struggle with various food textures, flavors, and other sensory issues around food. Trauma around food (such as fears of choking, vomiting, etc) can also contribute to ARFID and make eating very difficult.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)
Other Specified Feeding of Eating Disorder has been long considered a “catch-all” classification for eating disorders that don’t fit in the box of the other defined eating disorder diagnoses. This category was developed to encompass those who are struggling with significant eating disorders that do not meet the strict diagnostic criteria for anorexia or bulimia. The OSFED diagnosis allows clients to access care from mental health professionals even if they do not fit inside the box of other eating disorder diagnoses. In many clinics, the majority of individuals were historically diagnosed with this classification of eating disorder. Some samples of what this diagnosis may look like may include the following:
- Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: All criteria are met, except despite significant weight loss, the individual’s weight is within or above the normal range.
- Binge Eating Disorder (of low frequency and/or limited duration): All of the criteria for BED are met, except at a lower frequency and/or for less than three months.
- Bulimia Nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration): All of the criteria for bulimia nervosa are met, except that the binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behavior occurs at a lower frequency and/or for less than three months.
- Purging Disorder: Recurrent purging behavior to influence weight or shape in the absence of binge eating.
- Night Eating Syndrome: Recurrent episodes of night eating. Eating after awakening from sleep, or by excessive food consumption after the evening meal. The behavior is not better explained by environmental influences or social norms. The behavior causes significant distress/impairment. The behavior is not better explained by another mental health disorder (e.g. BED).
While not formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, awareness of orthorexia has been on the rise in the last twenty years or so and involves obsession with proper or healthy eating to the point of it being a fixation that results in damaging a person’s well-being. Those with orthorexia may qualify for other diagnostic criteria as this is not currently a formal diagnosis.
Here at WHHC we also treat conditions that commonly co-occur with eating disorders, including compulsive exercise, body dysmorphia, body image concerns, anxiety, trauma and more. Our therapists work from a Health At Every Size (HAES), All Foods Fit and Intuitive Eating lens, to support you in working towards body neutrality or body positivity and getting more in tune with your hunger cues, your general needs and intuition.
What kind of therapy do you offer for eating disorders?
Here at West Hartford Holistic Counseling we use CBT, DBT, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, harm reduction, body-focused psychotherapy and creative expressive arts. Our providers have had experience working in inpatient, outpatient and residential eating disorder treatment centers, We provide:
- Initial Assessments
- Individual Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Family Educational Therapy
You Can Find Relief And Healing
Please contact our office for a free 15-minute phone consultation. We look forward to discussing your unique needs and answering any questions you have about anxiety treatment and our approach and practice.
In addition to being a private pay practice, we take Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna, Husky, Optum, United, Medicare and Medicaid insurances.