Why did you become an eating disorder therapist?
One of the most common questions that clients ask me is “Why did you become an eating disorder therapist?” This is a question that fills me up every time I’m asked. There are a lot of things that come to mind when I’m asked this question, but what it all boils down to is hope. Hope for the person sitting in front of me, hope for the client that is scared to call admissions, hope for the client that doesn’t even know help exists yet.
I believe that there is hope for everyone that chooses to walk this journey of recovery and do the work that is required to have a different relationship with themselves, their body, and food. As an eating disorder therapist, it is my job to hold that hope, while the client continues to grow and fuel their own sense of hope in their recovery.
I know that when someone walks through our doors it is one of the scariest and most courageous choices a person can make. I am constantly humbled by the opportunity to be a part of someone’s healing journey. I believe that the relationship between therapist and client requires collaboration, trust, and loving boundaries around eating disorder behaviors.
At Alsana, we know that it is about the food and that it’s not about the food. The relationship between client and therapist takes work, especially in order to avoid constantly being in a power struggle. The way in which our eating disorder therapists do this is by looking at the underlying fears, triggers, and beliefs our clients have. Our eating disorder therapists get to know the whole client. We want to know why the eating disorder started and why it has continued. This is what allows us to start building a different therapeutic relationship with the client.
How should you select an eating disorder therapist?
- Find someone who specializes in or has extensive experience working with individuals suffering from eating disorders.
- An eating disorder therapist should be ready and willing to work with all members of the treatment team. This includes a dietitian, physician, and possibly a psychiatrist.
- Ask the therapist before or during your first session what their approach is to treating eating disorders. You know what’s best for you, but make sure you’re thinking about what will be best for your recovery, not what’s best for the eating disorder.
- Don’t be afraid to change therapists if you feel that the therapist you chose isn’t helping you move towards recovery.
At Alsana, our therapists go through intensive training around eating disorders. We are committed to making sure all of therapists are experts in treating eating disorders.
Often, I get an email or phone call from a past client. Sometimes it is positive about how they are living life now and not just surviving life and sometimes the calls are about struggles. Regardless, I’m reminded in those moments of why I do what I do. I do it because somewhere along the way we all need someone to believe, hope, and trust that recovery is possible and continues to be possible. We need to know that someone believes in us and the full life that we deserve. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call us today at 888-822-8938 to learn more about all our eating disorder treatment options.
Lolly Wool, M.ED., LPC, NCC
Director of Clinical Services of Residential Services