My Approach to treatment

Creating a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental place to explore your symptoms and underlying issues is vital. I try to create a relaxed atmosphere that progresses at a pace that is comfortable for you but at the same time makes sure that you are challenged to heal and grow.

Making the commitment to seek therapy is a courageous step. Just the thought of discussing your experiences can seem overwhelming. Feelings of shame are common.

I believe that symptoms such as restricting, bingeing, purging, and preoccupation with weight are usually ways of coping with emotional issues.

They can be ways to:

  • Manage anxiety.
  • Focus on something that is measurable (such as weight loss) when other life difficulties are harder to resolve.
  • Numb difficult feelings such as shame, sadness, anger, grief.
  • Exert control over something when life feels overwhelming or out of control.
  • Feel “good enough”.
  • Feel comfort or pleasure.
  • Give us a focus when we lack meaning or purpose.
  • Communicate that we are struggling emotionally.

My approach to treatment is dependent on what a client needs at any given time and their readiness to make changes.

We work together to help you understand what issues your symptoms are helping you with. Then we aim to address those issues directly. We then work on learning alternate coping strategies that are not related to food/shape or weight.

In therapy, we may work together to:

  • Learn to identify triggers to eating disorder behaviours.
  • Learn to identify and express feelings.
  • Learn to regulate intense emotions.
  • Learn to work with triggers so we do not feel “hijacked” by them.
  • Learn assertiveness skills.
  • Work on self-compassion.
  • Explore relationship behaviours.
  • Explore trauma in the context of current life.
  • Work on negative and self-defeating thoughts about one’s self.
  • Understand the reasons for negative behaviour patterns and break these patterns (such as a tendency to enter into destructive relationships).

I draw on numerous theoretical orientations in therapy depending on what a client needs.

These include:

  • Internal Family Systems – completed intensive full-year level one training.
  • Trauma Informed Stabilization Treatment.
  • Emotion Focused Therapy.
  • Attachment Theory.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy.
  • Some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Working on eating disorder related issues may require a team approach. It is often very beneficial to be working with a dietician as well as being engaged in therapy.