Eating Disorder Counselling

Eating Disorder Counselling in Calgary

If you are here, chances are that you or a loved one recognize a problem with food, eating, and/or body image. Taking this step of considering support is a tremendous one, so congratulations on making it here and starting to explore eating disorder counselling.

What is Disordered Eating?

It can be difficult to sort out what exactly is going on in one’s relationship with food and how unhealthy or problematic it has become. Typically if people are starting to question their relationship with food and body, this is a red flag that it has become problematic and may be disordered.

Here is an informal checklist to help you get a general idea of the extent of your food-related issues.

Read through the following list and see how many have applied to you within the past 3 months:

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it would be a good time to start exploring eating disorder counselling. These behavioural signs tend to appear as issues with food and food-related behaviours progress and rarely present themselves when people have a healthy relationship with themselves, food, and body.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are many different types of eating disorders. Below are descriptions of the most common forms that eating disorders can take.
1

Food Addiction

This is when somebody’s relationship with food feels obsessive, compulsive, that it has taken over life, and is creating unwanted consequences. Food addiction can take many different forms but feels the same: unmanageable. This manifestation of addiction may be in isolation or connected to other symptoms, including substance use or other problem behaviours. Sana Psychological can help you to explore and take action on personal goals with your recovery and health.

2

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is when people experience episodes of eating more than they intended and/or feel physically comfortable within one sitting. This may or may not be accompanied by compensatory behaviours like purging/self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or substances.

3

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is when people are severely limiting and restricting caloric and food intake and may or may not be accompanied by other compulsive behaviours like excessive exercise, calorie obsession, substance use, preoccupation with body/weight, and/or body image dysmorphia. As it progresses, anorexia nervosa can be a life-threatening condition. While not all necessary treatment services are provided at Sana Psychological, we can support you in establishing next steps and offer transitional and/or continuing care support.

4

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a condition that can involve restricting, binging, and/or purging. Sana Psychological can help you explore your goals and eating habits with food and body and start working on taking steps in this direction.

5

Orthorexia Nervosa

This is a disordered eating condition where a person is preoccupied, obsessive, and controlling about living life extremely “healthy” and clean, to the point that it becomes unmanageable and no longer health focused.

Common Symptoms of Eating Disorders

What eating disorders of all manifestations have in common are symptoms of:

  • Emotional distress
  • Preoccupation
  • Obsession
  • Compulsion
  • Unmanageability
  • External consequences

People may think they are hiding their eating disorder but typically friends, family, loved ones, and others will often become concerned far before the person is willing to get help. This is an important reason why loved ones seek out support for themselves too as waiting for someone you care about to accept that they need help is a very stressful and trying time.

Causes of Eating Disorders

Several types of eating disorders are shaped by a complex combination of genetic/hereditary and environmental influences. These eating disorders may include:

  • Trauma
  • Adverse childhood events (ACE’s)
  • Modeling from authority figures
  • Peer pressure
  • Societal messages
  • Stress
  • Perceived lack of control over one’s life and environment, and/or high external pressure

It is important to note that eating disorders cut across all demographic lines and do not discriminate.

Our Treatment Approach for Eating Disorders

Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist, has been trained in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Solution-focused Therapy, and also incorporates elements of Motivational Interviewing and Twelve Step Facilitation into her sessions with a foundation in empathy. Treatment is holistic and focuses on all aspects of health.

Treatment for Those Suffering from an Eating Disorder

During the initial appointments, information is gathered to know about all parts of you, including relationships, feelings processing, physical health, self-esteem, and more.

Eating disorder counselling can be short or long-term, depending on your needs. Paige prefers to meet with people over a longer period of time (6+ months) to ensure sustainability and maintenance of progress as eating disorder recovery tends to ebb and flow. If this does not work for your needs, that is okay too. We will customize services within your boundaries and needs.

Support for Loved Ones

If you are a family member reading this and hoping your loved one will change but you are not sure if they are ready, I would encourage you to come in for yourself to look at your own health and recovery plan. Change in any member of a relational unit creates change for the whole unit, so perhaps change can start with you. Sessions will provide you with the strength, resources, and ability to cope with an extremely challenging situation.

Why Choose Sana Psychological?

It is an honor and a privilege to support you at any point in your journey. Sana Psychological offers an experienced perspective with an eating disorder therapist who is informed on the nature of Addiction, which many people have found useful in helping them understand what is happening within them. Sana Psychological aims to help people understand the full context in which their eating disorder exists and to provide healthy ways and strategies to address this.

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, contact us! If you’re ready to book, you can schedule and manage your appointment online for your convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: A great place to start with eating disorder treatment is your family physician. They can monitor your physical health, suggest appropriate providers and interventions, and/or be a regular point of contact and accountability. If you do not have a family doctor, you may also want to contact Access Mental Health through 811 for resources.
A: Trying to force feed someone dealing with an eating disorder is not a recommended intervention strategy as the increased pressure may further drive the eating disorder behaviour. Instead, showing up with compassion, respect, and empathy as well as meeting the person where they are at and drawing appropriate boundaries is a much more helpful way to go.
A: Cognitive-behavioural therapy, emotion-focused, and family systems treatments all offer value to those struggling with anorexia. The best interventions meet the individual where they are at and address the underlying drivers of the behaviour.
A: As you would to any other human being! Offer empathy, compassion, and support. Share your concerns without being pushy or controlling and allow them to go through their own process of recognition, willingness and action to make change. This healing cannot be forced.
A: Sana Psychological takes the approach that an eating disorder cannot be “cured.” It is best to think of an eating disorder as a chronic condition that can enter periods of remission. Therapy helps people learn about the triggers and underlying drivers for the behaviour and offer strategies to help them manage these so that they do not lead to recurrent episodes down the road.