Difficulties with eating and body image are about much more than just food and the body. Attempts to manipulate food and the body often provide relief and distraction from underlying contributors such as feelings of low self-worth or intense emotions that feel out-of-control. The reasons for difficulties with food and the body are not the same for everybody. What is common, however, is that individuals struggle with these difficulties in secret as they often feel ashamed.
You no longer have to feel like a prisoner in your own skin.
Psychotherapy with a clinical psychologist for eating and body image difficulties can help you heal your relationship with food and find a sense of home in your body. In our work together, we will uncover the relationship between your emotions, thoughts, and your eating patterns. We will work on helping you better manage your emotions by teaching various emotion-regulation skills. We will explore and learn how your early experiences with family, peers, and important others shape your view of yourself, your body, and your relationship to food. We will then work to shift these perspectives to allow you to feel better form the inside out.
I am concerned that people might find out I see you.
I know that therapy is highly stigmatized in many cultures. I also know that the secrecy and hiding often associating with eating and body image difficulties can make it difficult to seek help. Through telling our stories in a safe and non-judgmental space, we overcome shame. Know that your presence in my office and our work together is held in strict confidence. Clinical psychologists are governed by strict privacy and confidentiality laws that protect your private personal health information. With few exceptions (e.g., safety concerns), the fact that you’re my client and anything that you say to me cannot be repeated without your consent. Full privacy and confidentiality guidelines will be discussed with you when we meet.
I’m afraid of therapy – what if I discover that something is wrong?
It takes courage to pursue therapy. Your difficulties with food and your body are signs that something is not quite balanced in your life. It is important for us to pay attention to these signs and to understand their underlying messages. When you better understand your symptoms, you will better understand yourself, improve your coping skills, and become better equipped to handle life’s difficult situations. You will work towards a healthier relationship with food and your body and ultimately towards better holistic physical and mental well-being. Know that treatment for body image and eating difficulties will progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you and that you will never be forced to speak about something you don’t feel comfortable speaking about.
I’ve heard that eating and body image therapy takes time and is costly.
Indeed, this type of treatment can take time. It may be helpful to think about therapy as an investment in yourself, your well being, and your future. Untreated difficulties with food and body image can have significant negative impact on your mood, anxiety, relationships, ability to focus/concentrate, physical health, and daily functioning. With appropriate therapy, over time, you will feel better as you gain control over your emotions and behaviours, improve your day to day functioning, and feel better in your own skin.