Eating Disorder Therapy and Counselling
Eating Disorders affect more Canadians than was previously believed. Studies show that one in two people know someone, including themselves, who has or had an eating disorder. These are devasting psychiatric illnesses that often impact not only the individual but their family too. Our programs help individuals and families feel empowered and supported to begin rebuilding their lives.
The truth is, early intervention saves lives. The sooner a person with an eating disorder receives help, the better chance they have at recovery.
Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder require skilled, patient-specific therapy. We take a supportive approach that uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to help individuals with eating disorders address symptom change. Our services don’t simply end at a set time. Instead, it continues on for as long as necessary; be it weeks, months, years, or more.
To accommodate our patient’s needs, we offer outpatient services that include individual and group therapy for anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Each personalized journey to recovery includes a highly-skilled eating disorder treatment team.
Concurrent Residential Eating Disorder Treatment
Studies show that individuals with eating disorders often struggle with substance abuse or other psychiatric disorders such as depression. In this case, a concurrent eating disorder and addiction treatment program may be required to help a patient recover. Through a special collaboration with Bellwood Health Services and Waterstone Clinic, we provide holistic, evidence-based treatment for eating disorders and addiction that uses a unique combination of therapeutic approaches, skills training, and life coaching.
Bellwood’s 6-Week Eating Disorder Group
Bellwood’s 6-week eating disorder groups are open to both inpatients and the general public. Groups are held 2 evenings per week (Tuesdays from 3:30-5pm and Thursdays from 6:30-8pm). Outpatient clients coming for these groups also receive an individual eating disorder counselling session each week, as well as dinner meal support on the nights they attend group. The group is designed to be both psychoeducational and therapeutic, incorporating aspects of Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-E), Dialectical Behavioural therapy and general health and nutrition. Within a 6-week cycle, sample group topics include an introduction to eating disorders, addressing and changing behaviours, motivational work and readiness for change, emotion regulation skills, assertiveness/interpersonal skills, food and nutrition, body image, and relapse prevention. This group is open to those with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder as well as other eating disorders, non-specific eating disorders or undiagnosed eating disorders. Outpatients are assessed prior to their first group and given a meal plan by our Registered Dietician as part of the process.
What are Eating Disorders?
“Eating disorder” is a term for a group of serious disorders in which individuals jeopardize both mental and physical functioning due to problematic relationships with food and body image. These disorders can at times be life-threatening. These problematic relationships with eating and body image manifest themselves in the form of binge eating, purging, and food restriction. Those struggling with an eating disorder greatly evaluate their personal sense of self-worth through weight and/or body image. Eating disorders are often accompanied by depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or substance abuse. It is crucial that all associated psychiatric problems including other addictive behaviour form part of a comprehensive treatment program so that clients can heal and achieve the life they aspire to live. Eating disorders take various forms:
- Anorexia Nervosa: An eating disorder where individuals restrict their caloric intake due to an intense fear of gaining weight. The caloric restriction results in significant weight loss, loss of menstrual periods as well as being associated with other significant health-related consequences. Some individuals with anorexia also engage in excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, and diuretic use. Anorexia Nervosa can in some cases result in death. Those living with anorexia see themselves as being overweight in spite of their weight being dangerously low.
- Bulimia Nervosa: An eating disorder characterized by periods of binging on foods. Food binges are followed by self-induced vomiting. Some individuals will also engage in excessive exercise, and the use of diuretics or laxatives. Individuals living with bulimia base their sense of self-worth on their weight or perception of their body image.
- Binge Eating Disorder: An eating disorder characterized by periods of binging on foods. Unlike Bulimia, those with Binge Eating Disorder do not attempt to purge the excessive food intake. They, therefore, gain a great deal of weight and suffer the medical complications associated with obesity. Depression, shame, and poor self-esteem are also associated with this eating disorder.
- Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (ED-NOS): Describes individuals who may have a mix of anorexia and/ bulimia and/ or binge-eating symptoms, but do not necessarily fit into one category.