Eating Disorders Therapists in Toronto, ON

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Photo of Kirstyn Greenside, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Kirstyn Greenside
Registered Social Worker, BSW, MSW, RSW
Verified
Toronto, ON M5V
In a culture focused on image and beauty, it is completely natural that we manifest shame, guilt, and anxiety in our body and food behaviours. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Disordered eating, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia, may have been coping strategies to handle deeper-rooted issues-- they have acted as a means of control and comfort, when maybe you felt like you had none. The purpose of my practice is to foster sustainable emotional growth-- this means a relationship with your body and food that encourages self-worth, value, and connection.
In a culture focused on image and beauty, it is completely natural that we manifest shame, guilt, and anxiety in our body and food behaviours. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Disordered eating, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia, may have been coping strategies to handle deeper-rooted issues-- they have acted as a means of control and comfort, when maybe you felt like you had none. The purpose of my practice is to foster sustainable emotional growth-- this means a relationship with your body and food that encourages self-worth, value, and connection.
(647) 363-6408 View (647) 363-6408
Photo of Nolan Blodgett, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Nolan Blodgett
Registered Social Worker, MSW, RSW
Verified
4 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M4X
I have experience working with youth and adults with an emphasis on and gender diverse folks and the LGBTQ2S community. I have supported clients with a range of presenting issues, including anxiety and depression, body image, eating disorders, gender/sexuality-related issues, personality disorders, intergenerational trauma, complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and substance use. My approach is grounded in a trauma-informed, intersectional anti-oppressive framework and I aim to foster resilience and empowerment using a warm, collaborative approach to support folks in meeting their goals.
I have experience working with youth and adults with an emphasis on and gender diverse folks and the LGBTQ2S community. I have supported clients with a range of presenting issues, including anxiety and depression, body image, eating disorders, gender/sexuality-related issues, personality disorders, intergenerational trauma, complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and substance use. My approach is grounded in a trauma-informed, intersectional anti-oppressive framework and I aim to foster resilience and empowerment using a warm, collaborative approach to support folks in meeting their goals.
(647) 691-0620 View (647) 691-0620
Photo of Cassandra Claire Morrison, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Cassandra Claire Morrison
Registered Social Worker, MSW , RSW
Verified
2 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M5C
Hi, and welcome. I’m so happy you are here. If you are experiencing mental health challenges as it relates to relationships concerns, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and low-self esteem, I would love to support you. Let’s get you to a place of unconditional self-love and acceptance, achieving goals serenity, acceptance, wholeness, and happiness so you can live a calmer, fulfilled, enriched life and thrive. If you find yourself returning to destructive relationships, having low self-esteem and negative self-talk, and low coping skills or emotional regulation, I’d love to work with you!
Hi, and welcome. I’m so happy you are here. If you are experiencing mental health challenges as it relates to relationships concerns, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and low-self esteem, I would love to support you. Let’s get you to a place of unconditional self-love and acceptance, achieving goals serenity, acceptance, wholeness, and happiness so you can live a calmer, fulfilled, enriched life and thrive. If you find yourself returning to destructive relationships, having low self-esteem and negative self-talk, and low coping skills or emotional regulation, I’d love to work with you!
(647) 792-5388 View (647) 792-5388
Photo of Amanda Buckingham, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Amanda Buckingham
Registered Social Worker, MSW
Verified
1 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M4J  (Online Only)
Offering DBT and Radically Open DBT! Are you always extremely organized? Do you put 110% into your work and set high personal standards? Good for you! These traits are often applauded by society, and those around us, however, research shows that “too much of a good thing” can lead to other problems such as chronic depression, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.If you are someone who is using self harm to cope, or experiencing suicidal thoughts and urges, I am here to support as well. I am passionate about supporting people with borderline personality disorder as it can be so misunderstood.
Offering DBT and Radically Open DBT! Are you always extremely organized? Do you put 110% into your work and set high personal standards? Good for you! These traits are often applauded by society, and those around us, however, research shows that “too much of a good thing” can lead to other problems such as chronic depression, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.If you are someone who is using self harm to cope, or experiencing suicidal thoughts and urges, I am here to support as well. I am passionate about supporting people with borderline personality disorder as it can be so misunderstood.
(437) 747-4672 View (437) 747-4672
Photo of Emily Beaton, Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) in Toronto, ON
Emily Beaton
Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)
Verified
1 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M6G
I help youth (16+) and adults navigate challenges related to: Body Image, Disordered Eating/Eating Disorders, Trauma & PTSD, Anxiety & Depression, and Relationship concerns.
My approach to therapy is warm and compassionate and centres on the principles of authentic connection, safety, and trust. As I walk alongside you in your journey, I will aim to empower you to take steps towards your goals at a pace that feels just right to you. As a former naturalist and outdoor educator, I am also passionate about the importance of nature connection to mental health and wellbeing, and strive to cultivate this within the therapy relationship.
I help youth (16+) and adults navigate challenges related to: Body Image, Disordered Eating/Eating Disorders, Trauma & PTSD, Anxiety & Depression, and Relationship concerns.
My approach to therapy is warm and compassionate and centres on the principles of authentic connection, safety, and trust. As I walk alongside you in your journey, I will aim to empower you to take steps towards your goals at a pace that feels just right to you. As a former naturalist and outdoor educator, I am also passionate about the importance of nature connection to mental health and wellbeing, and strive to cultivate this within the therapy relationship.
(647) 492-7438 View (647) 492-7438
Photo of Rachel Oliver, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Rachel Oliver
Registered Social Worker, MSW, RSW
Verified
3 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M6H  (Online Only)
My areas of expertise are helping people with anxiety, depression, trauma, self esteem, eating disorders, and parenting.
Taking the first step to find help in working through life’s challenges takes self-awareness and courage. Congratulations for taking that first step. As your therapist, I promise you the following: I will work with you, at your pace, to help you feel confident and energized about who you are. I will help support you in facing life’s difficulties and in building strong and healthy relationships. I will value the nuances and uniqueness of your life journey and I will motivate you to meet your therapy goals with care and compassion.
My areas of expertise are helping people with anxiety, depression, trauma, self esteem, eating disorders, and parenting.
Taking the first step to find help in working through life’s challenges takes self-awareness and courage. Congratulations for taking that first step. As your therapist, I promise you the following: I will work with you, at your pace, to help you feel confident and energized about who you are. I will help support you in facing life’s difficulties and in building strong and healthy relationships. I will value the nuances and uniqueness of your life journey and I will motivate you to meet your therapy goals with care and compassion.
(226) 790-3715 View (226) 790-3715
Photo of Shankari Sharma, Psychological Associate in Toronto, ON
Shankari Sharma
Psychological Associate, MA
Verified
Toronto, ON M4S
At the Therapy Centre, Shankari provides individual, couple, and family therapy for adults. Her areas of interest and proficiency include diagnostic assessment and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive and bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, assertiveness, stress and burnout, anger management, and personality disorders. She has a particular interest in the treatment of PTSD, trauma- and stressor-related disorders, and the variety of individual and interpersonal sequelae of traumatic experiences.
At the Therapy Centre, Shankari provides individual, couple, and family therapy for adults. Her areas of interest and proficiency include diagnostic assessment and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive and bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, assertiveness, stress and burnout, anger management, and personality disorders. She has a particular interest in the treatment of PTSD, trauma- and stressor-related disorders, and the variety of individual and interpersonal sequelae of traumatic experiences.
(289) 797-2827 View (289) 797-2827
Photo of Rachel Liebman, Psychologist in Toronto, ON
Rachel Liebman
Psychologist, PhD
Verified
1 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M4K
As a clinical psychologist with over 15 years of experience, I help teenagers, adults, couples or parents make sense of their past experiences so that they can have more fulfilling lives in the present and future. I have a special interest in working with individuals and couples with trauma who struggle with self harming behaviours like eating disorders, suicide, self injury, as well as people struggling with borderline personality disorder and emotion dysregulation. Beyond these specific issues, if your goal is to understand, appreciate, and break old patterns that are standing in your way, I am here to help you in that process.
As a clinical psychologist with over 15 years of experience, I help teenagers, adults, couples or parents make sense of their past experiences so that they can have more fulfilling lives in the present and future. I have a special interest in working with individuals and couples with trauma who struggle with self harming behaviours like eating disorders, suicide, self injury, as well as people struggling with borderline personality disorder and emotion dysregulation. Beyond these specific issues, if your goal is to understand, appreciate, and break old patterns that are standing in your way, I am here to help you in that process.
(416) 236-8162 View (416) 236-8162
Photo of Kailey Feldman, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Kailey Feldman
Registered Social Worker, MSW, RSW
Verified
Toronto, ON M6C  (Online Only)
Waitlist for new clients
My name is Kailey Feldman and I am a registered social worker in Toronto, Ontario. I work with individuals who are struggling with any mental health issue, including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. I also help people adjust to life transitions, and work with clients who are struggling with conflict in their relationships. I have training in CBT, DBT, Solution Focused Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.
My name is Kailey Feldman and I am a registered social worker in Toronto, Ontario. I work with individuals who are struggling with any mental health issue, including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. I also help people adjust to life transitions, and work with clients who are struggling with conflict in their relationships. I have training in CBT, DBT, Solution Focused Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.
(888) 650-3742 View (888) 650-3742
Photo of Elizabeth Bala, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Elizabeth Bala
Registered Social Worker, MSW, RSW
Verified
3 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M5R  (Online Only)
The diagnoses I have the most experience with are anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and mood disorders.
I balance a genuine optimism for your well-being with a realistic understanding that life is inevitably hard sometimes. Therapy with me is a space to start to explore what wellness, healing, coping and safety looks like for you. Everyone is unique, including you, and so I integrate a number of therapeutic modalities, so that our work meets you where you're at and celebrates you as you are. I maintain a critical hope in my work alongside critical thinking skills; I understand that your individual mental health is impacted by the larger social structures we live in.
The diagnoses I have the most experience with are anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and mood disorders.
I balance a genuine optimism for your well-being with a realistic understanding that life is inevitably hard sometimes. Therapy with me is a space to start to explore what wellness, healing, coping and safety looks like for you. Everyone is unique, including you, and so I integrate a number of therapeutic modalities, so that our work meets you where you're at and celebrates you as you are. I maintain a critical hope in my work alongside critical thinking skills; I understand that your individual mental health is impacted by the larger social structures we live in.
(437) 747-0977 View (437) 747-0977
Photo of Samantha Szirmak, Registered Psychotherapist in Toronto, ON
Samantha Szirmak
Registered Psychotherapist, MPsy, RP
Verified
Toronto, ON M5G
Welcome. It takes incredible courage to seek help. As your therapist, I am honoured to provide a safe space for you to tell your story, open your heart, and guide you towards the growth and change you seek. If you’re an adult or teen struggling with anxiety, depression, shame/guilt, stress, grief, low self-esteem, identity struggles, body image, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, traumatic life experiences, and/or difficult life transitions, I am here to help support you. I practice through a trauma-informed lens that values safety and trust at the core of our work together.
Welcome. It takes incredible courage to seek help. As your therapist, I am honoured to provide a safe space for you to tell your story, open your heart, and guide you towards the growth and change you seek. If you’re an adult or teen struggling with anxiety, depression, shame/guilt, stress, grief, low self-esteem, identity struggles, body image, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, traumatic life experiences, and/or difficult life transitions, I am here to help support you. I practice through a trauma-informed lens that values safety and trust at the core of our work together.
(437) 600-9640 View (437) 600-9640
Photo of Natascha Gray, Registered Psychotherapist in Toronto, ON
Natascha Gray
Registered Psychotherapist, MA, RP, CYC
Verified
2 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M4K
Toronto Psychotherapy Space currently offers both online and in person psychotherapy appointments. Please view our website and give us a call to book a free 15-minute consultation with Natascha or one of our clinical therapists. Natascha is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), child and youth counsellor, and athlete who specializes in working with youth, adolescents, and adults struggling with a wide variety of internal and external challenges. Natascha has spent the past 17 years working at the Hospital for Sick Children in both their inpatient and outpatient eating disorders and mental health crisis units.
Toronto Psychotherapy Space currently offers both online and in person psychotherapy appointments. Please view our website and give us a call to book a free 15-minute consultation with Natascha or one of our clinical therapists. Natascha is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), child and youth counsellor, and athlete who specializes in working with youth, adolescents, and adults struggling with a wide variety of internal and external challenges. Natascha has spent the past 17 years working at the Hospital for Sick Children in both their inpatient and outpatient eating disorders and mental health crisis units.
(365) 800-3422 View (365) 800-3422
Photo of Emma Sey, Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) in Toronto, ON
Emma Sey
Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), MA, RP (Q)
Verified
Toronto, ON M5S
Therapy for ADHD, Anxiety, Anger, and Eating Disorders. I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) working with adults and teens on a variety of presenting concerns including ADHD, Anger, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, and Interpersonal and Coping Skills. I use an integrated, client-centered approach to helping my clients, and strive to tailor sessions to your goals, needs, and unique context. I am passionate about working with a diverse client population, therefore, my practice welcomes differing communities (i.e., LGBTQ2S+, Sex-Positive, Nonmonogamy, Body Positivity, etc.).
Therapy for ADHD, Anxiety, Anger, and Eating Disorders. I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) working with adults and teens on a variety of presenting concerns including ADHD, Anger, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, and Interpersonal and Coping Skills. I use an integrated, client-centered approach to helping my clients, and strive to tailor sessions to your goals, needs, and unique context. I am passionate about working with a diverse client population, therefore, my practice welcomes differing communities (i.e., LGBTQ2S+, Sex-Positive, Nonmonogamy, Body Positivity, etc.).
(647) 694-9065 View (647) 694-9065
Photo of Cynthia Johnston Counselling & Consulting Svcs, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Cynthia Johnston Counselling & Consulting Svcs
Registered Social Worker, MEd, BSW, RCC, RSW
Verified
Toronto, ON M6G
If you are struggling with bulimia, or other disordered eating, you have likely promised yourself time and time again that this will be the last time that you engage in these behaviours, assuring yourself that you know what to do and that you can stop anytime. You have managed a few days, weeks or months symptom-free, but the behaviours have always returned. Although it may be difficult to imagine getting through life's ups and downs without your disordered eating, I can help you to develop new ways of coping and to achieve lasting recovery. And you will set the pace of your recovery.
If you are struggling with bulimia, or other disordered eating, you have likely promised yourself time and time again that this will be the last time that you engage in these behaviours, assuring yourself that you know what to do and that you can stop anytime. You have managed a few days, weeks or months symptom-free, but the behaviours have always returned. Although it may be difficult to imagine getting through life's ups and downs without your disordered eating, I can help you to develop new ways of coping and to achieve lasting recovery. And you will set the pace of your recovery.
(416) 922-3311 View (416) 922-3311
Photo of Nancy Lipson, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Nancy Lipson
Registered Social Worker, MSW, RSW
Verified
1 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M2N  (Online Only)
I am a somatic informed and trauma informed therapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and related issues for over 15 years.
Does your body feel "wrong" to you? Do you want a greater sense of peace and safety in your body? Are relationships challenging for you? You have done some reflection or been to therapy before, but something still seems to be missing. Maybe you were able to successfully manage eating disorder symptoms, anxiety etc, for a while, but continue to experience inner conflict. You continue to not feel at peace with yourself, you continue to not accept yourself.
I am a somatic informed and trauma informed therapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and related issues for over 15 years.
Does your body feel "wrong" to you? Do you want a greater sense of peace and safety in your body? Are relationships challenging for you? You have done some reflection or been to therapy before, but something still seems to be missing. Maybe you were able to successfully manage eating disorder symptoms, anxiety etc, for a while, but continue to experience inner conflict. You continue to not feel at peace with yourself, you continue to not accept yourself.
(844) 332-2849 View (844) 332-2849
Photo of Prevailing Minds, Occupational Therapist in Toronto, ON
Prevailing Minds
Occupational Therapist, OT Reg, (Ont)
Verified
Toronto, ON M5V  (Online Only)
At Prevailing Minds, we bring together clinical skill and lived experience with mental health challenges. I’ve worked with individuals with mood disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance use issues, and many, many other challenges. I help people discover and maintain their motivation to change. My work is very goal-oriented so you can tell if you are making progress in our work together. I encourage taking learning out of the clinic and into the community and home. Sliding scale pricing is available depending on financial need. Please inquire!
At Prevailing Minds, we bring together clinical skill and lived experience with mental health challenges. I’ve worked with individuals with mood disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance use issues, and many, many other challenges. I help people discover and maintain their motivation to change. My work is very goal-oriented so you can tell if you are making progress in our work together. I encourage taking learning out of the clinic and into the community and home. Sliding scale pricing is available depending on financial need. Please inquire!
(437) 747-2869 View (437) 747-2869
Photo of Loreana La Civita in Toronto, ON
Loreana La Civita
BA Hons, RP(Q)
Verified
Toronto, ON M5G
) with eating disorders / disordered eating, body image concerns, and emotional dysregulation.
I work with adolescents and adults experiencing a variety of concerns such as grief and loss, trauma, interpersonal trauma (e.g., emotional, physical, or sexual abuse), eating disorders, addictions, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and body image concerns. I emphasize the importance of understanding how your cultural background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression have influenced your unique life experiences. As well, my approach to therapy is trauma-informed; I seek to understand how your life experiences and circumstances have shaped who you are today and influenced your present day struggles.
) with eating disorders / disordered eating, body image concerns, and emotional dysregulation.
I work with adolescents and adults experiencing a variety of concerns such as grief and loss, trauma, interpersonal trauma (e.g., emotional, physical, or sexual abuse), eating disorders, addictions, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and body image concerns. I emphasize the importance of understanding how your cultural background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression have influenced your unique life experiences. As well, my approach to therapy is trauma-informed; I seek to understand how your life experiences and circumstances have shaped who you are today and influenced your present day struggles.
(437) 800-2651 View (437) 800-2651
Photo of Kendra E Casey, Registered Social Worker in Toronto, ON
Kendra E Casey
Registered Social Worker, RSW, MSW, BSC
Verified
1 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M5R  (Online Only)
Kendra supports the healing of sexual trauma and PTSD symptoms for individuals who want to rebuild a safe space in their minds and bodies. PTSD and trauma can shake one’s sense of self; creating impactful coping mechanisms such as disordered eating/eating disorders and perfectionism. Together, you and Kendra can identify patterns that you can change to create a balanced life.
Kendra supports the healing of sexual trauma and PTSD symptoms for individuals who want to rebuild a safe space in their minds and bodies. PTSD and trauma can shake one’s sense of self; creating impactful coping mechanisms such as disordered eating/eating disorders and perfectionism. Together, you and Kendra can identify patterns that you can change to create a balanced life.
(437) 747-6977 View (437) 747-6977
Photo of Emilee Burgess, Psychologist in Toronto, ON
Emilee Burgess
Psychologist, PhD, CPsych
Verified
Toronto, ON M5C
Dr. Burgess is a Registered Clinical Psychologist who has extensive experience in providing treatment for individuals with a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression, eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating), body image concerns, emotional dysregulation, and perfectionism. Her primary treatment approach includes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Dr. Burgess incorporates strategies from mindfulness and self-compassion into her approach and also has intensive training in Radically-Open DBT for treatment of over-control.
Dr. Burgess is a Registered Clinical Psychologist who has extensive experience in providing treatment for individuals with a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression, eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating), body image concerns, emotional dysregulation, and perfectionism. Her primary treatment approach includes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Dr. Burgess incorporates strategies from mindfulness and self-compassion into her approach and also has intensive training in Radically-Open DBT for treatment of over-control.
(647) 424-3092 View (647) 424-3092
Photo of Michelle Leybman, Psychologist in Toronto, ON
Michelle Leybman
Psychologist, PhD
Verified
2 Endorsed
Toronto, ON M6G
Throughout my training I worked in a variety of settings with adolescents and adults experiencing a range of difficulties, such as eating disorders, anxiety, relationship difficulties, identity confusion, and low self-esteem.
**PLEASE NOTE - I am currently providing only video therapy** Therapy is an opportunity to find ways to live a more fulfilling and satisfying life. It can help you to: overcome difficult symptoms or stresses, cope effectively with problems, or bring more positives into your life when things are going well. I will approach therapy as a balance of helping you learn to understand and accept yourself and your life situations, and supporting you in learning to change ways of thinking and behaving that are not working for you. I am also currently offering training for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). Please inquire if interested.
Throughout my training I worked in a variety of settings with adolescents and adults experiencing a range of difficulties, such as eating disorders, anxiety, relationship difficulties, identity confusion, and low self-esteem.
**PLEASE NOTE - I am currently providing only video therapy** Therapy is an opportunity to find ways to live a more fulfilling and satisfying life. It can help you to: overcome difficult symptoms or stresses, cope effectively with problems, or bring more positives into your life when things are going well. I will approach therapy as a balance of helping you learn to understand and accept yourself and your life situations, and supporting you in learning to change ways of thinking and behaving that are not working for you. I am also currently offering training for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). Please inquire if interested.
(855) 463-9610 View (855) 463-9610

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Eating Disorders Counsellors

What happens in therapy for eating disorders?

In therapy for eating disorders, patients typically describe their eating and exercise behaviors, their patterns of eating in relation to stress, their beliefs about their body, the ways their eating behavior affects their relationships, and their desire (or lack of it) to change. Such information helps the therapist understand the origins of the disorder and the role it plays in the patient’s life, important for guiding treatment. Attitudes and feelings about food and eating, body weight, and physical appearance are common topics of discussion throughout treatment.

What therapy types help with eating disorders?

Once any acute medical or psychiatric emergency is resolved, psychoactive medication is often prescribed, requiring the supervision of a psychiatrist. In addition, patients receive some form of nutritional counseling along with one or more forms of psychotherapy. For adolescents, family-based treatment is empirically validated and considered the first line of treatment; parents and their children meet weekly with a clinician as the adults are coached on how to nourish and psychologically support the young patient. Adults typically receive some form of individual psychotherapy, intended to resolve the cognitive and behavioral disturbances that underlie the disorder and to relieve the mood disturbances that accompany it. In addition, patients may also be helped by group therapy.

What is the goal of therapy for eating disorders?

The most immediate goal of treatment for eating disorders is to save the life of people who are on a path of starving themselves to death or engaging in eating patterns that are doing irreparable physical harm to their body. Once the acute medical danger is past, therapy is required to understand the nature of the disordered eating and/or exercise patterns, establish healthy eating behavior, and to tackle the many erroneous beliefs and distorted self-perceptions that underlie eating disorders and continue to pose a threat to health and life. Therapy also addresses the impaired mood that not only accompanies eating disorders but intensifies the danger to health and life.

What are the limitations of therapy for eating disorders?

Therapy can be very helpful for eating disorders—but that can happen only after people recognize they have a condition that must be treated. Especially with anorexia, the distortions in self-image that accompany the disorder can keep people from acknowledging they have a problem. Individuals may in fact see their eating disorder as a badge of self-control. Those with binge-eating disorder may feel too ashamed to seek help. Therapy cannot help those who do not avail themselves of it.

How long does therapy last for eating disorders?

Because of their complexity, recovery from eating disorders is usually a long-term process—measured in months and years— often marked by setbacks and relapse. Some form of help, such as individual or group therapy, may be advisable for much of that time. It is a general rule of thumb that the longer the illness has endured and the dysregulated eating behavior has taken root, the longer treatment is likely to be needed.