Eating Disorders Therapists in Atlanta, GA

Photo of Ashley Scott, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Atlanta, GA
Ashley Scott
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, MSW, PMH-C
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30324  (Online Only)
If you are struggling with perinatal mental health, life transitions, body acceptance, or eating disorders and are motivated to start living more fully and true to your values, I might be the therapist for you. My skill set lies in my ability to connect with people and my commitment to helping you through whatever is moving you to seek therapy. We all benefit from the support of others, but some of us have a hard time asking for help (myself included). If there’s something you could use a hand in conquering, I hope you will take that next step and reach out! I'm glad you made it this far and look forward to chatting soon.
If you are struggling with perinatal mental health, life transitions, body acceptance, or eating disorders and are motivated to start living more fully and true to your values, I might be the therapist for you. My skill set lies in my ability to connect with people and my commitment to helping you through whatever is moving you to seek therapy. We all benefit from the support of others, but some of us have a hard time asking for help (myself included). If there’s something you could use a hand in conquering, I hope you will take that next step and reach out! I'm glad you made it this far and look forward to chatting soon.
(470) 613-2759 View (470) 613-2759
Photo of Joy Ssebikindu, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Joy Ssebikindu
Licensed Professional Counselor, MEd, NCC, LPC
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30309
My specialties include issues with communication, family transitions including divorce, trauma, depression, anxiety and disordered eating/eating disorders.
Kate Braestrup says it best: "I'm not here to keep you from freaking out. I'm here to be with you while you freak out, or grieve or laugh or suffer or sing. It is a ministry of presence. It is showing up with a loving heart." I truly believe that everyone could benefit from psychotherapy at some point in their lives -- we all need support. Taking the step towards seeking help of any kind can sometimes be difficult. I consider it a privilege to be chosen to walk out life's challenges with you.
My specialties include issues with communication, family transitions including divorce, trauma, depression, anxiety and disordered eating/eating disorders.
Kate Braestrup says it best: "I'm not here to keep you from freaking out. I'm here to be with you while you freak out, or grieve or laugh or suffer or sing. It is a ministry of presence. It is showing up with a loving heart." I truly believe that everyone could benefit from psychotherapy at some point in their lives -- we all need support. Taking the step towards seeking help of any kind can sometimes be difficult. I consider it a privilege to be chosen to walk out life's challenges with you.
(404) 496-8076 View (404) 496-8076
Photo of Rebecca Leslie, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA
Rebecca Leslie
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified Verified
9 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30324
I work with clients who want to feel better about their bodies or improve their relationship with food. I specialize in emotional eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, eating disorders, and weight concerns. I also work with many clients with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and relationship struggles.
I work with clients who want to feel better about their bodies or improve their relationship with food. I specialize in emotional eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, eating disorders, and weight concerns. I also work with many clients with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and relationship struggles.
(678) 582-1538 View (678) 582-1538
Photo of Amy Smith-Barnes, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA
Amy Smith-Barnes
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified Verified
5 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30324
I am a Licensed Psychologist with more than 20 years experience specializing in eating disorders and accompanying issues. My approach is authentic, direct, and kind. I believe in getting to know the person who is the patient and focusing on strengths and wellness to shift maladaptive patterns of behavior and relating.
I am a Licensed Psychologist with more than 20 years experience specializing in eating disorders and accompanying issues. My approach is authentic, direct, and kind. I believe in getting to know the person who is the patient and focusing on strengths and wellness to shift maladaptive patterns of behavior and relating.
(404) 969-6959 View (404) 969-6959
Photo of Radiance Counseling & Consulting PL, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA
Radiance Counseling & Consulting PL
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30329
I have been working in the field of eating disorders for 30 years.
It is not easy to grow through times of difficulty, but it is possible. I look forward to working with you on your goals!
I have been working in the field of eating disorders for 30 years.
It is not easy to grow through times of difficulty, but it is possible. I look forward to working with you on your goals!
(404) 738-6377 View (404) 738-6377
Photo of Meade Fields, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Meade Fields
Licensed Professional Counselor, MS, LPC, NCC
Verified Verified
4 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30341
Although eating disorders are my primary area of expertise, have extensive experience and interest addressing such issues as anxiety, depression, trauma, OCD, family of origin issues, and personality disorders.
Working from a person-centered perspective, I believe that the therapeutic relationship is one of the most important components for change. I offer an empathic space to explore your goals toward recovery. I use a variety of theoretical approaches, including CBT, existential, and interpersonal therapies. Specializing in eating disorders, I begin the therapeutic relationship by meeting clients where they are in the recovery process. I understand that the development of an eating disorder is complex, and that there is no "one size fits all" approach to treatment. I can help you learn positive coping skills and address body image, identity, and self-esteem issues.
Although eating disorders are my primary area of expertise, have extensive experience and interest addressing such issues as anxiety, depression, trauma, OCD, family of origin issues, and personality disorders.
Working from a person-centered perspective, I believe that the therapeutic relationship is one of the most important components for change. I offer an empathic space to explore your goals toward recovery. I use a variety of theoretical approaches, including CBT, existential, and interpersonal therapies. Specializing in eating disorders, I begin the therapeutic relationship by meeting clients where they are in the recovery process. I understand that the development of an eating disorder is complex, and that there is no "one size fits all" approach to treatment. I can help you learn positive coping skills and address body image, identity, and self-esteem issues.
(770) 285-5675 View (770) 285-5675
Photo of Tara Arnold, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Atlanta, GA
Tara Arnold
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, PhD, LCSW, CEDS
Verified Verified
4 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30324
I work with all genders with eating disorders, perfectionism, anxiety, depression, over control, and/or substance abuse.
Connection is the cornerstone of good therapy, and as a person, I am very compassionate, warm and engaging. I work with high achieving, highly driven, people who would like to deepen their experience of connection in life; both to themselves and others. No matter how our lives appear on the outside, many of us feel emotionally lonely and emotionally unsatisfied. I believe that through understanding and awareness, we can move towards becoming our true selves and experience life more deeply. We can learn to connect more fully with ourselves and others and transform our lives.
I work with all genders with eating disorders, perfectionism, anxiety, depression, over control, and/or substance abuse.
Connection is the cornerstone of good therapy, and as a person, I am very compassionate, warm and engaging. I work with high achieving, highly driven, people who would like to deepen their experience of connection in life; both to themselves and others. No matter how our lives appear on the outside, many of us feel emotionally lonely and emotionally unsatisfied. I believe that through understanding and awareness, we can move towards becoming our true selves and experience life more deeply. We can learn to connect more fully with ourselves and others and transform our lives.
(470) 441-4942 View (470) 441-4942
Photo of Brittany (Hughes) Hopkins, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Brittany (Hughes) Hopkins
Licensed Professional Counselor, MS, LPC, NCC, CPCS
Verified Verified
8 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30342
Are you overwhelmed, anxious or depressed and turning to substances and other unhealthy behaviors to cope? Do you struggle with feeling uncomfortable in your own skin? Are you looking to make real changes in your life but don't know where to start? Or, maybe you've started your journey and you recognize the need for support as you continue to move forward. Change can be difficult and sometimes scary. It's important to have the right person "in your corner" to help you tap in to your inner wisdom and navigate the challenges that you're facing. I have experience working with a wide variety of presenting struggles including substance abuse, eating disorders, body image concerns, women's issues and navigating life transitions.
Are you overwhelmed, anxious or depressed and turning to substances and other unhealthy behaviors to cope? Do you struggle with feeling uncomfortable in your own skin? Are you looking to make real changes in your life but don't know where to start? Or, maybe you've started your journey and you recognize the need for support as you continue to move forward. Change can be difficult and sometimes scary. It's important to have the right person "in your corner" to help you tap in to your inner wisdom and navigate the challenges that you're facing. I have experience working with a wide variety of presenting struggles including substance abuse, eating disorders, body image concerns, women's issues and navigating life transitions.
(678) 607-9868 View (678) 607-9868
Photo of Dr. Martha B Womack, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA
Dr. Martha B Womack
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30324  (Online Only)
I work with clients struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, medical concerns, or relationship difficulties.
You may be seeking therapy to help remove or change issues which are causing you discomfort. In addition to therapy helping you cope and reduce your distress, the process of self-discovery within the therapeutic relationship can lead to an increased understanding and acceptance of yourself. It can also lead to an expansion of comfort with all aspects of yourself. I am a clinical psychologist with 30 years’ experience working with adults and young adults in individual and couples therapy. I am also a certified EMDR therapist.
I work with clients struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, medical concerns, or relationship difficulties.
You may be seeking therapy to help remove or change issues which are causing you discomfort. In addition to therapy helping you cope and reduce your distress, the process of self-discovery within the therapeutic relationship can lead to an increased understanding and acceptance of yourself. It can also lead to an expansion of comfort with all aspects of yourself. I am a clinical psychologist with 30 years’ experience working with adults and young adults in individual and couples therapy. I am also a certified EMDR therapist.
(470) 837-2666 View (470) 837-2666
Photo of Susie Tharpe Click, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Susie Tharpe Click
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30327  (Online Only)
I have extensive experience working with eating disorders and body image issues, and I welcome those who need support on their healing journey.
Many women feel pressure to be perfect in an imperfect world and evaluate themselves harshly no matter what they do. Maybe you identify with the term “people pleaser” (even if the label makes you cringe!) and find saying “no” challenging because you are so keenly aware of others’ feelings. Maybe the secrecy of keeping your own emotions at bay – or even feeling unsure of exactly what they are – leaves you feeling isolated, wishing you had closer connections you could lean on. Maybe you find it hard to get motivated and think, “what’s the point?” You want to lead a meaningful life, but you aren't sure what you truly value.
I have extensive experience working with eating disorders and body image issues, and I welcome those who need support on their healing journey.
Many women feel pressure to be perfect in an imperfect world and evaluate themselves harshly no matter what they do. Maybe you identify with the term “people pleaser” (even if the label makes you cringe!) and find saying “no” challenging because you are so keenly aware of others’ feelings. Maybe the secrecy of keeping your own emotions at bay – or even feeling unsure of exactly what they are – leaves you feeling isolated, wishing you had closer connections you could lean on. Maybe you find it hard to get motivated and think, “what’s the point?” You want to lead a meaningful life, but you aren't sure what you truly value.
(770) 580-1084 View (770) 580-1084
Photo of Whitney Tarver, Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Whitney Tarver
Counselor, MS, LAPC
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30324
I graduated with my degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Mercer University in 2020 and I have experience working with those dealing with childhood trauma, attachment concerns, sexual assault, eating disorders, body image issues, OCD, ADHD, relationship concerns, and family of origin concerns.
If you have made your way to my profile, welcome! My name is Whitney and I have a passion for being with people as they navigate the ups and downs of life. Some people have never been provided with a safe place to be themselves and truly be vulnerable, and I strive to create that space for my clients. I often bring aspects of my personality to the therapy room, encouraging clients to do the same! My promise to you is that I will seek to understand your struggles and your worldview. I believe I can help by offering a compassionate ear, coping skills, and a safe place to process emotions.
I graduated with my degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Mercer University in 2020 and I have experience working with those dealing with childhood trauma, attachment concerns, sexual assault, eating disorders, body image issues, OCD, ADHD, relationship concerns, and family of origin concerns.
If you have made your way to my profile, welcome! My name is Whitney and I have a passion for being with people as they navigate the ups and downs of life. Some people have never been provided with a safe place to be themselves and truly be vulnerable, and I strive to create that space for my clients. I often bring aspects of my personality to the therapy room, encouraging clients to do the same! My promise to you is that I will seek to understand your struggles and your worldview. I believe I can help by offering a compassionate ear, coping skills, and a safe place to process emotions.
(470) 837-2991 View (470) 837-2991
Photo of Celia Webb, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Celia Webb
Licensed Professional Counselor, MS, LPC
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30328
The decision to begin (or deepen) therapy is a big one. I imagine you’ve attempted to manage a lot of things as best as you possibly could and that led you here. I’m so happy you’re here. I help clients navigate life when there’s been a few (or many) wrong turns and bumps in the road. I am skilled at working with all parts of a client when they have a history of trauma (knowingly or not). This often takes the form of eating disorders, anxiety, emotional overwhelm or dysregulation, dissociation, self-esteem issues, relationship issues, or substance use.
The decision to begin (or deepen) therapy is a big one. I imagine you’ve attempted to manage a lot of things as best as you possibly could and that led you here. I’m so happy you’re here. I help clients navigate life when there’s been a few (or many) wrong turns and bumps in the road. I am skilled at working with all parts of a client when they have a history of trauma (knowingly or not). This often takes the form of eating disorders, anxiety, emotional overwhelm or dysregulation, dissociation, self-esteem issues, relationship issues, or substance use.
(678) 325-2797 View (678) 325-2797
Photo of Marlene Sukiennik, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Atlanta, GA
Marlene Sukiennik
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, ACSW
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30342
Waitlist for new clients
My specialties include mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, relationship building, parenting challenges, grief resolution, women's issues, men's issues, and life's transitions.
For some, change can be difficult. As a clinical social worker with over 30 years of experience, I commit to helping you make that desired change in a safe and comfortable setting. I will partner with you to identify your needs, set your expectations and accomplish your goals. During therapy, I will help you understand your dynamics and focus on your strengths as you reach solutions.
My specialties include mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, relationship building, parenting challenges, grief resolution, women's issues, men's issues, and life's transitions.
For some, change can be difficult. As a clinical social worker with over 30 years of experience, I commit to helping you make that desired change in a safe and comfortable setting. I will partner with you to identify your needs, set your expectations and accomplish your goals. During therapy, I will help you understand your dynamics and focus on your strengths as you reach solutions.
(678) 619-1750 View (678) 619-1750
Photo of Vincent Fitch, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA
Vincent Fitch
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30324
I specialize in eating disorders, body image, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship concerns, and sleep difficulties.
Asking for help can be difficult especially when you pride yourself for being an independent person. When the uncontrollable aspects of life emerge and stick around it can often lead to feeling out of control, stuck, or unproductive even for someone that is usually successful. The truth is that life happens no matter the best of our own intentions and that is where I can work with you to reclaim your ideal life and achieve your goals.
I specialize in eating disorders, body image, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship concerns, and sleep difficulties.
Asking for help can be difficult especially when you pride yourself for being an independent person. When the uncontrollable aspects of life emerge and stick around it can often lead to feeling out of control, stuck, or unproductive even for someone that is usually successful. The truth is that life happens no matter the best of our own intentions and that is where I can work with you to reclaim your ideal life and achieve your goals.
(404) 962-0948 View (404) 962-0948
Photo of Judi-Lee Webb, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA
Judi-Lee Webb
Psychologist, PhD, CEDS-S
Verified Verified
4 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30339
I conduct individual, couples, and family therapy with adolescents and adults and specialize in treating, mood disorders, anxiety, eating disorders, body image issues and obesity issues, relationship issues, family issues, adolescent issues, GLBTQ issues and diversity issues.
I believe in establishing a collaborative approach with my clients to help support the therapeutic process. Using cognitive-behavioral techniques, I help my clients learn to identify and challenge their unhealthy thoughts and behaviors so they can develop fuller, more meaningful lives. I work with clients in managing their emotions, improve their ability to communicate with others, and build healthy and resilient self-concept. Utilizing a direct, interactive approach, with a touch of humor, I teach my clients coping skills so they can pull from their "toolbox" of skills in between sessions and eventually throughout their lives.
I conduct individual, couples, and family therapy with adolescents and adults and specialize in treating, mood disorders, anxiety, eating disorders, body image issues and obesity issues, relationship issues, family issues, adolescent issues, GLBTQ issues and diversity issues.
I believe in establishing a collaborative approach with my clients to help support the therapeutic process. Using cognitive-behavioral techniques, I help my clients learn to identify and challenge their unhealthy thoughts and behaviors so they can develop fuller, more meaningful lives. I work with clients in managing their emotions, improve their ability to communicate with others, and build healthy and resilient self-concept. Utilizing a direct, interactive approach, with a touch of humor, I teach my clients coping skills so they can pull from their "toolbox" of skills in between sessions and eventually throughout their lives.
(770) 450-5912 View (770) 450-5912
Photo of Chelsey Beauchamp, Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Chelsey Beauchamp
Counselor, LPC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30305
"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do" - Brene Brown. With these words in mind, I work to create an open, caring, and safe space where clients can explore their life story and the challenges that they are facing. I specialize in clinical issues, including addictions, eating disorders, bullying, health concerns, anxiety, and depression. I have experience working with clients ranging from late adolescence to late adulthood. Additionally, I conduct substance and family violence evaluations.
"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do" - Brene Brown. With these words in mind, I work to create an open, caring, and safe space where clients can explore their life story and the challenges that they are facing. I specialize in clinical issues, including addictions, eating disorders, bullying, health concerns, anxiety, and depression. I have experience working with clients ranging from late adolescence to late adulthood. Additionally, I conduct substance and family violence evaluations.
(404) 348-0897 View (404) 348-0897
Photo of Chandler Dunham, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Atlanta, GA
Chandler Dunham
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30324
Chandler loves to work with youth and adults who are coping with mental illness, eating disorders, and trauma using a holistic, compassionate, and strengths-based approach with a trauma-informed perspective. She enjoys helping clients recognize and challenge trauma-related stuck points and develop more self-awareness as to how their past traumas may be influencing their present. Chandler offers counseling with the combination of genuine support and openness and the opportunity for healing through creative expression. Chandler sees therapy as a partnership that can lead clients towards more self-awareness, connection, and growth.
Chandler loves to work with youth and adults who are coping with mental illness, eating disorders, and trauma using a holistic, compassionate, and strengths-based approach with a trauma-informed perspective. She enjoys helping clients recognize and challenge trauma-related stuck points and develop more self-awareness as to how their past traumas may be influencing their present. Chandler offers counseling with the combination of genuine support and openness and the opportunity for healing through creative expression. Chandler sees therapy as a partnership that can lead clients towards more self-awareness, connection, and growth.
(470) 594-6301 View (470) 594-6301
Photo of Katie Pinholster, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
Katie Pinholster
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, CRC
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30328
I hold a masters degree in Counseling from Georgia State University, and am licensed as a professional counselor in the state of Georgia. In addition, I am a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor. I work with children, teens and adults. Although I have a particular affinity for connecting with adolescents in a genuine, authentic way to help them work through family, peer, and academic issues, I am also passionate about helping adults. My other areas of expertise include eating disorders, substance use, and women's issues.
I hold a masters degree in Counseling from Georgia State University, and am licensed as a professional counselor in the state of Georgia. In addition, I am a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor. I work with children, teens and adults. Although I have a particular affinity for connecting with adolescents in a genuine, authentic way to help them work through family, peer, and academic issues, I am also passionate about helping adults. My other areas of expertise include eating disorders, substance use, and women's issues.
(404) 857-1827 View (404) 857-1827
Photo of Cathy Weinstein Schiff LCSW, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Atlanta, GA
Cathy Weinstein Schiff LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, ACSW
Verified Verified
Atlanta, GA 30326
My areas of expertise include Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Eating Disorders, Marital/Relationship Issues, Codependency, Grief, Divorce Adjustment, Parenting Issues and Education, and Stress Management.
I am an LCSW specializing in individual, couple's and family therapy. My approach is eclectic, incorporating a variety of techniques to meet the needs of each client. Therapy is a collaborative effort and I enjoy guiding clients to identify their own strengths and inner resources. I believe in giving clients the tools and support they need to move ahead on their own, knowing support is available when they need it from me. I have new patient appointment availability to see older adolescents and adults of all ages. I welcome all individuals regardless of sex, religion, sexual preference, or race.
My areas of expertise include Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Eating Disorders, Marital/Relationship Issues, Codependency, Grief, Divorce Adjustment, Parenting Issues and Education, and Stress Management.
I am an LCSW specializing in individual, couple's and family therapy. My approach is eclectic, incorporating a variety of techniques to meet the needs of each client. Therapy is a collaborative effort and I enjoy guiding clients to identify their own strengths and inner resources. I believe in giving clients the tools and support they need to move ahead on their own, knowing support is available when they need it from me. I have new patient appointment availability to see older adolescents and adults of all ages. I welcome all individuals regardless of sex, religion, sexual preference, or race.
(404) 537-3834 View (404) 537-3834
Photo of Cassandra Barro, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Atlanta, GA
Cassandra Barro
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, MSW
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Atlanta, GA 30324
Cassandra specializes in working with eating disorders and perfectionism with a focus on teens and young adults. She is specially trained in Family Based Treatment (FBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Cassandra is a solution focused therapist, for clients in search of specific behavior change and active goal setting. She is also passionate about women’s health and helping women access their inner strength to make positive change in their lives related to assertion, self-esteem and building self-confidence.
Cassandra specializes in working with eating disorders and perfectionism with a focus on teens and young adults. She is specially trained in Family Based Treatment (FBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Cassandra is a solution focused therapist, for clients in search of specific behavior change and active goal setting. She is also passionate about women’s health and helping women access their inner strength to make positive change in their lives related to assertion, self-esteem and building self-confidence.
(404) 948-5429 View (404) 948-5429

Eating Disorders Therapists

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.