Therapy for eating disorders

by Necole
(Long Beach)

Hi i am a female and 19 yrs old, im new to therapy and have only had 3 sessions so far. I have eating issues but i guess it would fall under Eating Disorder NOS Not Otherwise Specified, because i dont binge and purge all the time just on and off, i have lost my period, hair became thin at one point and some other symptoms but my weigh is not low enough for anorexia ( im 5'1 and weigh 98 lbs) i decided to go because i still feel fat and feel that i should loose at least another 4 lbs. My question though is my therapist is the only one that i have told so far about my ed but he still hasnt given me a plan or goals, all the sessions were about what i did and how i felt and so on. Is that normal or should i wait because i really dont wanna waste money on just talking about my issues rather than setting up goals to solve it. Thanks for your answer i know its a long question.

Ben's Answer:

This is a good question. Therapists differ on their approaches to working with eating disorders and other issues. Some make clear goals early in treatment, and other's don't emphasize goals as much. Personally I think when it comes to treating eating disorders it is more important to have some concrete goals set. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your therapist and feel that he is able to listen and understand you well, and also able to give you some useful tools to use to help yourself. Three sessions is still very early in the therapy process, but I think it would be very useful to come right out and ask him this very question. Anytime a client wants to know the plan for their treatment, the therapist should be more than willing to collaborate with them in making a plan that meets their needs.

Having said that, it's important to understand that eating disorders are about feelings. It's always good to set up goals to solve your problems, but you can't treat yourself like a machine, or a problem to be solved. Talking about your feelings -- your deepest feelings -- IS the therapy, and it takes time to get there.

Never be afraid to ask your therapist anything - especially regarding the direction of your therapy. Discussing those things are an important aspect of treatment.

I wish you the best,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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