Disordered Eating & Body Image
Heal your relationship with food and find a sense of home in your body.
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.
Individuals from historically marginalized communities often receive implicit and explicit messaging about their bodies that cause significant harm. We hear negative things about our skin tone (shadism), our hair texture, eye/skin colour, racialized facial features, body shape and stature that make us feel a deep sense of shame and lack of belonging. We internalize the message that our bodies are not good enough. And this makes us vulnerable to toxic sociocultural messaging about the value of thinness. “Maybe I will feel better in my body if I am thin?”
You no longer have to feel like a prisoner in your own skin. You can learn to reconnect, honour, and celebrate your body as it is.
Psychotherapy with a qualified mental health professional 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, culture, 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.
Disordered Eating & Body Image FAQs
It is natural to have questions about therapy for disordered eating and body image as you consider seeking support for yourself or a loved one. We have compiled answers to commonly asked questions below. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.
- blank -
I am concerned that people might find out I see you. Is this possible?
We understand that therapy is stigmatized in many cultures. We also understand 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 our offices and our work together is held in strict confidence. Our therapists 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 a client and anything that you say to us cannot be repeated without your consent. Full privacy and confidentiality guidelines will be discussed with you before beginning therapy.
I’m afraid of therapy for disordered eating and body image. How can I handle this?
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 am part of a culture/religion/community where fasting is part of our spiritual practice. Will therapy for eating disordered behaviour will interfere with my spiritual practice?
We are committed to helping you maintain connection to your religious, cultural and community ties and practices. Our work will be collaborative and may involve consultation with spiritual leaders to help ensure that your needs as a whole person – mind, body, spirit – are met.
What are the benefits of therapy for disordered eating and body image difficulties? I heard it takes time. Is it worth it?
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 a 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.