How to Choose an Eating Disorder Therapist
It is extremely important that your therapist is someone that you trust and who understands the personal experience of your eating disorder. Choosing a therapist is similar to selecting a guide. You need someone who is skilled and experienced; patient and caring and someone who can help you get to your destination — Life! Here are some guidelines to help in your search:
- Choose a therapist who is certified as an eating disorder specialist. The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals provides a certification process. You can contact them for a list of therapists with this credential at 888-245-6555.
- Choose a therapist who has training and experience working with people with eating disorders. Ask specifically how many people they have treated in the past and how many they are treating now.
- Choose a therapist who has received advanced training as a therapist or counselor. For example, someone who has received a Masters degree or a Ph.D. in counseling or psychology.
- Ask your potential therapist if they have an eating disorder group that you can join and if they have experience facilitating eating disorder groups.
- Determine if the therapist presently works with a physician and/or psychiatrist. It will be important to have a physician monitor your physical well-being and manage any necessary medications during your treatment.
- Determine if a registered dietitian is affiliated with the therapist. Dietary counseling is a necessary part of the treatment process for anorexia and bulimia.
- Inquire about the type of treatment philosophy or model of treatment that the therapists use in their approach. The Addiction Model and the Recovery Model are the two most recognized approaches to eating disorder treatment. You should understand each model well enough to make a decision about your level of comfort with each of them.