It Might Be Time for a New Eating Disorder Therapist If:
Choosing the right therapist for your mental health journey is crucial. Therapists, including those who specialize in eating disorders, must approach their patients with empathy, understanding, and a willingness to adapt their methods to suit the unique needs of each individual. Here are some signs that it might be time to consider a new eating disorder therapist.
You Are Given Ultimatums for Care
A therapeutic relationship should be built on trust, collaboration, and respect. If your therapist imposes strict ultimatums such as forcing you to follow every item on a contract, this could indicate a lack of flexibility and genuine understanding. Instead, your therapist should work with you to develop a treatment plan that respects your autonomy and individual needs. You are a whole person, not just an eating disorder.
There Is No Discussion About How Social Factors Impact Your Experience
A competent therapist recognizes that various social factors such as race, class, gender, weight stigma, disability, and sexuality can significantly impact your experience with an eating disorder. If your therapist does not invite conversations about these issues, it might be a sign that they are not considering the full context of your unique experience.
Outdated and Harmful Techniques Are Used
Techniques such as body tracing and ‘pretend funerals’ are outdated and can be harmful. Instead, therapy should involve evidence-based techniques that are proven to be effective and safe for treating eating disorders. It might be time to look for a new therapist if your current one uses these outdated methods.
Your Therapist Defines Recovery for You
Recovery is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. If your therapist is setting arbitrary recovery goals that don’t align with your values or aspirations, it may be a sign that they are not listening to your needs or respecting your individuality.
Most Sessions Are About Food Intake
While it’s important to discuss food intake during therapy for an eating disorder, it shouldn’t be the sole focus. A good therapist will also focus on underlying triggers, relational patterns, and emotions. If most of your sessions revolve around what you did or didn’t eat that week, it might be time to look for a new therapist.
Neurodivergent Accommodations Are Not Honored
Given the high overlap of eating disorders with various forms of neurodivergence, such as OCD, Autism, and ADHD, it’s crucial for therapists to provide accommodations for neurodivergent clients. If your therapist does not assess for or honor neurodivergent accommodations, it may be a signal to find a new therapist who will.
Sessions Consistently Feel Like Lectures
Therapy should be a safe, supportive space where you feel heard and understood. If your sessions consistently feel like lectures and leave you feeling more ashamed than supported, it might be time to find a new therapist.
Remember that it’s okay to seek a new therapist if the current one is not meeting your needs. Your mental health journey is unique, and you deserve a therapist who recognizes and respects that.
Written by Allyson Inez Ford, LPCC
Allyson is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who specializes in body justice and eating disorder therapy. You can find more of her insights on her social media page: