Understanding of Psychology for ED Recovery on a Global Level

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While the concept of psychotherapy can be interpreted in various ways and applied in many different circumstances and situations, there is no question that psychology plays an important role in eating disorder recovery.

By nature, eating disorders are complex diseases and the most fatal of psychiatric illnesses. Years of research on eating disorders have uncovered the complexity of eating disorders, with multiple factors involved in the development of these diseases, including biological and environmental components.

Applied psychology in the form of psychotherapy can be an invaluable resource for addressing some of these complex components that contribute to eating disorders.

Types of Psychotherapy

When it comes to eating disorder treatment, there are many different psychotherapy approaches that can be applied for recovery. Wherever you may be around the world, it is important to work with a team that takes an evidenced-based treatment approach that helps address the unique issues you might be facing.

Various psychotherapy techniques are specific for addressing certain behaviors, and it is critical to integrate the most effective forms based on the needs present. Specialized psychotherapy techniques should be practiced and implemented by professionals well-versed in the field, particularly individuals who are familiar with eating disorders.

For example, an individual who may be recovering from sexual abuse and trauma may benefit from an array of psychotherapy techniques as part of eating disorder treatment, including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) combined with experiential techniques, like art therapy or equine-assisted activities [1].

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be helpful in addressing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that may also be present alongside an eating disorder. CBT and interpersonal psychotherapy have also been shown as an effective form psychological approach for the treatment of bulimia and binge eating disorder.

A Global Practice for Eating Disorder Treatment

Evidenced-based treatment remains the preferential approach to addressing the complexity of eating disorders, including psychological treatments.

While there has not been one specialized treatment that has been shown to be superior for individuals suffering with eating disorders, ongoing efforts among clinicians on a global basis are working to expand the implementation of evidenced-based treatments.

One of the important measures in understanding the effectiveness of psychological treatments for eating disorders is to assess long-term outcomes, including patients who may continue to experience chronic symptoms related to the eating disorder.

Expanding access to appropriate psychological care on a global basis is also an important advance for the eating disorder community at large.

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Contributing Writer for Eating Disorder Hope.

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing,

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH and nutrition private practice.


[1]: Good Therapy, “Abuse/Survivors of Abuse”, http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/abuse#Psychotherapy for Abuse Survivors Accessed 20 May 2017

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on June 23, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 23, 2017.
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.