Spirituality: A Critical Component in Eating Disorder Treatment

Girl thinking about Spirituality

Contributor: Bethany Casson, LCPC – Christian Program Coordinator at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

Physical diseases like cancer can manifest in all areas of the body: bone, brain, and breast to name only a few. Psychiatric illnesses such as eating disorders are no different.

An adolescent severely restricts food, delighting in the commensurate weight loss; a young woman consumes an extreme amount of food, completing the ritual through a compensatory action such as purging or excessive exercise; an adult binges on a massive amount of calorie-dense food, enduring the short and long-term consequences of such intense intake.

Although anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder are unique to the individual, the outcome is not. An eating disorder plays to win.

The disease ultimately weakens the mind, devastates the body, and more critically, damages the spirit. This is precisely why spirituality is an extraordinarily important component of the recovery process.

Human beings are complex, multi-faceted creatures, comprised of a body, mind, and spirit. Each element is equally important. As such, after prolonged abuse, the spirit needs restoration along with the body and mind. This comes in a new or renewed connection with a power greater than herself.

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It can be called a higher power, the universe or God. The names or labels are irrelevant. What matters is that there is a very real force waiting to extend hope, compassion, support, and healing to every hurting or wounded individual—all the person must do is ask.

As trust is gained, it is hoped that each person in recovery grows to understand that she has intrinsic value and worth, not because of anything she has done or will do, but simply because she exists on this earth. Whether a woman or girl recognizes it or not, her life plays a vital role in the unfolding of human history. In other words, she matters.

Recovery is difficult. So why would anyone go it alone, when there is someone/something available to walk with her through the journey? Especially, when all it takes to ignite this powerful force is three simple words: please help me.


About Our Sponsor:

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center provides quality, holistic care to women and adolescent girls ages 12 and older. We treat individuals struggling to overcome eating disorders, substance abuse, mood and anxiety disorders, trauma and post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), and co-occurring disorders. Our campus is located on 43 wooded acres just outside Chicago. This peaceful setting offers an ideal environment for women and girls to focus on recovery.


About the Author:

Bethany Casson ImageBethany Casson, LCPC – Christian Program Coordinator is passionate about her work because she has the privilege of helping people pursuing recovery to develop hope. It is an amazing experience to be a part of a person’s journey and help them to realize who they are designed to be.

As the Christian program coordinator, Bethany supports the spiritual development and growth of residents regarding their relationship with God. This is accomplished through encouraging involvement in spirituality groups, Christian groups, religious services both on and off campus, and one-on-one therapeutic support.

Bethany began her journey with faith and counseling integration more than 10 years ago when she began working at a Christian counseling center. She worked as the program administrator for her graduate school’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program after graduation. She started at Timberline Knolls as a behavioral health specialist, (BHS), before transitioning into the role of therapist.

Bethany obtained her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Edinboro University, Pa., then went on to Wheaton College, Ill., where she earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She belongs to the American Counseling Association (ACA).


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 a 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 March 1, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on March 1, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

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.