What's the best treatment approach for Anorexia? (hint: it's not psychoanalysis)
I never resonated with the stereotypical description of “wanting to be thin” or “feeling like I needed to lose weight”. When I went to therapy, I was told my eating disorder was caused by trauma during my childhood. But what trauma? I didn’t even read magazines, so which models was I trying to look like?
As if I wasn’t confused enough about why I couldn’t “just eat”, healthcare providers and treatment teams shoved words down my throat. I was the “sick one” who didn’t have a clear vision of reality, so I felt I had no option but to believe them…
It wasn’t until I committed to recovery out of dire desperation, gained the weight, committed to therapy, and STILL wasn’t mentally changing, that I took matters into my own hands. What was REALLY going on? So I started reading…A LOT. Books, research articles, anything I could get my hands on. I learned that Anorexia (and all mental health issues!) has a GENETIC BASIS, meaning it is ENCRYPTED in your DNA. It explains why one person can go on a diet and “bounce back” right after, while someone with Anorexia genetics can develop a full-blown eating disorder if they lose even a few pounds.
I learned that there’s a whole world of genetic research and theories outside of the typical psychoanalytical model of Anorexia…but the healthcare system wasn’t (and widely still isn’t) using them, because these theories completely contradict everything they have gone to school for.
This newfound knowledge of my illness being a biological one rather than a mental one, gave me the permission slip I needed to stop blaming myself. It also gave my loved ones permission to stop blaming themselves. Similar to how Autism is often blamed on vaccines or “refrigerator mothers”, eating disorders are often blamed on parents for “not taking proper care of their child”. No one is to blame for an eating disorder or illness of any sort. As much as some healthcare professionals like to believe, eating disorders don’t have a single cause. Anorexia specifically, is triggered by energy deficit, which is often the result of a dozen other factors.
I definitely think therapy has its time and place. It CAN help. But trying to “treat” someone with an eating disorder by telling them they need to “heal their trauma” is like trying to treat cancer with talk-therapy. So then, what IS the best treatment for an eating disorder? Honestly, I don’t think it’s a matter of “what”. I believe it’s a matter of HOW. Just like there is no ONE way to treat every cancer, there is no ONE approach to recovery.
Everyone is unique, meaning every single person needs a unique approach to their recovery. WHAT works for one person, will not work for the next. So instead of asking “what” the best approach is, I believe in asking “how” one can approach healing. Instead of asking “what” one should eat, I believe in asking “how” this person wants to feel about food. Instead of asking “what” the best way is to recover, I believe in asking “how” one wants to embark on this journey to freedom.
Because I felt there was a dire need for this individualized approach to healing, I created my 1:1 Coaching Program. In working with clients, I look at each person as a WHOLE, establishing key strengths & traits that can be used to beat an illness that was never your fault (or anyone else’s, for that matter). No, I am not a therapist. I didn’t study psychology or nutrition. I am not Sigmund Freud. I am Livia. I am Livia, a proud warrior that is recovered from an eating disorder and inspires others to do the same.
When it comes to healing and learning how to recover, I want to ask you: HOW do you want to recover? You can learn it from someone who has lived experience and has come out stronger because of it, or you can learn it from someone who learned it from a book. It’s your choice…but in case you DO want to learn it from someone who came out stronger, you can inquire about 1:1 coaching HERE <3
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