Finding The Right Eating Disorder Therapist In Arizona

“One of the most difficult challenges in approaching eating disorders is understanding what is actually happening in the minds of these sufferers. Our understanding must begin with an appreciation of the complexities of our normal relationship with food. From this starting point, we can begin to unravel the interwoven psychological and physical abnormalities that define these eating disorders.”

~ Drs. Jim Kirkpatrick, M.D., and Paul Caldwell, M.D., CCFP(C), Eating Disorders: Everything You Need to Know

If you live in Arizona, it is entirely possible that someone you know and care about is struggling with an eating disorder. Even when they agree to get help, there are so many so-called “experts” in the state that finding the right eating disorders therapist can be difficult.


According to a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Arizona ranks #2 for teenagers who have attempted to control their weight by “purging”, with an incidence rate that is twice the US average.

Those statistics mirror the pervasive scale of the complete problem in Arizona –

  • One out of every five teenage girls in Arizona ages 13 to 18 and one out of every 10 teenage boys intentionally starve themselves daily to maintain or lose weight.
  • One out of every five female adolescents in Arizona will refuse to eat on any given day because they feel “too fat”.
  • Nearly a third of teen boys in Arizona are dieting at any given time, and 10% of those intentionally starve themselves daily.
  • One out of every 10 under age Arizonans either use laxatives or make themselves vomit so they won’t gain any weight.

 By any measure, it is easy to see that there is a need for the therapy and counseling that come along with recovery from such disordered eating. But because the spectrum of eating disorders is so wide and can manifest in so many different ways– binging, purging, laxatives, starving, bulimia, anorexia – finding exactly the right sort of help can seem daunting.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist in AZ Will Have the Proper Level of Education

Because of the seriousness of this disorder, you first want to look for help from a professional with the proper level of education– ideally, someone with a Master’s Degree or above, preferably in psychology, mental health counseling, or a related discipline.

The Right Arizona Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have Specialized Training

Not every “counselor” is necessarily adept at treating individuals suffering from disordered eating. It takes extensive education and specialized training to understand the nuances of treating the various illnesses on the eating disorder spectrum.

The best eating disorder therapist should have completed post-graduate work that included addiction issues with a focus on aspects particular to the treatment of eating disorders.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have the Proper Certifications and Licenses in Arizona

To make sure that your therapist has met established professional standards, you will want to look at their certifications and licensing.

Desirable certifications and licenses include:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • National Certified Counselor
  • Certified Addiction Specialist
  • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist in Mental Health (CEDS)
  • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Nutrition (CEDSN)

The Right Eating Disorders Therapist Can Tailor Treatment to the Individual

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to mental health that will work for 100% of patients 100% of the time. Every person has their own unique needs, and the best therapists are adept at utilizing multiple treatment strategies.

The Right AZ Eating Disorder Therapist Will Offer Trauma Therapy

Although eating disorders are not definitively caused by bad life experiences, traumatic incidents and one’s life can contribute to dysfunctional behaviors and interfere with healing. The best therapists will help you deal with past traumas so you can recover faster.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Have Extensive Experience with Disordered Eating

This illness is about more than just symptoms – is about people and personalities. Your therapist needs to have a proven track record of helping people just like you.

The Right Eating Disorder Therapist Will Work with Other Services

At its worst, disordered eating can be life-threatening. The best therapists will work closely with other medical professionals to ensure that your total health and well-being is protected.

If you live in Arizona and you or someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, contact Empowerment Treatment & Counseling today. Located conveniently in Glendale, they have the RIGHT professionals to help you, whether you live in the Phoenix area or anywhere else in the state.

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