Counselling can support people recovering from anorexia

The death of Big Brother star Nikki Grahame has widened discussions around eating disorders.  Therapy can play an important role in supporting people recovering from anorexia, says BACP member Ruth Micallef.

Ruth says studies have shown that untreated or unresolved childhood experiences and trauma can contribute to the development of eating disorders.

And she says that counselling can help to resolve issues and should be seen as an essential element of a multi-discipline approach.

Counselling support

“Anorexia nervosa is a complex coping mechanism that deserves a multi-disciplinary team,” said Ruth, who is based in Edinburgh where she specialises in trauma and eating disorders.

“Last year, I trained under Dr Susan Simpson in Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders. I took away how essential counselling and therapeutic support can be for those recovering from anorexia nervosa.

“Her incredible studies highlight the prevalence and impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences on the manifestation of so many eating disorders emerging, and that those with eating disorders have higher levels of attachment insecurity.

“It becomes clear counsellors should form part of the multi-disciplinary teams as essential team players.

“From processing trauma and adverse life experiences, to developing healthier attachment styles and coping strategies, therapeutic professionals and early intervention play a significant role.”

Ruth’s comments follow the death of Big Brother star Nikki Grahame. Nikki died aged 38 after her eating disorder spiralled during the coronavirus lockdown.

Tragic and sad

Ruth said: “Nikki Grahame’s death is a tragic and sad loss, and she is one of too many.

“Let us push for earlier intervention, for teams that support patients in all areas of their recovery.

“Though often seen as holistic rather than clinical, it’s clear that counsellors should be part of the solution.”

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