Let's be real for a minute. Therapy is expensive. $150 expensive. While the goal is to make the best use of your time (and money), it takes a good two to three months of work to start to see some effective change and don't be surprised if it takes longer. This does not mean you are a failure if you are still struggling with your eating disorder after five months, or even a year. This does mean an eating disorder is a nasty, nasty possessive thing that doesn't want to let you go. You didn't get here in two or three months- it's likely to take a little longer getting out.
The first four sessions are spent gathering information and gives me a chance to establish context. Who are you? Where did you come from? What did you like about growing up? What did you not like? What were you 'supposed' to do in your family? We learn a lot about how we expect the world to work from our experiences growing up. The next four sessions applies some concepts of change in a more theoretical sense. There is not only so much for me to learn about your unique relationship with your eating disorder, but a truckload of information for me to share about what an eating disorder is, how it works, how it doesn't work, and a road map for what's ahead.
Remember, I've been there. In other words, this isn't my first goat rodeo. Plus, fifteen or so years as an eating disorder therapist has given me another truckload of tools. The following four sessions start to put some change into play. Those twelve sessions break down to about three months at a weekly rate. There is not magic about weekly sessions. Most people do them for the sake of time and finances. I've had people come in and knock out five sessions in a week that had the time and financial resources to do it. This means a necessary glance at your budget and pocketbook.
Most clients stick around way longer than three months. The maintenance part of therapy can be the most grueling- it's where you expect a lot from yourself, but you are really still a kid with training wheels! This is the time to fall over. This is the time to make mistakes- lots of them- and let's talk about them. Experience really is the best learning tool!
* A side note to working with eating disorders- you may be asked, or encouraged to see a doctor for various medical clearance and to work with a nutritionist. While this isn't the case for every client, compliance is crucial to the therapeutic process.
It's important to know that therapy doesn't come without cost. It's that, 'you have to give up something to get something'. There's no way to sugarcoat that therapy feels worse before it gets better. You will be uncomfortable. You will have to be vulnerable to a stranger- a well qualified to help stranger, but still a stranger. I will do my best to help you feel comfortable. I've been on the other side of the room too. Don't be surprised. Therapists aren't perfect and sometimes experience is the best educator. You are going to have to give up some of the things you are committed to that aren't working for you. We will work together to put context to the purpose of the those things and look at how they worked for you in the past. We want to recognize that. An eating disorder helped you get through a very scary world!
You will FEEL. A LOT. It will be scary. You won't be alone. You will be okay. It won't feel that way. You won't be alone. I repeat. You won't be alone. FEELING is scary. Most of the reason it is scary is because we haven't been taught the language to understand our emotions or the gifts that we get from the feelings. I'm here to help navigate through the mud. I'm here to separate your feelings from your thoughts about food and your body. It can happen!