EMDR Therapy And Binge Eating

EMDR Therapy, as described in a previous article, What Is EMDR Therapy? is a powerful therapy developed in the 80’s to address trauma. When we look at trauma, it all occurs on a spectrum. While most tend to think of trauma as simply abuse and war, we also see residual effects of trauma in simple experiences like being teased by peers even one time in childhood. We also see the effects of trauma appearing heavily in people who grew up with parents who were emotionally distant and dismissive leading those people to lack a secure attachment base. Trauma can come from any experience. It is just unprocessed information that continues to lead to emotional distress.

What does this have to do with binge eating? In The Birth Of Binge Eating Disorder, I describe the characteristics of binge eating. I have yet to find one client who engages in binge eating and doesn’t have some sort of trauma. This is why it is so difficult to stop the binge eating behavior. When a client comes to us, they are fed up with their behavior and have beaten themselves up because they see their failed attempts to stop as laziness or a lack of willpower. The reality is that when food is tied to trauma, the connection is far to powerful to change on our own. This is where we come in with EMDR.

In our clinic, we use EMDR in two ways. First, we isolate early trauma that has contributed to the need for food as a safety mechanism. This is very scary for most people. The thought of revisiting that early trauma is enough to keep many people from even making that first appointment. The beauty of EMDR is that while it is incredibly intense, it doesn’t require you to talk about the painful details of what happened and it works amazingly fast. I have seen people move through traumatic events in as little as one session. Once we have cleared the past trauma and addressed present triggers for the trauma, we also use EMDR to address the binge eating directly. Often by this point, the urges for binge eating have dramatically decreased in intensity, but we have specific protocols we can use to address the compulsive nature of binge eating that can lead us to eat before we even realize it consciously. If you are interested in trying this powerful therapy or learning more about how it works, call us today!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.

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