Eating Disorder Therapy

Eating disorders are complex and serious mental health conditions, which affect the individual emotionally, psychologically and physically. The most talked about eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder, however many other people without a specific diagnosis suffer from disordered eating, which can be just as dangerous and detrimental to their health and life.


Much to the frustration of parents/family/friends, it is very normal for people with eating disorders to feel very unsure about recovery or to seem very resistant to change.


Part of them wants to get better, and to live a ‘normal’ life without it, yet another part of them refuses to ‘just eat’.
Eating Disorder Therapy Northern Ireland

To find out more about eating disorders, please visit the fightED website

Eating disorders Belfast
Eating disorder therapy belfast

It is important to know that eating disorders are not actually about food. Eating disorders are a symptom of other underlying issues. The individual becomes preoccupied with thoughts about food, weight, and shape as a way to ‘distract’ themselves from the real issues or problems.

Eating disorders are coping strategies (albeit unhealthy ones), which actually help the individual to manage with everyday life.

I often describe eating disorders as the ‘Frenemy’. To the individual with the eating disorder, it is like their best friend and worst enemy all rolled into one.

It is destructive and dangerous and takes so much away from their life, but it also creates a sense of safety and creates the illusion of appearing to improve their life.

Eating disorders evolve over time, and as they become more entrenched they begin to develop functions, often becoming a way of helping the individual get their needs met.

The thought of giving it up, therefore, can be very frightening, which is why many are resistant to change and unwilling to give it up.

In my view, eating disorder therapy is not about making you gain weight or me taking the eating disorder away from you, but helping you understand it better.

To do this we will think about what it may be giving you and why it is so important to you. And once we have identified some of the functions, we will begin to think about how we might get these needs met in healthier, non-eating disordered ways.

We will explore the eating disorder ‘voice’, trying to reduce the power it holds over you, and at the same time work together to strengthen your own voice.

Part of the work also involves moving the control away from the eating disorder, and giving it back to you, putting you back in charge of your decisions and life.

Ultimately, however, whether you choose to hold on to the eating disorder or let it go is always your choice.


The complexity of eating disorders, together with the associated medical consequences, means that individuals with eating disorders require specialist treatment by specifically qualified professionals.

A comprehensive treatment plan is necessary to ensure you are safe and well.

No matter where you choose to seek treatment, it should always include psychotherapy, dietetic support, and medical support.


In my own practice I see recovery involving several components: psychological recovery, nutritional recovery, and physical recovery, and to ensure you feel supported in all areas of recovery, I work closely with a dietician experienced in the field of eating disorders, and will always work alongside your GP.


I first undertook eating disorder training with the National Centre for Eating Disorders in London over 12 years ago, and since then I have continued to study in this field.

I am now qualified to Master Practitioner level in the treatment of eating disorders and obesity.

I hold a Diploma in Eating Disorder Practitioner Skills, a Diploma in Nutritional Interventions and a Diploma in Psychological Approaches in Essential Obesity.


In my opinion, the magic of therapy lies in the relationship between client and therapist. It is this safe, trusting relationship, which allows the client to find their own way and begin to bring about changes.


I Use My Own Personal Experiences To Give Me A Deep Understanding Of My Clients, And This Insight Into Your World Will Help You Feel Heard, Less Alone And Truly Understood.


The road to recovery is often long and hard, with a lot of stumbles along the way.

The thought of life without your eating disorder can feel scary and overwhelming, and there will be times you cling to it and times when you hate it, and there will definitely be times when you want to give up.

But full recovery is absolutely possible, and it is worth the fight.

Deborah Howard