Posted on November 25th, 2020 in Eating Disorders
Written by Lauren Harding

Eating disorder recovery coaches assist clients in reaching their treatment goals in real life situations by providing ongoing support, challenges, and serving as both a role model and a guide. Coaching is an important aspect of treatment by accompanying clients in everyday situations as well as providing exposure and response prevention. Coaches are trained in how to best support a client in making day-to-day behavior changes necessary for recovery.

Coaches bring a level of care that typically other professional members of the treatment team cannot provide. Experiences such as social dining or clothing shopping can be triggering for someone who struggles with an eating disorder. This can cause feelings of anxiety and distress, which can often lead to eating disorder behaviors. Coaches provide accessible support in these moments when the eating disorder voice is loudest. A coach is available to clients in between sessions through text messages or phone calls to support during difficult moments, share accomplishments, and to simply help by holding the client accountable. Sober coaches have been implementing this type of response prevention for years with substance abuse clients; this same kind of assistance for those with eating disorders makes a significant difference in their progress towards recovery.

Eating disorder recovery is typically not a linear process. Coaches are specially trained to help clients work towards their own unique recovery goals, some examples are eating meals and/or fear foods together, challenging specific thoughts and behaviors and heal negative body image. Many coaches are recovered from eating disorders themselves, which adds unique insight and support to treatment.

Eating disorder recovery coaching is not considered a substitute for clinical treatment or therapy although it can assist individuals who are within the contemplative stage of their own eating disorder. It can be a great first step in forming a treatment team, it can be an addition to the treatment team or a final step in an individual’s journey towards recovery. We can help you determine if coaching is the right step for you in your journey and tailor the sessions to your needs.

Coaches also can support parents/family members and provide the education, knowledge, tools, and resources available to further support them in the process of getting help. Parents can often feel trapped and blame themselves during their child’s struggle with an eating disorder. The balance of encouraging healthy habits and challenging behaviors among loved ones can become a battle within homes and often can lead to feelings of guilt and conflict. Coaches work with parents to help guide treatment and assess areas of need, while also educating parents on building consciousness, fighting against the diet, thin-obsessed world, and choosing to focus more on the internal self.