How can I find a therapist who specializes in eating disorders?

Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) often require treatment by a team of providers, including a licensed psychotherapist, nutritionist, physician and psychiatrist -- all of whom have specialized knowledge and training in eating disorders.

These are questions you can ask a therapist to determine if they are an eating disorder specialist:
  • Have you had specialized training specifically in eating disorders? What kind of training? How long?
  • Have you ever trained or worked in a hospital eating disorders program? Where? How long?
  • Do you have any credentials showing you are an eating disorder specialist? What are they? Through what certifying organization? (note: CEDS and FAED are highest regarded credentials)
  • Do you currently have a supervisor who is an eating disorders specialist? Who is it?
  • What professional eating disorder associations are you a member of? NOTE: The major associations are: Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) and National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)
  • What eating disorder journals do you read? NOTE: The major journals and newsletters are: International Journal of Eating Disorders, Journal of the Treatment and Prevention of Eating Disorders, Renfrew Perspectives, IAEDP Connections, Eating Disorders Review, Health At Every Size
  • What continuing education have you received or taught on eating disorders in the past two years? NOTE: Therapists should attend seminars or conventions or engage in self-study for continuing education credits to continue their professional development on a regular basis.
If a therapist has no formal eating disorders training, hospital experience or supervisor, it would be advisable to find a specialist with appropriate qualifications to help you.

All eating disorders require professional help and are curable if treatment begins early enough. NORMAL recommends that parents FIRST contact IAEDP and AED to find clinicians who are members of these organizations. Often, but not always, these clinicians have higher levels of experience serving eating disorders patients. The other nonprofit organizations are wonderful resources, but don’t always screen therapists for their credentials in eating disorder treatment prior to listing them on their site.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.