Eileen Beirich, M.A., MFT
Eating Disorders & Adoption Issues
Psychotherapy Services Offered
Eating Disorders & Adoption Issues
DO YOU HAVE AN EATING DISORDER?
A beginning assessment for eating disorders gnerally includes the following characteristics.
A person with bulimia can be self-indulgent and have a difficult time delaying gratification in many areas. She/he can be secretive and dishonest by lying, stealing food and money. There may be tooth damage and gum disease. It is not unusual for a bulimic to be involved with drug and alcohol abuse. There may also be abuse of laxatives, diuretics and exercise. Repeated vomiting can cause mood swings due to the chemical imbalance of purging. Bulimia encourages isolation. Isolation encourages bulimia.
Anorexia incorporates low self -esteem too. The person seems to have a misperception of body size, of hunger, satiety and other bodily sensations. She/he may be an over achiever, be compliant and exhibit unusual amounts of anxiety causing difficulty in decision making. It is not unusual for an anorexic to want to cook and control the family's eating while restricting her/himself about food intake. The person may isolate more and more by eating alone and being moody and hostile. If the isolation is mentioned by family members, the person might isolate even more.
What to Do
If a person notices someone they know or love having symptoms of an eating disorder, it is a good idea to tell that person about your concerns. The person should be encouraged to see a primary physician first to assess their physical condition. Then the doctor may refer the patient to a mental health professional who is a specialist working with eating disorders. Psychotherapy helps the patient define feelings and organize behavior toward resuming normal eating habits and activities. A registered dietitian is consulted to manage the food plan portion of the person's recovery. Should medication be needed for mood swings, a psychiatrist can be consulted. The approach to recovery is a team effort beginning with the patient and the family and incorporating several healthcare professionals. Eating disorders are family problems. They affect the whole family. So including family members can be very helpful. Family therapy, as well as individual sessions are part of the treatment plan. Recovery, for the person effected, involves owning the symptoms and redefining them in an informative and healing way. It involves learning to control obsessive thoughts about food and focusing instead on the conflicts, fears, and insecurities that underlie the eating disorder.
Elieen Beirich, MFT, works with individuals, couples, and families. Her professional experience focus on treating eating disorders, and adoption, attachment and self regulation work. Elieen is an adult adoptee who has completed a search and reunion. Elieen is a Clinical Member of the Independent Psychotherapy Network, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, American Adoption Congress and ALMA.
I practice as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I use a Family Systems approach. That means reviewing family of origin issues with individuals, couples and families. When looking at those kind of issues with people, the looking often begins to tell a story about how a person or persons have lived up until this time.
Since I have experienced being a professional artist/weaver, before being a therapist, I like to talk about how a life can be like a tapestry. The picture on a tapestry is made up of many, many threads and areas of color. Those threads are laid down next to each other to create each color area. Our eye blends the colors to perceive and image.
Impressionist painters, more than a century ago, used the same kind of technique, tiny dots or whisps of paint, to create a picture. Sometimes a person does not have the tapestry picture of his/her life completed. It might be damaged or it might never have been finished at all. An incomplete tapestry picture, (unresolved conflicts within relationships), can cause uncomfortable feelings, such as guilt and anxiety. When pain from these often misunderstood feelings gets unmanageable, he/she may seek out a therapist.
The therapist can coach a person to unravel and begin to reweave life threads into a clearer view of life. This is where I can come into the picture. I see myself as a coach/weaver of life threads. I can encourage patients to make their own repairs to their tapestry. A person begins to do this by noticing, owning and defining the areas of threads in their tapestry that need change.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I believe that an individual is entitled to the opportunity to choose to work, to complete his/her own life tapestry. What life reward through therapy? Your own masterpiece.
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Copyright ©1998 - 2006 Carol Boulware, Ph.D.
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