You deserve to get treatment from a professional who is experienced and well-trained in leading evidence-based approaches for eating disorders (EDs). I've included some questions below you might ask prospective treaters and my responses.
1. Do you have experience treating clients with EDs and for how long? I have been treating EDs for over fifteen years, including clients with anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, and childhood feeding disorders. I have also been trained in Family-Based Treatment (FBT, or the Maudsley Method) for adolescent eating disorders.
2. Do you have training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder? These are currently the most well-established short-term, behavioral treatments for these disorders. I have trained with the founders/writers of these manuals who are from Oxford University in the UK. The standard of care is an initial 20 session treatment with a focus on increasing awareness of eating habits and challenging thoughts and behaviors around the over-evaluation of shape and weight and their control. There are other treatment approaches with evidence bases and empirical support, including Interpersonal Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, both of which I have a background and experience in working with clients.
In addition to these treatments, psychodynamic psychotherapy (depth-oriented, relational treatment) has been established as beneficial after the initial alleviation of ED 'symptoms' and related distress. While there is frequently significant relief with brief, symptom-focused interventions like the ones described above, some forms of psychological pain do not remit or respond to skills training. Furthermore, many of the underlying difficulties that give rise to ED behaviors need to be addressed with additional support and treatment. In my work, I integrate symptom and longer-term approaches to provide the best opportunities for clients to create enduring changes and find lives with meaning.
3. Are you a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders? This organization is dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders and hosts annual conferences where professionals can convene with colleagues around the world about developments in the field. There is also a monthly journal where articles on recent developments and research are published. I have been a member for over a decade, and have also published in the journal (see Satir et al., 2009, under Writing section).
4. Are you a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (CEDS)? There is a movement in the field of mental health to establish credentialing in an effort to help clients identify 'experts' who have a demonstrated degree of excellence in training and experience in specific areas of practice. One of these organizations in the eating disorders community is called the International Association of Eating Disorders (IAEDP). I am currently the only psychologist practicing in Boulder and one of a select few in Denver who has been awarded this distinction.