What Therapists Do That Is Helpful To My Recovery

The following are a few responses shared by clients in recovery regarding positive support from their therapists.

  • They allow all feelings (the good and the bad)
  • They speak in the moment
  • They tell the truth without judgment
  • They ask specific questions and draw out information
  • They don’t assume things
  • They acknowledge our fear and our ambivalence regarding getting better
  • They know that it takes time
  • They validate and acknowledge our experience
  • They are not emotionally connected to our behaviors


Examples of specific questions and statements you as a friend/family member/loved one can ask or make:

 “Is your eating disorder self giving you a hard time right now?”

“I know part of you sees it that way, but is there another part of you also?”

“Is your eating disorder voice saying something?”

“Maybe I can help you not listen to that part.”

“What would your healthy self say?”


Possible statements made by someone with an eating disorder and suggested responses:

 “I am a vegetarian.”

Instead of: “Being a vegetarian is a form of food restriction that serves your eating disorder,”

Try: “That is your choice.  I would like to help you learn to be a healthy vegetarian.”

“I don’t want to talk about my binge.”

Instead of: “It is important for you to talk to me about it if I am going to help you.”

Try: “I will accept that, can you tell me why you don’t want to talk about it?”

“I don’t want to gain weight.”

Instead of: “You have to gain weight to get better.”

Try: “I would like to understand what that would mean for you, gaining weight.”

(this can help the person discuss the purpose of the low weight and its pros and cons)


 If you would like to learn more about working with a clinician to support you in your recovery, we offer a complimentary 15-minute call.


This blog is from The Eating Disorder Sourcebook