What Types of Therapy Can Help You Get Through an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are a set of disorders that involve food, thoughts about food and self, and compulsions. They can accompany stress, sleep issues, physical health problems, and other mental health conditions like depression. 

If you are going through an eating disorder, you may be wondering what types of therapy are available and how therapy can help you get through the eating disorder to heal. There are plenty of options available, so let’s get into it. 

Types of Therapies for Eating Disorders and How They Help

Here are the top types of therapies for eating disorders available and how they can help you. 

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy constitutes several types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Both types of therapy are helpful for those going through eating disorders. 

In behavioral therapy, you will often talk through your mental processes, feelings, and experiences. You will be taught new behavioral coping skills that can help you combat the little voice in your head that might accompany your eating disorder. 

You will also be given eating disorder resources and education, so you can make informed choices for your care. 

Trauma Therapy

Did you know that food addiction and bulimia have been linked to PTSD? Trauma can be one cause of any eating disorder, so healing the trauma that causes it is a great way to start healing the eating disorder itself. 

A trauma therapist will help you work through your traumas relating to food and your body. It may be challenging to discuss these things at first, but it is crucial. 

The types of trauma therapy you might encounter include: 

  • EMDR
  • Attachment theory
  • Family systems
  • Energy healing work
  • Trauma talk therapy

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a therapy designed for anxiety disorders, and especially obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It can also be used for eating disorders with a compulsive or obsessive component. 

In exposure therapy, you will be exposed to the things that cause you anxiety or cause you to want to perform a compulsive behavior. You will be asked to sit with that uncomfortable feeling for as long as possible and track how your anxiety changed throughout the exercise. 

The theory is that, with time, you will start to be able to handle the anxiety better, and it will lower to a more manageable threshold. You should always do this practice with a trained and licensed therapist, as it can be highly distressing at first. 

Eating Disorder Rehabilitation 

For those who are struggling with their eating disorder to the point of needing physical or long-term emotional help, you may want to consider an eating disorder rehabilitation center. 

At the center, you will have a team of doctors and therapists, as well as a nutritionist, to help you relearn how to healthily eat, care for your body, and make sure you’re not in danger. These treatment centers are often longer-term, meaning you’ll stay with them for a few weeks to a few months. 

Once your medical team has decided you’re ready, you can leave the center and go back to living your regular life. 


Now you’ve learned about some of the top therapies for eating disorders. If you’re considering trying out any of these therapies, make sure to do your research first so that you can find the best option for you. You can also check out BetterHelp for advice and information about eating disorders. 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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