How EMDR Therapy Can Help with Eating Disorders

How EMDR Therapy Can Help with Eating Disorders

How EMDR Therapy Can Help with Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a serious and complex mental health issue that can have severe consequences on one's physical and emotional health. People with eating disorders often experience feelings of low self-esteem, shame, and guilt. They may struggle with body image issues and deal with anxiety and depression. While there are different types of therapy available for eating disorders, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is gaining popularity as an effective treatment method. In this blog post, we'll explore how EMDR therapy can help individuals with eating disorders.

What is EMDR therapy?

EMDR therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has been found effective for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It helps individuals process traumatic memories or experiences by integrating them into their knowledge base and allowing them to move on from them. It involves eye movements, taps, or sounds that the therapist uses to stimulate the brain and facilitate the processing of memories.

How can EMDR help with eating disorders?

EMDR can help individuals with eating disorders in several ways. First, it can help address the root cause of the disorder, which is often linked to traumatic experiences. For example, someone who developed anorexia following a traumatic experience with body shaming or bullying may work with a therapist to process those past memories to improve their body image and self-esteem.

Additionally, EMDR can help individuals with eating disorders to reframe negative and harmful beliefs around food and body image. These beliefs are often deeply ingrained and can be challenging to change through other treatment methods alone. By helping them reprocess these beliefs, EMDR helps enable people to recognize the truth about themselves and combat damaging self-talk.

EMDR therapy can also help individuals reprocess and better manage emotional triggers that contribute to their disordered eating behaviors. For example, a person may have developed binge eating behaviors as a way of coping with stress or emotional pain. EMDR can help them reprocess the triggers that lead to binge eating and develop healthier coping mechanisms to manage those emotions.

How Does EMDR Therapy work for Eating Disorders?

While research on EMDR for eating disorders is limited, preliminary studies suggest that it can be an effective addition to treatment. One study found that EMDR was effective in reducing severity and frequency of binge eating among participants with bulimia nervosa. Another study found that EMDR therapy improved body image and self-esteem among individuals with binge eating disorder.

Furthermore, EMDR therapy can complement other evidence-based treatments for eating disorders, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). By processing past traumas and addressing negative beliefs, EMDR sessions can help reduce the negative impact of traumatic experiences in the client’s life.


EMDR therapy can be a useful tool for treating eating disorders in addition to other traditional treatment options. Eating disorders are complex, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. EMDR can be used alongside CBT and other evidence-based treatment options to help individuals address the root causes of their eating disorder. While more research is needed on the effectiveness of EMDR for eating disorders, preliminary studies have shown positive results. If you're dealing with an eating disorder and are considering EMDR therapy in Orlando, FL, reach out to Orlando Thrive Therapy today for more information.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.