Given the complexity of eating disorders, it is common to have questions and concerns about how to best proceed if you suspect that you or someone you care about may have an eating disorder.
Here we provide answers to some of the most common questions we encounter.
Who will I talk to if I come to the Counseling Center?
Most students come to the Counseling Center by first scheduling an intake appointment, which can be with any of our counselors. For students whose first contact is through an Emergency Walk-In appointment, they will meet with a senior staff clinician or doctoral intern clinician. If you decide to pursue ongoing therapy at the Counseling Center, you will be matched with a therapist who has relevant experience and is qualified to help you. Regardless of who you meet with, this meeting will be collaborative and confidential.
Will my parents be told about my eating disorder?
As a confidential resource, the Counseling Center cannot disclose any information about a student, even if a parent calls to ask for information. If a Counseling Center client provides written consent authorizing a clinician to release such information to a parent, then we will be able to do so.
I used to have an eating disorder in the past, but I received treatment and am now in recovery. How can the Counseling Center help me?
The Counseling Center is able to provide supportive therapy for students in recovery. Some students decide to attend a few sessions of individual therapy as a tune-up, particularly when preparing for or coping with a big transition or when they notice themselves slipping into old behaviors. Others may wish to explore the roots of their eating concerns or work on other areas of their life.
I am currently receiving treatment for an eating disorder at a nearby facility, and I was told that I need to find an outpatient therapist in the community. Can I come to the Counseling Center?
Students are welcome to make an intake appointment at the Counseling Center so that one of our clinicians can more fully assess where they are in their recovery and whether we are able to provide the level of support their treatment team recommends. As we are unable to provide more than weekly individual therapy, we are not an appropriate option for students requiring twice-weekly individual therapy. If a student has limited sessions remaining of their original 45-session limit, then the Counseling Center also would not be appropriate, as the therapy we could offer would be brief, which is often not supportive of the long recovery process.
I'm afraid that I might have a serious eating disorder that requires intensive help. What are my options?
Through an intake appointment, a Counseling Center clinician can evaluate the severity of your eating concerns and make a recommendation for an appropriate level of care. For students who are motivated to recover and do not pose obvious medical risks, the Counseling Center can usually be a helpful resource for therapy. However, if you require more intensive, specialized services than what we can offer, we will work with you to get connected with a treatment center or community provider who matches your needs. We also recommend meeting with the Dean of Students about taking a reduced course load or withdrawing if needed to accommodate your treatment schedule.
I went to the Counseling Center for help with my eating disorder, and I was told that I might not be able to receive services and could be referred out. Why did this happen?
Depending on the severity of somebody's eating disorder, university counseling centers might not be equipped to provide the level of support that research shows is needed in order to help somebody recover. For example, if a student reports a very high frequency of purging, has serious medical complications, or is unable to independently monitor their meals, then once-weekly individual therapy is usually not sufficient. In such cases when a Counseling Center clinician determines that our services are not a good match for a student's therapeutic needs, we will recommend pursuing more intensive services (e.g. twice-weekly therapy, day treatment program, intensive outpatient program, etc.) that more appropriately provide the level of support that can best help the student recover. Our main goal is to help students get the best help that is available, even if it means connecting them with a different provider.
Can I go to the Counseling Center for nutrition support?
While some clinicians are able to provide basic education about nutrition and mental health, we are not able to offer professional nutrition support. However, we can refer students who are interested in nutrition support to a registered dietitian who is qualified to help you.