Eating Disorder Therapy

Heartfelt and compassionate eating disorder therapy in Fort Lauderdale.

Imagine feeling free from thinking about food and weight 24/7. What would your life be like? If you’re sick and tired of dieting and obsessing about your weight, eating disorder therapy can help. If you know that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, don’t put therapy off another second. Because you deserve peace and self-love.

I am an eating disorder therapist and received expert training during her clinical experience in university counseling centers and at The Renfrew Center—a comprehensive residential eating disorders program located in Coconut Creek, Florida. At The Renfrew Center, I began as a post-doctoral resident then was invited to join senior staff as a supervisor and manager.

I've developed patient programming and trained numerous clinicians and student interns. I'm dedicated to eating disorder awareness and have spoken at several training seminars and advocacy events within the community. Since 2008, I've provided individual, couples, family and group therapies for adolescents and adults with eating disorders and co-occurring disorders within my private practice, The Psychology Group Fort Lauderdale.


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Individual Eating Disorder Therapy

Are you exhausted from the secret war with your body and food? Salvage your physical health and be free of obsession with thinness and disordered eating patterns. Individual therapy is the foundation of eating disorder recovery and typically occurs weekly for 45-50 minutes. The frequency of sessions can be adjusted to meet individual needs.
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Eating Disorder Meal Time Support

Eating disorder therapy isn’t just for the confines of an office. Often, therapy will integrate real-time practice with meals in order to effectively rehearse intuitive eating and mindfulness. Live in a restaurant setting, clients are provided support while taught skills for coping. Dr. Long was a food critic in the past and uses this experience to teach clients how to increase curiosity of food.
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Support System in Eating Disorder Therapy

Healing from an eating disorder often necessitates the support and encouragement from loved ones. Couples therapy and family therapy is encouraged. Other supportive individuals are welcome to engage in the treatment process as well.
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Real Life Exposure Eating Disorder Therapy

Supportive exposure to real-life stressors is a helpful adjunct to recovery. Learn how to select groceries or manage anxiety while at the shopping mall. I am dedicated to assisting patients with tolerating and adapting to the stressors that exist in a natural environment.

Intuitive Eating Philosophy

Living in a society which bombards us with mixed messages about how we should relate to food, it’s not a surprise that nutrition has become tangled with emotions. Thinness is equated to emotional well-being and success. Extreme exercise and diet regimens are glorified as a quick fix. Behaviors that may begin as an effort to achieve control, quickly may have evolved to extreme, out-of-control behaviors.

Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating negatively impact our mood, self-esteem and ability to function. Disordered eating patterns not only wreak havoc on our medical health but they distance our goals, values and ability to be our authentic selves.

In my treatment approach, I utilize the principles of intuitive eating. These ideals emphasize an adaptive relationship between food, mind, and body. Much of the therapeutic work will emphasize making peace with food and normalizing eating patterns. Learn to recognize and distinguish the difference between physical and emotional feelings while simultaneously unveiling the core issues fueling disordered eating. Many women and men DO recover from eating disorders and I look forward to helping you achieve your goals!

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
– Carl Rogers

Health At Every Size (HAES)

In my practice I believe in and utilize the principles of Health At Every Size® (HAES®) approach to health. Much of current public health policy is based on a weight/size-based criterion. HAES philosophy rejects this from a scientific standpoint. “Obesity” is not the health risk it has been reported to be.

Fun Fact: A multitude of research suggests that five pounds “underweight” is more dangerous than 75 pounds “overweight.”

HAES is based on the scientifically sound premise that health cannot be determined by weight alone. Instead, health is indicated by numerous factors and behaviors. Weight is not a behavior. The Health At Every Size® principles are:

  • Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes
  • Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects
  • Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes
  • Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite, and pleasure
  • Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss

Eating Disorder Signs & Symptoms

Signs of Disordered Eating

It’s no secret that we live in a diet-obsessed and beauty-crazed society. Just turn on the TV and count the seconds before you catch an ad for the latest weight-loss fad or seductive images of a bikini-clad model biting into a fast-food chain’s hamburger. Many women and men are feeling the pressure to achieve society’s narrow definitions of “beauty.” Fighting our body’s natural weight and size may begin as an innocuous effort to increase body satisfaction yet can quickly unravel to a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. Nearly 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by severe restriction of food intake resulting in significant weight loss (or lack of adequate weight gain in developing children).

*Note: You cannot determine if someone is struggling with anorexia just by looking at them. A person does not have to be emaciated or underweight to be struggling.

Symptoms:

  • Severe restriction of food/energy intake
  • Significant weight loss
  • Cessation of menstrual period
  • Unrealistic expectations of weight and size; low self-esteem
  • Intense need for control over food choice/meal preparation
  • Extreme inflexibility of thinking

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by episodes of out of control binge eating followed by a compensatory behavior.

Compensatory behaviors can be self-induced vomiting (purging), excessive exercise, and misuse of laxatives or other medications.

Symptoms:

  • Vague or secretive eating habits
  • Disappearing after meals
  • Dizziness, headaches, fainting spells, stomach pain, sore throat
  • Tooth decay Takes diet pills, diuretics, or weight loss medication
  • Weight fluctuations

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating is characterized by a pattern of eating significant larger amounts of food than others would under the same circumstances. The consumption of food is often to the point of discomfort and brings about shame, humiliation, and/or sadness. It’s the most common eating disorder.

*Note: You cannot determine if someone is struggling with Binge Eating Disorder just by looking at them. A person does not have to be in a larger body to be struggling. A larger bodied person doesn’t equal an eating disorder.

Symptoms:

  • Eating alone or in secret
  • Frequent dieting with lack of weight loss or weight fluctuations
  • Feeling guilty if unable to follow diet regimen
  • Feelings of lack of control when eating
  • Eating exorbitant amounts of food in a discrete period of time

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

ARFID is characterized by restriction of food intake. It’s similar to but unlike anorexia in that ARFID does not involve any distress about weight. An individual with ARFID is typically very particular about the types and quantities of food they eat but will deny any drive for thinness.

In adults, ARFID results in weight loss. In children, this translates to stunted growth in both weight and height. Many youngsters go through picky eating phases, however, with ARFID the child’s caloric intake will be insufficient for proper growth and healthy development.

ARFID can also interfere with psychosocial health due to difficulty eating with others and needing excessive time to complete meals.

Symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Significant weight loss
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dependence on nutritional supplements
  • Impaired immune system
  • Unusual food habits or rituals during meals (e.g., cutting food into small pieces)
  • Mood swings, depression, irritability
  • Gastro-intestinal (GI) issues
  • Cessation (or delay) of menstrual cycles including irregular menstrual periods
  • Fear of choking or vomiting
  • Aversion to different textures of food

Orthorexia

The term Orthorexia describes individuals who develop an unhealthy obsession with avoiding any and all foods that are deemed unhealthy.

What’s wrong with that you ask? An extreme fixation with eliminating many types of foods or ingredients can lead to significant emotional distress, malnutrition and even death.

Symptoms:

  • Obsessive about food, exercise, weight or body image
  • Unusual food habits or rituals during meals (e.g., cutting food into small pieces)
  • Mood swings, depression, irritability
  • Obsesses about the quality and health properties of food
  • Packs special foods to bring to restaurants or social gatherings
  • Has extreme labels for food such as “clean” or “poisonous”
  • Takes an exorbitant amount of supplements and herbal remedies
  • Feels guilty if unable to strictly follow diet regimen
Dr. Jamie Long, Psy.D.
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