Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association
"Serving those affected by eating disorders"
Student support systems
Student Support systems
Your university will probably have a counselling service. You may find that there is a general counsellor you can see and possibly an eating disorder specialist, in the university.
If you decide to go to university counselling check: http://www.studentcounselling.org
Also check your rights in the student disability centre (under mental health). There may be a mental health liaison nurse and university too.
If you don’t ask, you won’t know what you could be entitled to. Student welfare may also be able to set up a support group* for people with Eating disorders and we would be able to train them and support them to do so.
Med Centre G.P
The doctor should be understanding and informed about supporting students with eating disorders and aware of the appropriate treatments. If he/she is not, refer them to the Eating Disorders NICE guidelines 2004 (www.nice.org.uk). Sometimes it is helpful to take a friend or to talk to your college counsellor/tutor/SWEDA for support of how to get heard and help.
What therapy to choose
Some therapies are "proven" to be useful with certain types of eating disorder e.g. bulimia and CBT. There are also many therapies which are effective but have not been clinically run as I wonder how you would measure recovery your from an eating disorder? What we know is that it is more than weight gain/management and behaviour modification but how your relationship is with yourself and how if feels to be you and how your inside world is.
The usefulness really comes from you and the relationship you create with your therapist and the timing of the intervention i.e. when you are ready and motivated to use the type of therapy.
Types of therapy
Make sure that the therapist or health profession you see is registered therapist with their professional body, check for links on http://www.webhealth.co.uk/professional_bodies.html
People may have an additional specialisation in CBT, CAT, IPT, but should have a main professional body to give them clinical practioner status. You can look up in The Nice guidelines http://www.nice.org.uk and use the advanced search for eating disorders. This will give you the NHS recommendations of treatment of Eating Disorders
The definitions of these can be found on the talking therapies website http://www.phobics-society.org.uk/talkingtherapies.html
There is also a lot of information on http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/index.cfm
The National Eating Disorders Association has a site that give practioner lists in each area of the country which you may wish to look at www.edauk.cam/list/index.htm
If in doubt check it out.
By using this you can check out their legitimacy, code of ethics and conduct before using a service. Sometimes there are organisations/therapists who do not work within the guidelines of their professional codes of conduct and in your interest so feel able to check them out!
Do I really need therapy?
So seek support to find what you want and need. At different times in our life journey we have different needs, there is no shame in needing support and therapy. It takes a lot of courage to do this.
This may seem to feel harder and more in your face as you begin to engage in a process. This is normal. Talk about it! Do you remember as a child learning to paint and how messy that got before you learnt to use brushes and paints and gradually the picture became recognisable?!!
Sometimes if we knew how hard things were going to be it may stop us giving it a go and stop us finding what there is to discover and enjoy!
We may also do therapy for a while get to where we need to for now and stop. Then after a break you may choose another form of help/support for the next part of your journey.
Remember there are similar things in people's journeys, but each journey is individual and no two journeys are the same. So do yours the way you want/need to.
When am I ready to use help?
I am ok I don’t have a problem
I am fed up of it all and scared
Now you may think you really have had enough. You may seek active support to make changes in your life style. This help maybe from a specialist team, your GP and mental health team or another health practioner. This will be a tough and rewarding part of the journey. You may feel that in order to do this you need to take some time out of studying and defer for a year in order to sort out your inside world and outside life style. Ask your student welfare workers for advice on this. You may ask for more support to do this therapeutic journey alongside your studying.
Sometimes you may think I am exhausted this is all such hard work. Is it worth it? Then you may temporarily blip and dip back into living in the “problematic Eating Disorder rules of life.” All journeys have ups and downs. The road to recovery is not a straight line.
Perhaps after awhile you will see what is happening and seek help to actively get out of the clutches of your eating disorder again. This time you will learn something new and find how strong you were to get back on the road again. Do seek the active support you need and go for it!
The journey has many dips and peaks; it is all part of finding the richness of your life.
Mastering Life without hurting myself
Often in making these steps to maintain the solution you will need even more support and encouragement form friends and professionals to keep well. This step will involve facing things that you have not been able to manage for a long time.
Checklist for clients looking for a therapist.
© 2004 ~ 2013 Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association