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What Careers in Psychology Are Appropriate for Those Wishing to Treat Eating Disorders?

Have you considered the possible careers for treating eating disorders? Individuals who struggle with eating disorders have a variety of concerns. Obviously, they have the health concerns that come along with poor nutrition. Beyond this, individuals suffering from eating disorders struggle with body image and self-esteem. They may also struggle with anxiety or depression, and many are diagnosed with underlying psychological disorders such as borderline personality disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. For survival and recovery, these sufferers need a team of qualified professionals treating them.

Jobs at In-Patient Facilities

The nature of eating disorders is such that many sufferers require medical as well as psychological assistance. For many with anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia and other disorders, hospitalization occurs due to physical side effects of the disorder. Stays in a hospital or other care facilities provide a way to stabilize the patient, as well as a way to monitor nutritional intake. This means that many jobs involved in caring for this population are available in these care facilities. Such positions include:

  • Psychiatric nurse
  • Med tech
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Recreational therapist
  • Dietician

Other Jobs

Recovery from an eating disorder can be long and protracted. After leaving a care facility, anorexics and other eating-disorder sufferers need counseling and support. In situations where an eating disorder is addressed before or without hospitalization, the primary burden of care and treatment falls on counselors outside of a care facility. Available careers for treating eating disorders outside a hospital or residential setting include:

  • Psychologist
  • Licensed practical counselor
  • Social worker
  • Psychiatrist
  • Dietician

In these careers, you might do things such as diagnose and treat eating disorders from a medical standpoint. You might also do personal counseling or run therapy groups that focus on providing support to clients recovering from eating disorders.

One of the most common treatments used for patients with eating disorders is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT. This carefully researched method of therapy, originally developed by Marsha Linehan for the treatment of patients with borderline personality disorder, has credibility in the treatment of many psychological disorders and issues. Many individuals in psychology, who specialize in treating eating disorders are certified in DBT. The program, as created by Linehan, includes a combination of personal counseling, private journaling exercises and group sessions.

Additionally, even after hospital treatment, many anorexics, bulimics and others can benefit from regular visits with a dietician. A dietician often works alongside medical professionals to help those recovering from eating disorders understand healthy eating habits.

Eating disorders are serious psychological issues that can result in dangerous health conditions and even death. A job helping people who struggle with these issues can be both challenging and rewarding. If this is the type of job you want, there are many different careers for treating eating disorders, and you can get started in the field with as little as an associate’s degree and the right certifications.

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