What if your clients were struggling with eating and body image, and you didn’t even know it? What if you’ve been missing a giant piece of the puzzle, and your clients were suffering as a result?
Eating (like breathing and sleeping) is a necessary part of being alive! Nobody can function without food. So of course, everyone has some type of relationship to food, and a set of beliefs about eating. Plus, everyone lives in a body, so naturally, everyone has a relationship to their body!
I never understood why such universal human experiences were rarely prioritized in most mental health settings.
When I started my career as a clinical psychologist, I found that eating and body image popped up a lot, even when the client was seeking treatment for something else entirely.
Unfortunately, I had about zero training in this area. I had plenty of training and experience with a variety of concerns; everything from mood and anxiety to personality disorders and psychosis.
Yet, my only education on eating disorders came in the form of one lesson of one day of graduate school, during an addiction class.
I wish I could say this was unusual. But sadly, I’ve discovered that most mental health providers have little to no training in how to diagnose or treat eating and body concerns.
Meanwhile, eating and body image concerns are incredibly common. The data indicates that eating disorders affect about 9% of the population worldwide. That means you have a very good chance of encountering them in your work.
And even if you don’t come across many individuals with eating disorders, you can certainly bet that many of your clients will struggle with eating at the subclinical level, experiencing what is often called ‘disordered eating.’
On top of that, thanks to the social and systemic forces that shape our self-image, the majority of people we meet will at some point deal with body image insecurities.
Diet Culture, the dominant system of beliefs that teaches us thin bodies are “better” than fat bodies, ensures that body dissatisfaction is a permanent fixture in most people’s self-perceptions.
Even worse, Diet Culture is a facet of an entire system of marginalization, rooted in racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and ageism. To participate in Diet Culture is to participate in the same harmful systems of oppression that we in the mental health field work so hard to dismantle.
To truly help the people we serve, we need to gain a foundational understanding of eating issues, where they come from, and how to address them.
That's why I designed this course.
I want you to be confident addressing eating and body concerns in your work.
I want to close the training gap so that providers know the signs of disordered eating, beyond just the size of someone’s body.
I want to help you understand the role of Diet Culture in eating and body image issues, so you can join the anti-diet movement and help make healthcare more welcoming to ALL bodies.
In this course, you will:
Learn to accurately diagnose eating disorders and conceptualize ED etiology
Recognize the signs of malnutrition, restriction, purging, binge-eating, and over-exercising and determine when your client needs a higher level of care
Understand and effectively address disordered eating (“subclinical” eating disorder symptomatology)
Incorporate assessment of eating, exercise, and body image into your clinical intake process
Recognize the role of Diet Culture and social factors contributing to eating disorders, disordered eating, and body image struggles
Uncover and challenge your internal biases about food and body weight
Improve your own relationship with food and build body image resilience, so you can lead by example in challenging and dismantling the system of Diet Culture
Learn through 10 in-depth video modules, with optional text-based lessons, case examples, and brief quizzes to solidify new knowledge and support your learning
As a bonus, you will also receive:
A self-reflection worksheet and journaling prompts to help you uncover biases and process reactions to the material
Downloadable PDF guide for assessing eating, exercise, and body image at intake
Downloadable PDF cheat-sheet for helping you recognize signs of an eating disorder and spotting physical, mental, and behavioral patterns that warrant medical attention or referral to a higher level of care
Downloadable educational handouts to use in your clinical work and share with your clients/patients
Downloadable educational handouts to use in your clinical work and share with your clients/patients
Course completion certification
Discount on the companion course, Weight Science 101
Priority access to future courses, including Intro to Intuitive Eating (launching Fall 2021)
LIFETIME access to all course content, and FREE access to any future updates to this course!
These materials, tools, and resources are the same ones I would offer in one-on-one supervision and consultation, over the course of many months. But instead of costing you upwards of $1,500 for this mentorship and education, you can access them on your own time, from the comfort of your own home or office, for a fraction of the cost.
Dr. Sari Ticker
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
This course gave me the knowledge, tools, and confidence to approach body image and weight concerns with my clients. I primarily treat individuals with chronic health conditions, and this course has already helped me more thoroughly assess the ways chronic pain and health conditions impact my clients’ body image. The case examples really stuck with me, and I use the course handouts with every new client. I highly recommend this course for clinicians at any level, and any area of practice!
Madeleine Foley, M.A.
Pre-Doctoral Intern in Clinical Psychology
Dr. Freedman’s course enriched my understanding of eating and body image concerns, both on an individual and societal level. I did not realize how much influence our culture has over our view of bodies. This was the wake-up call I needed to start making eating and body image priorities in my work. I highly recommend this course to anyone that is in the helping profession- it will benefit both you and your clients immensely!
I’m Dr. Paula Freedman, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, educator, and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor dedicated to making mental health safe and welcoming for all bodies.
I write, teach, and consult about disordered eating recovery and rejecting Diet Culture. I’ve been a featured expert in the New York Times, Reebok, and have a regular series in Psychology Today.
I know what it’s like to feel unprepared to address disordered eating. I cringe to consider the ways I dismissed or overlooked eating and body image concerns early in my career, just because I didn’t have the knowledge or training to address these topics.
I also have a personal connection to this work. As a trauma survivor with an eating disorder history of my own, I spent many years feeling disconnected and unsafe in my body. I often shied away from body image work with clients because I hadn’t done the deep inner work of challenging my internalized fatphobia and weight biases.
Today, I am eager to close the eating disorder training gap and empower mental health providers everywhere to confidently address food and body image in their work. I have dedicated my career to helping clinicians recognize the ways Diet Culture harms us all and promote healing for the individuals they serve.
Diet Culture harms all of us, but it’s especially harmful for those whose bodies are larger. As someone who lives in a body that isn’t discriminated against (having “thin privilege”), I’m aware that I will never understand what it’s like to experience the world in a higher-weight body. I work to be as strong of an ally as possible, and to introduce providers like you to the anti-diet movement so that you can then continue to learn from others in this space.
Together, we can make our field a more inclusive place for ALL bodies, improve the quality of care we provide, and dismantle the system that instills us with food and body image struggles in the first place!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I already have training/experience treating eating disorders. Can I still benefit from this course?Absolutely! Although this course is designed with beginners in mind, it also contains newer research and perspectives that may differ from previous training you’ve received. There is an in-depth module on the diagnosis of Orthorexia Nervosa, which is not yet included in the DSM. The second half of the course is entirely focused on Diet Culture, Weight Bias and Weight Stigma, so even if you have experience with eating disorder work, you can certainly benefit from a deeper dive into these concepts and how they may be affecting your practice. If you have extensive training and experience with both eating disorder treatment and the anti-diet/ Health at Every Size movements, this course may not give you brand-new information. However, even if you’re an expert in this area, it never hurts to brush up on your knowledge. Plus, as providers we know that the inner work is lifelong. This course will provide you with opportunities to continue challenging internalized fatphobia and weight stigma.
I don’t work with eating disorders. How will this course benefit me?This course was actually developed for clinicians who don’t typically work with eating disorders, or who have very little familiarity or exposure to eating disorders. Even those of us who don’t treat eating disorders will encounter individuals who struggle with body image concerns, or who engage in disordered eating (i.e., patterns of eating or relating to food that don’t warrant an eating disorder diagnosis but are still worthy of clinical attention). Everyone has to eat, so each of us has a relationship to food that is often complicated. Plus, thanks to the social and cultural factors we’re all subjected to in Diet Culture, it’s practically a guarantee that some of your clients/patients will have negative beliefs or feelings about their bodies, or will experiment with dieting and weight loss efforts. This course prepares you to recognize these struggles no matter where they fall in the spectrum of severity. Overall, it will make you a more well-rounded clinician, and set you apart from others in your area of specialty by giving you tools to address food and body concerns when they arise. As part of the course materials, you’ll receive a robust list of resources for further learning, should you wish to pursue additional training or education in this area.
Can I share my course registration with a colleague or friend?Course enrollments cannot be shared. Once you enroll and payment is received, you will receive access to the full course content and will be assigned a unique username and password to log in. However, if you enjoy the course and would like to refer a colleague, you can request a referral code so that your colleague may obtain the course for a discounted rate.
Do I have to complete the course in a set period of time, or can I take as long as I want to complete it?"Once enrolled, you’ll have access to the course anytime of day or night, forever! You'll also get access to course updates in the future. You can complete it at your own pace, and can repeat sections if you’d like. It is recommended that you complete quizzes and activities shortly after their corresponding lessons, while the information is still fresh. However, if you decide to take breaks, you’ll be able to jump back in right where you left off!
I exclusively provide brief therapy (e.g., I work in a hospital setting). Can this course benefit me?"Yes, definitely! A significant component of this course is on proper assessment and diagnosis of eating concerns, and the importance of asking about eating, exercise, and body image beliefs and behaviors during the intake process. Even if you only meet with your patients once or twice, or for a very brief period of time, this course will give you useful information. You will learn to recognize signs and symptoms of eating disorders, so that you can pick up on indications that your client/patient may benefit from specialized eating disorder treatment or further assessment by a registered dietitian or eating disorder physician once discharged from your care.
I work exclusively with couples and families. Can this course benefit me?Absolutely! Body image concerns are particularly relevant to couple’s work, as one or both partners’ perceptions of their bodies (and their partners’ bodies) impact the relationship and can show up in sex and intimacy concerns, adjusting to bodily changes (such as following pregnancy and childbirth) and impact feelings of trust or security. In families, rules and beliefs about food, eating, and weight are often transmitted across generations, even if they aren’t discussed explicitly. Understanding how the family relates to food, physical activity, and body size will only enhance your ability to conceptualize and explore the norms and values of the family system.
Is this course appropriate for providers who exclusively work with children?Yes, this course is appropriate for providers regardless of the age or developmental phase of the populations they treat. Research indicates that children as young as 2 years old already demonstrate body image and are aware of anti-fat messaging. Eating and body image concerns often start early in life, and can be perpetuated by modeling and messages in the home. In fact, you will notice several of the case examples discussed in the course are stories from individuals whose disorders began in childhood or early adolescence.
Is this course appropriate for medical providers and professionals outside of the mental health field?Yes. Although there is an emphasis on mental health, this course is relevant to health providers across disciplines, including mental and behavioral health, all areas of medicine, dietitians, naturopaths, physical therapists, and so forth. This course is also designed to be your entry point into size-inclusive healthcare and is great to build upon with the companion course, Weight Science 101, and with further education from educators and activists in the Health at Every Size movement.
Can I get continuing education credits for this course?At this time, no continuing education credits are offered for this course. We are currently in the review process to obtain continuing education credits from several accrediting bodies. Your course enrollment includes lifetime access to all future updates of the course, so you may be able to obtain CE credits once approved. It is worthwhile to sign up now, while you can take advantage of the introductory pricing and begin using this valuable information and enjoying the resources included with the course!