By: Dr. Whitney Robenolt
One of the hardest parts of beginning your treatment journey is seeking out therapeutic support. The therapeutic process is typically associated with a state of vulnerability that at times can promote apprehensive thoughts, especially for those seeking support for the first time.
As an outpatient psychotherapist I find it important to advocate for individual treatment, in order to promote the notion that you can be an active and empowering member of your therapeutic journey. Finding the right therapeutic match may not always occur the first time you step into a therapist’s office. However, it is important to be hopeful; you will find your right match! Conduct research. Search for specialized treatment providers in your area. Seek out support groups in your area, asking others their recommendations for powerful therapists. Contact local therapists of interest requesting a consultation to discuss the potential treatment process, including their knowledge of eating disorder etiology and treatment modalities.
Mental health symptomatology and presentation, especially within eating disorders, is not always black and white. Those who present with disordered eating patterns do not always fit into a specific mold. Eating disorders are not biased, and it is important that your future therapist will provide effective support and treatment for your individualized needs. Ask questions. Many of the individuals I see for psychotherapy are often hesitant to initially ask questions. I believe questions are an integral part of the therapeutic process. It allows you to become an active member within your own treatment journey. There have been many studies that have focused on the importance of the therapeutic relationship and ability to give feedback to your therapist. Contrary to some beliefs, therapists cannot read minds. If you have questions regarding aspects of treatment, are unsure if your needs are being met, etc., these are all perfect topics to discuss with your therapist in order to create the most effective treatment. Creating a safe therapeutic space for open and honest communication is often of primary importance to many therapists.
We are all people who at times may feel flawed, but it is important to remember we all are of value! We all can be our own warriors, promote change, and empower others and ourselves. A strong and effective therapeutic journey will assist in allowing you to see you own value. However, it is important to remember that the first step comes down to you, to pull from your internal strength and motivation, to know you are worthy of rediscovering your value.
About the Author: Dr. Whitney Robenolt is a doctoral-level, outpatient, psychotherapist, practicing in Danville, PA. She currently works as a member of private practice, John G. Kuna, Psy.D. & Associates. She has worked with a wide variety of diverse individuals, including those working towards eating disorder recovery. She believes the psychotheraputic process is a valuable tool to instill hope, understand one’s value, and making life changes to improve quality of life. She has conducted research on eating disorder etiology and has been a presenter at the Pennsylvania Psychology Association Annual Convention regarding eating disorder treatment modalities.