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PSYCHANALYTIC Eating Disorder Therapy LA

For people struggling with eating disorders, every day presents a fresh challenge in an ongoing struggle with their connection to food. This constant battle is rife with high tension, anxiety, and an ever-present sense of fear.

In response to these overwhelming emotions, the default coping mechanism centers around food. Whether it's through restricting intake to regain a semblance of control over the anxiety or resorting to binge eating as a means to temporarily numb those unwelcome feelings, food has become a go-to solace.

If you're facing the challenges of dealing with an eating disorder, disordered eating, or body image concerns, rest assured that assistance is within reach. In a world where messages promoting unrealistic beauty standards and diet culture abound, this issue is not unique to Los Angeles or West Hollywood. Many individuals find themselves ensnared in a cycle of self-doubt and unhealthy eating habits.

I have a decade of experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in helping people navigate and understand these very issues. In my role as a Clinical Supervisor and Clinical Director at a residential treatment center, I've not only aided clients in overcoming disordered eating but have also provided training to fellow therapists on effectively supporting individuals grappling with this debilitating disorder. At Oliver Drakeford Therapy, our commitment is unwavering – to accompany you on a journey towards self-love, intuitive eating, and compassion.


The Impact of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders and disordered eating can have severe physical and emotional consequences. Individuals struggling with these issues may experience reduced dopamine levels, distraction from trauma, diminished emotional capacity, and more. Healing is a complex process, and therapy plays a crucial role. If you are struggling right now, don't wait to call for your free consultation.

Types Of eating Disorder

Eating disorders, disordered eating behaviors, and body image issues can take a toll on both your physical and emotional well-being. These issues often stem from past traumas, anxiety, or feelings of low self-worth. It's crucial to understand that therapy can be a powerful tool for healing and recovery.

Bulimia Nervosa

 Involves cycles of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors like purging or over-exercising.

Anorexia Nervosa

Characterized by extreme food restriction and an intense fear of gaining weight.

Binge Eating Disorder

Marked by recurring episodes of consuming large quantities of food without control.


Obsession with healthy eating to the point of detriment.

Psychoanalytic Thinking

Family-based therapies are currently seen as the gold-standard of contemporary ED treatment, and as a family systems therapist, I couldn't agree more. However, they often touch only the surface of what is going on for the individual struggling with disordered eating. 


In my experience, it's essential  to also explore the inner world of the client, and resist not just manage symptoms but to understand and heal the underlying emotional and psychological landscapes that drive them.

As a psychoanalytically informed therapist, I aim to fill this gap, offering a space where your internal experiences, thoughts, and feelings are not just heard but deeply understood and integrated into your path to recovery.

Exploring Beyond Just Eating Patterns:

In our treatment of eating disorders, we look deeper than just your eating habits. We delve into your emotional experiences and internal conflicts, much like uncovering the story behind the symptoms. This approach helps us understand how these deeper aspects of your personality and experiences are influencing your current struggles with eating.

The Impact of Your Early Life Experiences:

We pay close attention to your formative years, recognizing how critical early life events and family dynamics can shape your current challenges. In line with psychoanalytic insights, we explore these early influences to understand their role in the development of your eating disorder, much like piecing together a puzzle from your past to make sense of the present.

Unveiling Hidden Emotional Struggles:

Just as some thoughts and feelings remain under the surface, unrecognized or unspoken, our approach helps to gently bring these to light. This process involves exploring not just what you're aware of, but also those hidden parts of your experience that might be driving your relationship with food and your body.

The Therapeutic Relationship as a Mirror:

Our relationship in therapy can reflect important aspects of your life, offering insights into how you relate to others and yourself. This is akin to understanding the deeper dynamics of your interpersonal interactions and how these might influence your eating disorder, providing a valuable perspective for healing and growth.

Addressing the Complexity of Your Inner World:

In our sessions, we explore the multifaceted nature of your internal world, just as the psychoanalytic approach in the transcript highlights. We consider how complex feelings like anxiety, shame, or desires - often hidden or misunderstood - can significantly influence your eating disorder. By navigating these intricate emotional landscapes together, we aim to help you achieve a more profound and lasting recovery.

Alexithymia: Reconnecting Mind and Body in Eating Disorder Treatment

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, you may find it difficult to identify and express your emotions. This struggle, known as alexithymia, is very common in individuals with eating disorders.


Alexithymia involves challenges with:

- Recognizing and labeling your own feelings 
- Distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations
- Communicating your inner experiences to others
- Using your imagination and engaging with your inner world

When emotions cannot be verbalized, they are often expressed through the body instead. Eating disorder symptoms like food restriction, bingeing, purging, or compulsive exercise may serve as a way to manage overwhelming or confusing emotional experiences. 

As a therapist, my role is to help you gradually build a bridge between your bodily experiences and your emotional world. In our work together, I will attune closely to the nonverbal ways you communicate your inner states - through your bodily sensations, physical movements, tone of voice, and facial expressions. 

I will use my own imagination to try to put words to what you are experiencing, gently offering these back to you in a digestible form - through an image, metaphor or tentative interpretation. Over time, through this process of "scaffolding", you can expand your emotional vocabulary and gain greater access to your rich inner life.

Building this mind-body connection is a gradual process that requires patience, sensitivity and respect for your unique pace. We will work collaboratively to help you:

- Notice and name your feelings and bodily sensations
- Uncover the meanings and functions of your eating disorder symptoms 
- Develop healthier ways to cope with difficult emotions
- Communicate your inner experiences to others who can support you

Lasting recovery involves more than just changing behaviors around food and weight. By compassionately exploring your inner world together, we can address the deeper emotional roots of your eating disorder and foster true healing and transformation. If you are ready to take this courageous step, I would be honored to support you on your journey.

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