Help with Disordered Eating

Most of us are unaware of the very personal relationship we each have with food but most of us will turn to food (or away from it) at times of emotional distress.

How we are feeling often has an impact on the type and amount of food we eat. In times of distress, some people may turn to high fat or highly sugared foods while others may go for very healthy foods as a way to make them feel better. Problems with food can begin when a person uses food as a primary method of coping with difficult circumstances. An unhealthy relationship with food could mean that a person is suffering from very disorders eating.

Disordered eating is generally characterised by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of a person’s physical, psychological and emotional health. Disordered eating is often described as an outward expression of internal emotional pain and confusion.

The causes of disordered eating are complex and rarely attributed to just one factor. They are more likely to be the result of a combination of factors. Things like bereavement, being bullied, being abused, experiencing a traumatic event, self-esteem problems, changes in the family and some illnesses can all encourage the onset of an eating disorder. Social media and traditional media like television, film, advertisements and magazines also play a role through idealising unrealistic body images.

Anyone can develop disordered eating habits regardless of age, sex, culture or race, although the people most likely to be affected tend to be young women, particularly between the ages of 15-25. Eating disorders are a serious mental condition affecting 1.6 million people in the UK.

The number of men developing disordered eating is on the rise. And though disordered eating usually affect the young, it’s not uncommon for them to appear in middle age.

Disordered eating and eating disorders

There are many ways people develop unhealthy relationships with food. Though not everyone with disordered eating has an eating disorder, in some cases a person with disordered eating can be diagnosed with an eating disorder. Three prevalent types of eating disorders are:

Or simply ‘anorexia’, is an eating disorder characterised by extremely low body weight, distorted body image and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. It is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterised by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. People with anorexia nervosa may go to extreme lengths to limit food or calorie intake in an effort to attain a very specific, and unhealthy, body image. They may also exercise excessively.

Or ‘bulimia’, is characterised by secretive cycles of binge eating followed by behaviour that compensates for the over-eating. In other words, someone with bulimia nervosa will eat large amounts of food in a short period of time and then attempt to get rid of the food or calories through vomiting, using enemas or laxatives or through excessive exercise. Like anorexia, bulimia nervosa is a serious illness and can be life-threatening.

Sometimes called Compulsive Eating, is characterised by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive or continuous eating to the point of being uncomfortably full. While there is no purging (getting the food out of the body, as in bulimia) there may be sporadic fasts and diets as an attempt to compensate for over-eating.

In all three types of eating disorders the cycle of behaviour can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, regret and depression, as well as secretive behaviour. And eating disorders often lead to secondary health problems like dental problems, reproductive system problems and digestive system damage.

Counselling for disordered eating can help

If you are seeking information on problems with food or eating disorders, you may be concerned about your own health or the health of someone you know. The first step towards understanding the complex issues surrounding eating disorders is acknowledging that a problem exists. Eating disorders are often complicated and successful treatment requires a great deal of determination and commitment.

Counselling for eating disorders looks at the underlying causes of the eating disorder, considers what triggers the eating disorder behaviour and looks at new, healthier ways to cope with the difficult emotional experiences that drive the unhealthy eating.

With the right help and support, successful treatment of eating disorders is possible. Speaking to someone about this problem can sometimes be the beginning of recovery.

What do I talk about in counselling?

One of the most common worries I hear expressed by people starting counselling is that they won’t know what to talk about. Some people think their problems aren’t significant enough. Others fear they have too much to say, that they might overwhelm the therapist…

Read more

What to expect in counselling

When I trained as a psychotherapist, me and my fellow students were given the assignment of doing something we’d never done before. The course tutors wanted us to get in touch with how scary it can be to do something new, to feel the fear of the unknown. I chose to …

Read more

Counselling and psychotherapy in London since 2006

Client Reviews

One Therapy London

Amrita Athwal has worked with One Therapy in central London for many years.
Amrita Athwal

Amrita works with adults in an integrative way, drawing on various therapeutic approaches tailored to meet the needs of each client She provides a safe space to help clients better understand themselves She offers short term and long term therapy Amrita has experience of working with clients on issues such as trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, relationship...


Annie Curran-White is a counsellor in London W1.
Annie Curran-White

With a Masters degree in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, Annie offers both short and long term, open-ended therapy to individuals Her experience includes depression, stress and anxiety, bereavement, loss, personal development and trauma Annie has additional, specialist training working with survivors of rape, and adult and childhood sexual...


Antonella Bonetti works as part fo a team of counsellors seeing patients presenting a wide variety of personal issues.
Antonella Bonetti

Antonella is a psychodynamic therapist offering short- and long-term therapy to adults She also sees couples facing issues within their relationship Since obtaining her Master’s degree in Psychodynamic Therapy & Counselling, Antonella has worked in different organisational settings (charities, NHS and university counselling services) helping people from diverse...



Barbara Beyaz

Barbara brings a warm, non-judgmental, and accepting attitude to her work with clients As an integrative Psychotherapist, she draws from a range of theoretical perspectives which allows her to tailor therapy to the needs of the client Barbara thinks that healing and individual growth happen when difficulties in living are explored with empathy, and the client's unique...


Barbara Perini is a psychotherapist and counsellor in W1, central London.
Barbara Perini

Barbara is an accredited member of BACP, holding an MSc in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and adhering to the BACP ethical framework Her approach is open-ended, offering both short-term and long-term therapy Barbara has also trained in Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT), a short-term (16 sessions), semi-structured individual therapy developed for mood...

Oxford Circus

One of our newest counsellors is Ben Brackenbury.
Ben Brackenbury

Ben believes that at times we all struggle with the challenges life has to offer and therapy provides a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space to explore this Ben works with individuals to make sense of who they are and how they respond to the world today, and to explore new ways of being Ben is also sensitive to how difficult it might be for a client to talk to a...

Oxford Circus

Ben Marks has been with One Therapy for several years, seeing clients with a range or personal and emotional problems.
Ben Marks

Ben is an experienced psychotherapist who has helped many people through difficult times in their lives He works with clients with a wide range of personal issues around depression, anxiety, bereavement, trauma, abuse, loneliness, stresses within the workplace, low self esteem, relationship and sexual problems including performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction and...

Oxford Circus

Seeing individuals for personal therapy, Catherine Hammett is a qualified counsellor.
Catherine Hammett

Catherine offers a safe, confidential space for clients bringing a wide range of issues to therapy  These include anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, anger and work-related stress  Catherine also supports clients experiencing depression, bereavement and life transitions  Among her specialist interests are post traumatic growth and working with adult...

Oxford Circus

Veri Hiles is a private practice counsellor in Soho.
Ceri Hiles

Ceri works with adult clients wanting to explore a range of concerns including anxiety, depression, relationship and family problems, issues arising from physical, emotional or psychological abuse and confidence and self-esteem issues He has particular experience of working with bereavement and loss Ceri’s training in psychodynamic and person-centred approaches to...


Cora Beattie is a therapist for individuals.
Cora Beattie

People come to therapy for many different reasons; whatever your reason, therapy is a unique experience It can offer you an environment where you begin to make sense of your experiences, both past and present, and discover how you feel about them Cora likes to create a space that is both safe and supportive in which she can work collaboratively with her clients...

Oxford Circus

Individual counselling

Our personal counselling services take place in a supportive, non-judgemental atmosphere.

Read more

Couples counselling

Couples counselling provides space for couples to discuss problems in their relationship and find resolution.

Read more

Our therapists in London

Our therapists bring a wealth of experience and training to the therapy services we provide.

Read more