How do you go about picking the right dietician or therapist for you? With so many options, and with a lot of dieticians who do not promote the kind of balanced perspective that people in recovery from eating disorders need, how do you filter out the unhelpful/potentially triggering practictioners?
There are a lot of dietitians and therapists who have different specialties, so navigating through the sea of health professionals can be daunting, but it can be done! It is valid to be concerned about finding the right one. Since I’m a dietitian, I wanted to give you some tips on finding the right RD for you.
Many of these tips can also be applied to finding the right therapist for you.
There are registered dietitians (and therapists) who specialize in eating disorders, so you definitely want to start there.
You may want to look for a dietitian who has the Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) credential. In order to achieve this credential, dietitians must have 2,000 documented hours working with eating disorder patients. Therefore, if you see this acronym, you know the dietitian has extensive training in working with clients with eating disorders.
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However, there are plenty of dietitians who specialize in eating disorders but have not yet achieved this credential, and they can still provide excellent care!
When looking at dietitians online, read his or her biography. Determine if the biography mentions experience working with eating disorders. Look to see if the biography mentions the dietitian’s philosophy on health, nutrition, and/or working with eating disorder clients.
If you find a dietitian you are interested in working with, call him or her. Some keywords to look for: “all foods fit,” “non-dieting,” “health at every size,” and/or “positive relationship with food.”
Ask these questions:
- What is your experience in working with eating disorder clients?
- What is your approach when working with people who are struggling with [name eating disorder]?
- What is your philosophy related to food and treating people with eating disorders?
If you feel comfortable with these answers, then this dietitian may be a good fit for you!
Going in for an initial consult is also a good way to “get to know” the dietitian and see if he/she would be a good fit for you!
Do you need help finding an eating disorder dietitian in your area? Try the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Find an Expert. They have a listing of all RDs and their specialties, so it may be a good place to start.
Alex Raymond, RD, LD
Disclaimer: This column is meant to serve as a safe place to ask questions and get opinions from educated professionals; but please always consult your own team before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Although our Experts are certified professionals in their area, their advice may not be suitable for your situation, and thus is not to be taken in place of that given by your recovery team and/or family doctor or personal therapist. Please use your own good judgment, and consult a licensed mental health practitioner for specific treatment. In the case of a crisis, please do not rely on this column, as answers may take several weeks to be published, and not all questions will be addressed. Please contact one of the Helplines listed in our Resources section if you feel you are a harm to yourself or in need of emergency support.
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