do you think its possible to be an ED specialized psychologist and have an ED?

Discussion in 'ED General' started by Mons, Mar 14, 2019 at 1:59 PM.

  1. #1 Mons, Mar 14, 2019 at 1:59 PM
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 3:21 PM
    as the title says, its basically what im striving toward right now. BUT-- it i dont plan on recovering, probably ever lol [at least not fully]. but i do want to help others out of the same thing im in. what are you guys's thoughts on that? do you think itd affect the effectiveness of the treatment or..?
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  2. I feel this is the better way of going about it. So I applaud you. Not many would do that. It actually in the long run might help you too. I hope it does as you could help more people if you're around longer. The fact you suffer an ed I see as a good thing for patients. But that's my take on it. And goodluck with it too.
    princesskiwi and Mons like this.
  3. I think its possible absolutely. I also think you probably would see through people lying about things and maybe be more in tune with the disordered mindset which could help with treatment. Like you won't just be a cold textbook repeater.
    Don't know about how not recovering would really play out in the long run? Not recovering can mean so many things.
    Some people get really ill - others go to adult life functional but still disordered

    You also have to ask yourself how that would affect you as an individual mentally and physically.
    Its really good to do no matter what career you choose. As a tester phase you could volunteer for some peer counseling while you are in school to see if that is the setting you want to work in. It will give you just a bit of a taste. Its a lot different in that set up vs talking to your friends or on mpa (don't mean that to sound condescending but i don't know how else to convey that) You definitely are going to need some thick skin.
  4. I think from having personal perspective you'd be able to provide a better support to someone through mutual understanding of ED behaviour, however (and I may be wrong about this) I think the avenues in which you could work in that field will be narrow because I don't know how useful it will be for the people you may help (if say they are in recovery) what support can you provide them if you have no (current or potentially ever) intention of recovery? If you are unable to see the benefit of yourself recovering how can you advocate recovery to someone else?

    It may potentially make your own ED behaviours worse and could lead to further implications that would impact your abilities to do your job.

    I think it's a great idea to use your experience of ED's in order to help others struggling and honestly I think you should do it, but I feel that there would be a conflict of interest if you continue to have an active ED without seeking recovery whilst attempting to help others with EDs.

  5. Tbh I don't think it could work out. How would you be able to advice someone to eat more or stop certain ED behaviors if you are having them yourself? Also as a patient I would find it triggering as hell having a psychologist that would be clearly underweight.
  6. I don't think it's a good idea to be honest, even if it's possible. You'd be potentially triggering, you'd be inside the ED bubble and so might not be as great of an outside perspective as you could be or you might not even think the same way as an outsider when you hear issues. If you focussed on the research side of things it'd be less of an issue, and recovered or not you could maybe provide insight but tbh I'd not want to have a pyschologist with an ED.

    Sorry I can't be more positive.
    Waddle and pizzaeater like this.
  7. Yes, it is possible.
    The biggest hurdle is ensuring colleagues know nothing about your condition.
  8. Have to agree that it's not a good idea of you aren't recovered..

    All points in the first 3 post I agree with and having an ED is really important w/respect to how you receive what a patient is offering verbal/nonverbal... And with what you in turn put out, suggest, etc

    But those are also featured of an ED recovered therapist... One who has/is walking out the advice she is giving.

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    Do I smell weird? likes this.
  9. I'd say the biggest hurdle is the ethics at stake when dealing with fragile human subjects

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  10. I'm torn about this topic. I guess it depends on how obvious your ED manifestation is. I don't know you and your history, so I will just speak completely hypothetically:

    I am in therapy for depression, anxiety and a few other things, and I expect my therapist to (appear to) be better at life than I am, if you know what I mean? They have to give me the impression that they have things figured out better than I have. So, as long as you appear healthy and completely together, I don't see an obvious problem for the patient. It might actually help your therapy approach a lot that you know and understand the struggles of an ED intimately...but that is more applicable when you are actually recovered. If your ED manifests in obvious ways, I can imagine it might hinder the recovery of somebody deep in their ED (for example, if the therapist is obviously very underweight or obese one case it could be a "why are you lecturing me, you are no better"-situation and in the other case it could be perceived as "you just want me to become as fat as you are").

    So overall, yeah I do think it's possible. I mean, doctors do it all the time, telling people how to live healthily without doing it themselves. But I don't see how you can help somebody out of their ED without slipping deeper into yours if you don't want to recover?
  11. Well there are plenty that are overweight - the person going for treatment would be there to get over that trigger.
    Personally I would be more triggered by an overweight person. I would be paranoid they were trying to make me bigger.
    But that is my disorder talking.

    With being underweight the concern more so would be cognitive function, consistency, emotional and physical energy to take on a high stress job.
  12. Just as oncologists can function effectively even if they have cancer, mental health professionals can function effectively when they suffer from eating disorders.
    There is no inherent ethical issue here.
    If the psychologist is impaired--meaning the condition has affected their ability to do their job--then that is clearly problematic. Many mental health professionals are themselves in therapy.
    Interestingly, psychologists with eating disorders (recovered or not) have the advantage of unique insights into the condition that others may lack
  13. You know, a doctor can still work if they are sick, but only as long as the sickness does not worsen the quality of their work and their work does not worsen the state of their sickness.

    So it really depends whether these two things (sickness and work) can or cannot function. Hint: if you have to make compromises, it does not function.
  14. I think that having an ED yourself could help you empathise better with the pacients, since you understand exactly what they feel ..their struggle... so you can try to help them without hurting their feelings or making them feel threatned.

    Problems could appear if you give them wrong advice (not because you want to..but because you don't have yourself a right perception about normality - normal eating i mean ) or if the patients won t have trust in you ..(they can think something like how could someone who hasn t solved his own problems help me solve mine ?! ) .

    I think that what would be really effective would be an psychologist who had once an ED but have treated it.. because you know both the problem( the ED with its symptoms and feelings) ..and its solution ( recovery ). Just imagine how succesful you'd be : A very good looking psychologist (but healthy weight..not fat..not skelatal) who knows how to deal with his patients . I think this is really encouraging for someone who has an see that he/she can look well without having a disease that destroys his/her s life and can finally kill him/her.

    PS. My psychologist had bulimia are cases when the therapist is himself ill ..
    Anyway...I can t say that she helped me ..I was too stubborn 5 years ago...not neccessarly her fault.
    Enziane likes this.
  15. It's possible, but in the sense that anything's possible. Personally I would be triggered having a thin psychologist. Not only that while I want a relatable therapist if I ever got the vibe that my therapist did have an ED and wasn't recovered I would drop her like a hot potato. How tf would she be able to help me?

    Now, if you want to be therapist that doesn't specialize in EDs do it.

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  16. you've all made incredibly valid points for both sides. its a long time from now before ill have a phd in psychology and achieve fluency in the languages im striving for, so maybe ill be recovered by then and this wont even be an issue. but i figured id ask anyways, as new perspectives are always nice. thanks!
  17. Don't take this as fighting words but just how different mindsets go:

    I would find the thin psychologist more relatable and if she had an ED but kept her shit together enough to be a psychologist, she just may have some decent coping skills up her sleeve. I sort of see it this way because the closer I get to people that are 30+, they are all fucked up in their own special way. lol
    Some people just manage their faults a little more effectively than others.
    Having known a lot of people that are psychologists - most are somewhat of an emotional mess off the clock - they just don't let it affect their work.
  18. From the point of view of being a patient, I would not be okay with seeing an ED psychologist who was not recovered or trying to manage their disease as fully as possible (I understand that for many people full recovery isn't possible and eating disorders may be a life-long condition that simply has to be managed, much like chronic physical conditions such as type 1 diabetes or epilepsy). I would not feel comfortable taking the advice of someone who was refusing to take their own advice. That doesn't just apply to ED psychologists, though, but any professional -- I wouldn't want to go to an accountant who couldn't manage their own money, or a weight loss coach who was obese, etc. Although an ED psychologist with eating disorders would probably have greater insight into what their patients were dealing with than one who hasn't, someone who didn't intend on trying to recover would not be able to offer that same insight to the recovery/management process, which presumably is what the patients are in therapy for.
  19. It's possible and best I think, but you would need to have done a lot of your own work first, and be dedicated to your own recovery. Otherwise its kind of bs how are you gonna help others recover and get healthy if you dont even want to?
    You can't be getting triggered by clients because they will trigger you. If the only way you know how to handle the triggers is to freak and then engage in disordered behaviors idk how effective a thrapist you'd be. You need to be able to be present and composed for them.
    We are human though so if you slipped up every once in a while it's not the end of the world, but it's unethical to be seeing clients if you're in a fullblown relapse. You have to be able to care for yourself if you wanna be able to care for others effectively.
    If a substance use counselor was using again and seeing clients...they could get their license taken away.
  20. I think that you would need to be in personal therapy and you would also need to be willing to discuss it openly with your clinical supervisor. You would also need to prove your fitness to practice as an ongoing matter. I know that professionals need to be able to empathise but there is a difference between being able to adopt another person's frame of reference and becoming completely enmeshed in their world. I think it's possible but would need a huge amount of work and a lot of self-awareness. My personal feeling is that somebody should be as near as damnit to recovered before taking on such a challenge. However, I am training to be a psychotherapist and I have severe anxiety so some people may argue that I need to resolve that first. Having said that, people with anxiety generally don't engage in competitions with other anxious people to see just who can make the biggest crisis out of something that others would say was trivial. So an anxious client would not trigger me and I doubt that my clients would feel the need to try to be more anxious than I am. Even so, I am going to be starting personal therapy soon so that I can address my blind spots and ensure that nothing that a client reveals will rock me.

    If you were able to prove medical fitness and put a box around your own issues, would clients need to know that you had an eating disorder? I know that they may look for clues but would they really need to know? Generally, professionals are very guarded when revealing things about themselves. I very rarely discuss my own mental health problems with clients and when I do, I only mention basic stuff if it's relevant like experiences with medications or a particular kind of therapy. The focus is always on the person, not the professional.

    Also, I think that we need to know our limits and we need to prioritise our own health. It's so common among professionals in mental health, nursing, teaching, any caring profession, for people to become emotionally exhausted. Burn out is very common. Could you honestly say that you would, metaphorically speaking, put your own oxygen mask on before helping somebody else with theirs?