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Eye of the Storm: Reconceptualizing Trauma in Individuals with Eating Disorders


Thursday, March 23, 2017: 8:30 AM-9:45 AM

Background: So often the lives of our clients with eating disorders are also permeated by PTSD. How do trauma and eating disorder symptoms intersect? How do we treat both simultaneously? This presentation offers hands-on strategies for clinicians to holistically guide clients with trauma and eating disorders to recovery.

Objectives: 1. The ways trauma and eating disorder symptoms intersect and affect one another 2. Hands on strategies for working with clients struggling with trauma symptoms and eating disorders 3. Learn from case studies how trauma can exacerbate an eating disorder and how clinicians can help heal both sets of symptoms

Goals for presentation:
  • For participants to increase knowledge of the ways trauma and eating disorder symptoms intersect and affect one another
  • Provide hands on strategies for working with clients struggling with trauma symptoms and eating disorders 
  • Teach grounding techniques to allow clients greater access to utilize their coping skills
  • Offer case studies to illustrate how trauma can exacerbate an eating disorder and how clinicians can help heal both sets of symptoms
  • Share our experiences as clinicians
  • The connection between eating disorders and trauma
  • How to determine what recovery looks like
  • How to learn to love to treat this population and not fear it
  • Treatment options-which issue do you treat first?
  1. Symptoms of Trauma and Eating Disorders
  2. Working with Chronic ED patients with trauma
  3. Case Study- Cindy
  4. Experiential- Breathwork, affirmations, embodied movements
  5. Vicarious Traumatization as Clinicians
  6. Food Trauma
  7. Language
  8. Treatment Strategies
  9. Becoming Embodied
  10. Body Empowerment (video)
  11. Strategies for Clinicians

The eye is a region of calm, low pressure weather at the center of strong cyclones. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather occurs. The goal of this presentation is to help clinicians understand that healing from trauma and eating disorders is possible. We can help our clients find their own “eye of the storm”- calm acceptance despite the chaos that surrounds them. Beth Mayer, LICSW has been treating individuals with trauma and eating disorders for over 30 years and offers her extensive clinical experience to this presentation. Rachel Benson Monroe, LMHC brings a solid background in body and movement oriented therapies to her clinical work and career in the movement field. Together Beth and Rachel will provide participants with both concrete tools and interactive exercises to bring back to their clinical practices. Case studies, videos, and clinical anecdotes illustrate the ways clients can heal in diverse ways. Themes will include: symptomology, experiential therapies, vicarious traumatization, food related trauma, and holistic treatment strategies.

The goals for presentation are as follows:

  • For participants to increase knowledge of the ways trauma and eating disorder symptoms intersect and affect one another
  • Understand how to treat symptoms concurrently
  • Provide hands on strategies for working with clients struggling with trauma symptoms and eating disorders 
  • Teach grounding techniques to allow clients greater access to utilize their coping skills
  • Offer case studies to illustrate how trauma can exacerbate an eating disorder and how clinicians can help heal both sets of symptoms
  • Share our experiences as clinicians
  • Understand the connection between eating disorders and trauma
  • Learn how to determine what recovery looks like
  • Learn how to love to treat this population 
Primary Presenter:
Beth Mayer, LICSW

Beth Mayer, LICSW, the Executive Director of the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association, has been working in the eating disorders field for 30 years. She is nationally recognized for her clinical work with eating disorders and has spoken at conferences around the country .In addition to eating disorders, Beth specializes in addictions, sexual abuse, clinical depression and dissociative disorders. She has maintained an active private clinical practice since 1987. Beth currently co-chairs the NEDA network and recently received an award form NEDA for her volunteer work.



Co-Presenter:
Rachel Benson Monroe, LMHC

Rachel Benson Monroe, LMHC is an eating disorder specialist at Multiservice Eating Disorders Association. Rachel’s expertise includes groups, holistic therapies, and the benefits of movement and yoga in recovery. She earned degrees in Gender, Feminist and Sexuality Studies from Oberlin College and Holistic Counseling from Lesley University. She worked as a fitness professional specializing in Health at Every Size prior to her clinical career and now partners with Eat Breathe Thrive to offer yoga in the eating disorder recovery community. Rachel is passionate about inclusion of marginalized populations in recovery work and making mental health spaces safe for all bodies.



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