Reaching out for help with an eating disorder

Finding resources for an eating disorder is still proving difficult in rural areas

After spending any length of time struggling silently with disordered eating thoughts and behaviors, the most courageous step you can take is reaching out for help.

Once you have made that decision, you get an excited energy that boosts you into the next phase of “eating disorder recovery mode.” These days, you likely head to the nearest computer and type in a general search of your area for “eating disorder help” or “where to get help with an eating disorder?”

There will be the initial ads of treatment facilities and then links to national organizations that offer educational advocacy of eating disorders. These organizations often have online directories to help narrow your search finding professional help in your area.

If you do not have any luck on the national organization sites, you might specify your internet search more locally. Add your city to the search, or example; “eating disorder help in Johnson City” or “where to get help with an eating disorder in the Tri Cities?” and you will be led to more online directories of therapists that you could narrow by location and specialties.

When you live in a rural area, it is difficult to find professionals who work with eating disorders to be less than an hour or even 2 hours away. After many times of redefining your keyword search terms to find, at this point, any therapist within a reasonable distance, you will begin to feel tired and maybe even begin to lose hope of getting the help that you need.

Don’t lose hope! Take a breath and a break from the computer screen. Help is out there! It’s time to get creative!

Getting Creative and Making Connections

Professionals often have a strong community in their specific fields and many are part of local or national associations. If you are looking for a therapist to help you with your eating disorder recovery, take a step back and think of all the places in your area where there may be any type of therapist or counselor on staff such as mental health agencies, high schools, drug and alcohol clinics, and the health department.

Colleges and Universities often have counseling programs, so if they don’t have a counseling center, get in touch with one of the professors. The process is the same for finding a registered dietitian. Now pick up the phone and make a call.

Eating Disorders and Therapists

If you are having trouble finding a therapist that specializes in eating disorders, the next step would be to make a contact with a general therapist. Let them know that you are looking for help with an eating disorder. Be prepared for rejection. If their response is “I don’t specialize in eating disorders,” rephrase your question to. . .

. . .“are you willing to see me in the mean time while I continue to search for a therapist that does specialize in eating disorders?” Sometimes just rephrasing the question will at least get you started.

There may be times when the therapist is not accepting new clients and in this situation ask if they have another colleague that they can refer you to. Keep making calls.

If you still cannot find help within a reasonable distance that fits your budget, many therapists are now offering online therapy. At, you can find a directory of therapists that offer online or phone counseling.

Keep the Hope

At A Place of Healing, we understand your struggle. Trying to cope with an eating disorder is hard enough and when you can’t find help, you start to question your need for recovery. When you are fighting to find help, you have already started the recovery process! You know that help is out there.

A Place of Healing strives to help you find the recovery you need by giving you direction on how and where to look for professional help. Keep the hope! Your life can be different!

A Place Of Healing Resource Center in Johnson City, TN services the entire Northeast Tennessee Region. Get a Professional Referral.


Posted in Eating Disorders