Body Positivity and Self-nurturance in Clients with Disordered Eating Behaviors


Purpose: Disordered eating behaviors often do not generally occur outside of relationship to body dissatisfaction, trauma, and attachment disrupt. Disordered eating is considered to be a form of dissociation that, like traditional forms of dissociation, ranges from mild to severe in complexity and acuity. The treatment of co-occurring body dysmorphia, complex trauma, and eating disorders will be discussed using an approach that addresses body positivity, self-nurturance, and comprehensive aspects of wellness (e.g., physical, social/relational, emotional, intellectual/mental, spiritual, sexual, environmental, occupational, and financial). Step-by-step suggestions will be offered for application to client assessments and intakes, diagnosis, treatment planning, and ongoing care. Socio-political factors, cultural implications, body-positive terminology, and disordered eating “do’s and don’ts” will be described. Case examples will be offered to assist in conceptualization of principles. Participants will have the option to engage in exercises and interventions that can be used with clients struggling with body positivity and self-nurturance.

Population: Mental health or medical professionals treating disordered eating clients.

Main points: Disordered eating is thought by many to be a form of dissociation from traumatic material, as well as a way of maintaining a sense of control and safety. By assisting clients in healing developmental and attachment trauma wounds and filling attachment voids, disordered eating behavior is no longer needed to avoid trauma, dissociate, or maintain a sense of control and safety. Disordered eating does not happen in isolation, so it is important to be aware of co-occurring symptoms and possibility of emergence of related disorders (e.g., primarily anorectic behaviors decreasing, but bingeing and purging behaviors increasing).Conclusion: Self-nurturance and body positivity reduce the risk of emergence of other disorders when disordered eating is addressed.


This session was originally presented as a live conference session in March 2019.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Discuss childhood trauma, attachment, dissociation, and the researched, causal link to disordered eating
  • Use 3-5, evidence-based, assessment tools and interventions each to assist clients of all ages struggling with disordered eating, trauma, and dissociation, as well as spouses/partners and families/caregivers
  • Evaluate self-of-the-therapist attachment wounds and related dynamics to recognize any personal behaviors or counter-transference that could be impeding their own personal growth or treatment efficacy
  • Discuss how to address disordered eating and complex trauma issues, and how to tailor each phase of treatment from an empowering, body-positive, holistic perspective
  • Apply case studies and conceptualization and will be able to participate in 1-2 activities to assist with body-positive terminology, awareness, and intervention
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: Lori Kucharski
Presenter Bio: Lori Kucharski has practiced therapy since 2004, working in a variety of settings. She now operates a private clinical, supervision, training, and consultation practice, teaches graduate courses, and is completing her PhD dissertation on trauma-informed education at Adams State University. She is a clinical member and Approved Supervisor for the AAMFT and a Certified Therapist, Approved Consultant, and Training Provider through EMDRIA in the USA. She is the regional coordinator for the regional EMDRIA and Trauma Recovery Networks and specializes in and researches complex trauma, disordered eating, and attachment in couples and families. She has presented and trained on disordered eating and trauma since 2011 and advocates for body positivity, holistic wellness in trauma recovery, and disordered eating awareness.

Available Credit

  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


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"Your Price" above reflects your final price based on your membership status and career level. 

  • ISSTD defines a student as those enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certification in the mental health field and who have an interest in trauma and dissociation. 
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