What Is Eating Disorder Therapy Counseling?
Licensed counselors can work with individuals that present with a wide range of normal and abnormal psychological symptoms. In Eating Disorder Therapy, counselors may target a person's eating habits as a subject of change, in order to increase a patient's physical and mental health.
In addition to experience-related disorders, some people diagnosed with Eating Disorders may have additional diagnoses such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Counselors that work specifically with clients with Eating Disorders may begin their treatment by identifying the root diagnosis responsible for this symptomatic feeding issue.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Family Therapy
Through collegiate training and internship requirements, future counselors can learn about the different type of therapies available for use in this area of counseling. Some common forms of therapy utilized by Eating Disorder Therapists include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Family Therapy.
Working with individuals that have an Eating Disorder and their families can help to create an environment supportive of healing and change. In most cases, therapists in this field can work with both the client and family to ensure lasting change.
Professional counselors in this field can work primary with teenage and adult clients that have sought treatment for active Eating Disorders. Counselors in this area of expertise can work in generalized counseling centers, schools, and even in private practice.
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What Degree Levels Are There For Eating Disorder Therapy?
If you are like many others considering a career as an Eating Disorder Therapy professional, you might be interested in learning more about the educational path that can get you into this career. There are numerous degree offerings found through an internet search that can be beneficial to your progression in this field.
Bachelor's in Counseling or Psychology
In order to become a licensed Eating Disorder Counselor, you must first begin with involvement in a bachelor's degree program. Most students choose fields such as Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work for their program, since each of these can provide an abundance of foundation knowledge for future counseling.
Most bachelor's degree programs last around 4 years and include introductory courses in Algebra, English, and History. If you are seeking entry into master's-level counseling programs, completion of a bachelor's is mandatory for consideration.
Master's in Counseling
The most common degree level for upcoming Eating Disorder Therapy students is the master's. You must hold a minimum of a Master's in Counseling to be considered for licensure within your state and your program must meet accreditation requirements.
The Master's in Counseling can take 2-3 years to complete depending on your enrollment status and includes concepts that are specific to administering counseling techniques to clients in the field. This level is the most popular for licensed counselors.
Doctor of Counseling
If you want to pursue higher education pertaining to mental illness and counseling, you can pursue doctoral level programs to help expand your understanding of these phenomena. Doctoral programs in Counseling can provide you with knowledge relevant to research, leadership, and advanced clinical understanding in your field.
Online Master's Programs in Eating Disorder Therapy
Since upcoming Eating Disorder Therapy students identify the master's as the minimum qualification for licensure, this program is often the end-goal for those pursuing careers in this field. This program can be found in online format, which can be a huge advantage for busy students looking to transform their careers.
CACREP Accredited Programs
Online Master's in Counseling programs being offered across the U.S. can provide learners with the same level of quality as traditional offerings, all while being conducted in the virtual environment. Online degree programs at this level can also received accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is the leading accreditation agency for counseling programs.
During your experience in an online Master's of Counseling, you can engage in discussions with your instructor and classmates regarding different topics assigned each week. These experiences can help you identify secondary viewpoints on important counseling techniques and mental disorders, which can help you think critically and constructively as a professional in the field.
As part of your online degree experience, you may also be required to perform independent research on various counseling topics. All assignments in the virtual classroom are submitted through an embedded drop box tool within the online classroom.
If you are the type of person that flourishes in independent course work, online programs may be the right option for you. Instructors in these courses are equipped with the skills and tools required to be supportive resources to students enrolled, making online options great for a wide variety of learning styles.
More on Online Counseling Programs
Counselors across the country can work with many different people with different life experiences, traumas, and symptoms. If you choose to work as an Eating Disorder Therapy professional, you may require specialized training after completion of your online Master’s in Counseling.
The Master’s in Counseling is the foundation requirement for professionals interested in working with clients that are managing life with an Eating Disorder. Certificate programs may be available to help counselors focus on the specific needs of clients with these presentations, which can add to your resume as you enter the field.
One of the most popular ways that future Eating Disorder Therapy professionals exercise their skills in this focus area is through engagement in an internship. An internship or supervised work experience requirement is part of your licensing requirements regardless of which state you reside in.
Choosing to work under the supervision of an Eating Disorder Therapist can help you observe the process of assessment and counseling with clients specific to your field of interest. This component of your licensure requirements can take anywhere from 2-3 years to complete and can provide you with valuable knowledge and expertise for entering into this treatment area.
Top Programs and Availability
Finding a reliable degree program to complete on your path to becoming a licensed Eating Disorder Therapy professional should take time and consideration. In order to become a licensed therapist, you may need to graduate from a program that has received CACREP-accreditation.
Antioch University is a university that has current accreditation with the CACREP. This university offers an online Master’s in Mental Health Counseling that can be completed in around 2 years for most learners.
This program can provide you with a high-quality educational program that can prepare you for the licensure examination and work with individual clients in the field. Graduates of bachelor’s programs related to psychology and mental health are encouraged to apply.
Bellevue University is another current provider of online and accredited Master’s in Mental Health Counseling degree programs. Students enrolled in this program can complete their degree in around 2 years through the online course room offered at this school.
Since both of these programs hold accreditation, graduates can utilize their degrees during the licensure process. The curriculum within each program contains relevant topics and research to future therapeutic professionals in the field.
Sample Courses for the Masters
The courses that you complete as part of your master’s program can help you to create a portfolio of knowledge and experience for your upcoming career.
Master’s learners can take courses such as Psychopathology: Diagnosis and Assessment to help them recognize the common symptoms and presentations of common and uncommon mental health disorders.
This course can provide practice in assessing the presenting symptoms of clients and test students on their knowledge of different mental health disorders. As a professional in Eating Disorder Therapy, it may be vital to recognize these symptoms during the initial interview process.
Counseling Theories is another course that is common within the Master’s in Counseling degree program. As a student in counseling, you can learn about the development and change of counseling techniques over time, as well as the effectiveness of current methods used today.
Assessment Methods is another course that can outline specific steps to take to ensure that you have properly evaluated your client, so that an accurate diagnosis can be administered. Each step in the therapeutic process can be utilized with clients with a wide range of presenting symptoms.
The curriculum within this program was designed to help professionals make accurate assumptions about a client’s mental health, develop a relevant treatment plan that fits the diagnosis, and provide continued services as the client moves through his or her healing process.
Path to Working in Eating Disorder Therapy Counseling
As you prepare yourself for engagement in educational programs, you should consider which steps can lead you into a career as an Eating Disorder Therapist the quickest. Doing your research at the beginning can help prevent unnecessary delays in your progress and can help you consider different options for your learning experience.
First, you want to explore different bachelor’s level programs that can set you on track for licensure. Most master’s programs recommend that you complete an online or traditional Bachelor’s in Psychology or Counseling since they focus directly on the type of knowledge you will need while working in this field.
Completion of your bachelor’s degree in either of these fields can open you up to entry-level support positions in this field if you need employment while pursuing your master’s degree. Some students may also find it beneficial to complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as a means for qualifying for entry into high-demand colleges offering master’s programs.
Locating a Master’s in Counseling program should be your next step towards your career goal. Choose college programs that have received accreditation from the CACREP, since most states require this type of accreditation during the licensing process.
CACREP-accredited programs are regularly reviewed and consist of topics that are relevant to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of clients in the field. Some master’s programs, both online and traditional, require that students participate in clinical experiences during the program.
These experiences can help bring what you have learned to life and can prepare you for the supervised clinical experience required after graduation. It may be beneficial for you to locate a supervision placement prior to graduation, preferably with counselors that currently conduct Eating Disorder Therapy in the field.
The 2-3 year supervision component can be a direct prerequisite to licensure in your state. The process of licensure involves applying with your state’s licensing division, completing a board examination for counselors, and submitting all relevant documentation pertaining to your education, training, and testing.
Eating Disorder Therapy Counseling Important Organizations to Know
As you begin your career in Eating Disorder Therapy, it can be helpful to be part of organizations that were developed to suppose professional counselors. The American Counseling Association is one of the largest counseling organizations for professionals in this field.
Becoming a member of this agency can allow you access to current research and trends in the field, the availability of meetings and professional gatherings for counselors, and the opportunity to network with other licensed counselors in the field. Membership into this agency could prove beneficial to new therapists finding their place in the field.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
And alternative professional organization option is the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. This non-profit agency seeks to fight Eating Disorders through the use of effective practices by qualified individuals.
As part of this organization, you can connect with therapists aiming to help individuals fighting this disorder, as well as people that have won their battle against Eating Disorders and are reaching out to help others. Connecting with this agency could provide you with even more knowledge about this important subject area.
National Eating Disorders Association
The National Eating Disorders Association is a large and widespread agency that seeks to help women and men that are fighting this dangerous disorder. As a professional counselor, you could be one of the main support systems for individuals reaching out for guidance and support.
A large number of new professionals join professional organizations in an attempt to learn more about their treatment area and connect with others in their field. If you are seeking support as an upcoming counselor, you are encouraged to find professional organizations that fit your needs.
Eating Disorder Therapy Counseling Career Options
Some students enter into college programs knowing what they want to do with their career after graduation. Eating Disorders Therapy professionals can be influential professionals in the lives of people that are struggling to find hope after being diagnosed with Eating Disorders.
Careers as Eating Disorder Therapists can be found in general counseling practices, since these agencies typically provide counselors in a wide range of specialty areas. Patients seeking guidance for multiple diagnoses or that are looking for specific treatment may begin their search in the general counseling center.
Since Eating Disorders can also be prevalent in the high school settings, therapists in this field may work through school systems or within teen treatment centers. Counselors are encouraged to work in areas that serve the age group most affected by their treatment specialty.
Professionals that move through educational programs and receive licensure can work in private practice. With your degree in counseling, you can provide care to a wide range of clients including those with Eating Disorders specifically.