Start An Eating Disorder Support Group

In addition to individual counseling sessions, eating disorder support groups can be a valuable resource for those in recovery from anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders.

In order to start your own eating disorder support group, be aware that you should have some level of professional training — or access to someone who does — which can help to facilitate a supportive, safe environment for participants.

Contact local therapists or counselors

If you don’t have professional mental health credentials, get in touch with local therapists and counselors in your area and ask them if they would be willing to lead an eating disorder support group for free or at a low-cost price point for participants. You could also reach out to non-profit counseling organizations and see if they would be willing to provide a therapist-in-training to help lead the group, who could then receive hours towards their certification.

Look into 12-step options

There are a few eating disorder support groups that fall under the 12-step program umbrella, such as Overeaters Anonymous or Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous. Get in touch with your local chapter and see if it would be possible to start a new meeting somewhere in your area.

Use Craiglist or Meetup

If you’re just looking to set up an informal group for meeting with other people in recovery, it may be helpful to post an ad on Craiglist or start a Meetup group. Be clear about what your intentions are for the group, your qualifications (if applicable) and how you plan to carry out meetings. Going this route also gives you the freedom to hold meetings whenever and wherever you want.

Advertise, delegate and make decisions

Get people to your meetings by advertising them. Put up fliers around town and spread the word to your community. Also, make sure you appoint a co-leader of your group in case there are days or times when you aren’t available to shoulder the responsibilities of the group. Make decisions about how long your meetings will be, how often they will occur and what type of format you will use to facilitate discussion – like reading from a book, passing around a list of questions or just having open-ended conversation.

Source: NIMH

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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