Creative Methods Get Spotlight on Treating Eating Disorders at California’s EDRS Conference

Share Article

New tools bridge art and science in eating disorders treatment. Creative Methods--from ancient wisdom traditions to modern expressive therapies--are the focus of the popular Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.'s Annual Conference in the Sonoma Wine Country, California.

“We’re learning that eating disorders clients benefit when specialized medical, psychotherapy and nutrition therapy are supplemented with (not replaced by) movement, writing, visual arts, dance, yoga, music, storytelling, and other expressive therapies,”

Tens of millions of Americans suffer from eating disorders, but only a fraction of them seek treatment for these complex, debilitating and illnesses. Eating disorders span the weight spectrum and include anorexia--chronic food restriction or starvation dieting; bulimia-compensatory behaviors; over-exercise with restricting food, and binge eating disorder. Often difficult to detect, and without proper treatment, eating disorders will progress, compromising the lives of mostly teens and young adults, but cross all demographics. Eating disorders are potentially and often surprisingly, fatal, with the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.

Fortunately, there is help. New and effective tools for treatment continue to develop. “We’re learning that eating disorder clients benefit when specialized medical, psychotherapy and nutrition therapy are supplemented with (not replaced by) movement, writing, visual arts, dance, yoga, music, storytelling, and other expressive therapies,” says Dr. Barbara Birsinger, President of Eating Disorders Recovery Support (EDRS), based in Northern California.

For example, renowned therapist and author Anita Johnston, PhD, teaches women how to free themselves from disordered eating by discovering the metaphors that are hidden in their own life stories.

“Myth and metaphor tell us a truth that is not literal, but symbolic,” Johnston explains. “If we hear the stories with only the outer ear, they can seem absurd and untrue, but when listened to with the inner ear, they convey a truth that can be understood and absorbed on a deeply personal level. In this way, stories help us connect with our inner world, and to the power of our intuitive wisdom [needed for recovery]."

Johnston is one of several leaders in eating disorders treatment from the US and UK who are speaking at the Ninth Annual EDRS Conference in Santa Rosa, California February 5 through 7, 2015 on the theme: “The Intersection of Art & Science: Integrating Creative Methods into the Treatment of Eating Disorders.”

The nonprofit EDRS, Inc., provides treatment scholarships to individuals in financial need, who struggle with an eating disorder, while promoting community awareness and professional education and collaboration. The annual EDRS conference’s range of leading presenters draws treatment professionals and others who care about eating disorders from across the U.S. and beyond.

This year’s speakers also include:

  • Lucy Aphramor R.D. Ph.D. Pioneer of size acceptance in the UK National Health Service, and co-author of the new book with Linda Bacon, PhD: “Body Respect: What Conventional Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight”
  • Ovidio Bermudez, MD, CEDS, Chief Medical Officer at Eating Recovery Centers in Colorado, California, Washington, and Texas
  • Carolyn Costin, MA, MEd, MFT, CEDS, Founder of Monte Nido Treatment Centers in California, Oregon, New York, and Massachusetts, author of "8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder", "Your Dieting Daughter", "The Eating Disorder Sourcebook" and "100 Questions & Answers about Eating Disorders"
  • Ann Kearney-Cooke, PhD, director of the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute
  • Sondra Kronberg, MS, RD, CDN, CEDRD, Director of FEED Treatment Program in New York
  • Adrienne Ressler, LMSW, CEDS, Vice President, The Renfrew Center Foundation in Philadelphia

There will be many additional in-depth professional presentations—several by leading San Francisco Bay Area eating disorders experts, and expressive and creative arts therapists. Eating Disorder Treatment Centers will also be on site with extensive resources for professionals and the public.

This annual conference is the largest fundraiser, where all proceeds are donated to the EDRS treatment scholarship fund, to help those with insufficient resources to receive treatment for these complex illnesses. The conference takes place at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa in Santa Rosa, CA. Registration is available at:, or, where donations to EDRS treatment scholarship fund are also accepted.

For more details, contact Dr. Birsinger at 855-588-3377, or email: edrs(dot)conference(at)gmail(dot)com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Barbara Birsinger

Dr. Barbara Birsinger
since: 11/2010
Follow >
Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc
since: 03/2012
Like >
Visit website