Eating and Body Image Concerns

The severity of problems among students who seek services at the University Counseling Center for eating and body image concerns varies greatly. Some students have relatively uncomplicated eating disorders while others have severe or chronic problems. Some students come to college with a significant history of prior treatment for their disorder; others have never engaged in treatment.

To address the comprehensive needs of students with eating disorders, the UCC has developed a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Assessment and treatment of students with eating and body image concerns is coordinated by a team of professionals that consists of a physician at University Health Services who specializes in the medical management of eating disorders, a registered dietitian with clinical expertise in eating disorders, and counselor who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. Students are asked to complete an assessment with each team member to assess the severity of their problem and to identify individual concerns and needs. Treatment recommendations will be made for each student. Recommendations may include the development of an individualized plan for treatment utilizing the services on campus or a referral to a more intensive level of care than can be provided at the UCC.

Individual counseling or group counseling is offered at the UCC for eating and body image concerns. Prior to participation in an eating disorders group, a brief session with the group facilitator(s) must be scheduled.

Students work with the nutritionist to develop a plan for healthy eating that is designed to meet their individual needs. It is important to note that students must be involved in counseling for an eating disorder/disordered eating to engage in nutritional services through the UCC. If a student is interested only in obtaining nutritional services, information about other resources on campus will be provided.

The physical assessment for students with eating disorders is provided through University Health Services. The physician will obtain a medical history from each student and assess their current health. Lab work and additional medical tests may be ordered, most of which can be obtained through UHS. Students who have had a recent medical exam and lab work may choose to have that information released to UHS for review. Recommendations for medical follow up services will be made based on individual needs.

Some individuals with eating disorders benefit from medication as an adjunct to therapy. The eating disorders treatment team may recommend that a student schedule a psychiatric consultation to determine whether medication would be beneficial. The UCC has a consulting psychiatrist on staff and services are available to students who are also engaged in counseling at the UCC.

Students are encouraged to actively participate in treatment and are considered an important part of the team.