Eating disorders are usually tackled by weighing patients to analyse how ‘sick’ they are.
Yet this not only fails to recognise someone’s mental health, but also the severity of their physical health which cannot always be reduced to numbers on the scales.
Knowing first-hand that you can look ‘fine’ while also be desperately ill, Harriet Frew uses her personal experience together with therapy qualifications to help others struggling.
Speaking exclusively to Uspire, Harriet explained why she wanted to make the leap from recovery to counselling, and how she feels her insight can benefit patients.
Harriet said: “As a teenager and in my early twenties, I suffered from bulimia nervosa. This was an incredibly destructive and damaging illness to live with.
“Outwardly, I looked ‘fine’ but was stuck in secretive routines of restricting, bingeing and purging on a daily basis.”
She continued: “There was very little professional support available back then and I made a decision around the age of 23, when travelling alone in Australia, that I wanted to support others in some way to have a different experience from mine.
“I had counselling, read self-help books, went travelling, talked to friends, and worked hard on my recovery. I then began counselling training and saw my first clients a few years later.”
Throughout her career, Harriet has worked for the NHS and privately while supporting many clients in overcoming eating disorders, disordered eating and body image concerns.
Her approach is to adopt an anti-diet mindset, which promotes a healthy relationship with the body by learning new skills, habits and behaviours to find peace with food.
In addition to seeing clients one-on-one, Harriet invests time into her social media platforms where she shares tips and tricks on how to deal with food and body phobias.
From confidence boosts, ways to stay sane in lockdown, what NOT to say to someone who struggles with food, and tips to combat bingeing, she doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff.
Harriet has also launched her podcast, The Eating Disorder Therapist, to reach as many people as possible on her mission to spread positive messages about hope.
Talking about her plans for the future, Harriet says her aim is to show people that with early help and support, the path to recovery is possible.
Harriet said: “If eating disorders are treated in the first three years, then outcomes are much better. Everyone deserves to have professional support and treatment early on.
“I want people to feel inspired, hopeful, positive, uplifted, believe in recovery, and excited about what a recovered life can look like.”
Harriet’s current offerings include online courses – Steps to Intuitive Eating and How to Stop Binge Eating in the Pandemic – on the Teachable platform, while she also delivers breakthrough intensive support days which provide a road-map for navigating healthy eating.
She added: “I have exciting plans going forward, in particular I am doing more training for fellow counsellors in eating disorders and body image.”
To find out more, click here: The Eating Disorder Therapist.