Disordered Eating: Working With and Through the Body/Mind of Patient and Therapist

Date: Saturday 30 November 2019 – London

With Yeva Feldman, Morit Heitzler and Susie Orbach

This conference will be grounded in the most up to date thinking on eating problems, as well as offering some substantial and inspiring assistance to those working with this challenging client group. Traditionally, the term “eating disorder” is a medical expression encompassing the various psychiatric diagnoses referred to in the DSM 5. Our speakers will problematise the diagnostic criteria for a wide range of eating issues (Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Pica, Rumination Disorder and Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) to help us navigate this complex interaction between emotional issues and food. Whether these symptoms can best be understood as an illness, as an expression of relational pain or a response to the demands of our times will be considered. We will examine what makes one eating disorder pathway more compelling than another for the patient/client, and why.

Overall, it might be argued, to have an eating disorder is to have an illness which causes a great deal of damage to the body, mind and soul. Most clients do not understand the seriousness of their food issues, and the profound effects these have on their physiology and mental health. Denial of illness and ambivalence about treatment is one of the major symptoms that therapists may be working with as clients normalise their problem. Often they may have co-existing problematic states of mind, such as depression or bi-polar disorder which provide a layer of complexity to the therapeutic work.

Our speakers come from diverse clinical backgrounds including psychoanalytic psychotherapy, attachment-based psychotherapy, body psychotherapy, dance movement psychotherapy and nutrition. We hope to bring a broad range of ideas for our participants to consider in their clinical work. The day will begin with talks followed by workshops in the afternoon in which you can choose from an embodied, movement based approach or an attachment-based approach with contributions from a nutrition expert.

Link to Full Programme


Yeva Feldman

Yeva Feldman is a Gestalt and Dance Movement Psychotherapist with over 20 years’ experience working in mental health settings. She specialises in eating disorders. She has developed an embodied relational approach combining words and movement with an emphasis on relational contact. She has presented research on this methodology applied to the treatment of eating disorders and authored a chapter in Payne, H. (Ed.) (2017), Essentials of Dance Movement Psychotherapy: International Perspectives on Theory, Research and Practice. She also has a strong interest in working with trauma using this approach and authored a chapter on this topic (in press). She co-directs the MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy Programme at the University of Roehampton. She supervises, teaches and presents internationally.

Morit Heitzler

Morit Heitzler is an experienced relational body psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer with a private practice in Oxford. She has been teaching on various training courses in the UK and abroad and regularly leads workshops and groups. Since working both at the Traumatic Stress Service of the Maudsley Hospital and The Oxford Stress and Trauma Centre, Morit has gained experience over many years in working with a wide variety of PTSD symptoms and traumatised clients, including refugees and asylum seekers. She has developed an integrative approach to trauma work, incorporating – within an overall relational perspective – different types of somatic trauma therapy, EMDR, Body Psychotherapy, attachment theory, modern neuroscience and Family Constellations.

Susie Orbach

Susie Orbach is a psychoanalyst and writer. She co-founded The Women’s Therapy Centre in 1976 and The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute, a training institute in New York, in 1981. Her books include Fat is a Feminist Issue, Hunger Strike, On Eating, What’s Really Going on Here, Towards Emotional Literacy, The Impossibility of Sex and Bodies. Her latest book In Therapy is from the highly regarded BBC Radio 4 series of the same name which drew 2 million listeners. She has a clinical practice seeing individuals and couples and is a member of The Balint Consultancy. She convenes the UK chapter of www.endangeredbodies.org