The collaborative relationship between the registered dietitian nutritionist and the therapist is an integral part of the treatment processes of eating disorders and disordered eating. Equally important, and perhaps even more so, is the relationship between clinician and client. If that relationship itself is critical to healing, the impact of our clients' daily relationship with their bodies and the food chosen to nourish them deserves consideration.
In clients with a history of disordered eating, the lack of relational intimacy is an integral part of the trauma-based experiences leading to an eating disorder. The scarcity of relational intimacy leads to relational hunger. Therefore, the lack of relational intimacy with the body itself and the food that sustains it can parallel the same trauma-based wounds, and the need for trauma-informed healing, that is part of eating disorder recovery.
This presentation explores the role of nutrition healing through the team collaboration between both RDN and therapist using a bottom-up approach inherent to trauma-informed treatment. This Neurosequential Model, presented using clinical examples and practical analogies, recognizes the principles of neuroplasticity and the polyvagal theory framework and offers healing benefits that can transform a foundationally “stuck” food pattern into hope for sustained recovery.
CPE Level:Level 2 (intermediate knowledge/experience)
- 8.2.4 Integrates new knowledge of disease states and clinical conditions into practice.
- 9.4.5 Implements individualized teaching plans in order to promote, maintain and enhance nutritional health and learning.
- 10.3.9 Leads the implementation of nutrition interventions in collaboration with clients/patients and the interprofessional team.
- Define the Neurosequential Model of bottom-up processing in relationship to the principles of neuroplasticity and the polyvagal theory framework through the RDN lens.
- List the three stages of the Neurosequential Model and how the RDN incorporates these stages into a collaborative treatment of eating disorders.
- Describe three benefits of the Neurosequential Model for nutrition healing from an eating disorder using clinical examples and creative analogies.
- Tammy Beasley
- Julie Holland