Kathleen Someah: Strengthening the Sense of Self to Cope with Eating Disorders | Bouncing Back #28

In this episode, host Joahanna Wickramaratne is joined by Dr. Kathleen L. Someah, who holds a Ph.D. and is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders

People suffering from eating disorders often feel like they don’t know what is going on with them, making it hard to develop coping strategies and difficult for people around them to support them. This episode will go into detail about eating disorders, ways to cope, and how to help.

Meet Dr. Kathleen Someah

Dr. Kathleen Someah is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a specialization in treating eating disorders, addiction, anxiety, and other forms of illness. She maintains a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, treating adolescents, kids, and transitional-age youth. When working with her clients and patients, Dr. Kathleen draws a lot from her lived experience of dealing with eating disorders for more than a decade.

About the episode

The discussion kicked off with the importance of resilience in recovering from an eating disorder. These disorders are illnesses that take hold of a person, and believing that you can get better is key to recovery. Resilience pictures the strength that it takes to go on this journey.

On this note, Dr. Kathleen discussed how critical resilience-building is when starting the recovery journey. She believes that embodying resilience is key, especially in tackling methods and stages that require a lot of discipline.

She also discussed the concept of food being a byproduct of the thought processes fueling this disorder. Eating disorders are typically not about food. They are often more about self-image, stresses, cultural norms, and acceptance. In this sense, Dr. Kathleen defines eating disorders as a mental condition that affects people of any size, shape, age, and condition.

Dr. Kathleen also gave an overview of eating disorders. She highlighted bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), and orthorexia. Awareness brings these disorders to light, especially conversations about people’s relationships with their bodies.

Another key point is the effects of cultural norms and societal events in creating harmful narratives, especially for at-risk and impressionable teenagers.

She also revealed how support systems can help; by checking in, opening conversations, and even being mindful of media consumption. Lastly, she talked about appreciating your body not only when it looks good, finding moments to express gratitude, and looking towards your environment for grounding.

In conclusion

With the near-constant messaging in social media, televisions, and dozens of other channels, eating disorders are on the rise. Getting out of this maze can be exceedingly difficult, but understanding its roots and educating yourself about healthy practices and mindsets goes a long way.

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