Food is a necessary part of life and we all differ in the food we like, how much we need, and when we like to eat. However, sometimes people use food as a way of coping or controlling/avoiding feelings by restricting their food intake, bingeing, purging or over-exercising.


Anorexia nervosa is characterized by excessive food restriction, an irrational fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body self-perception. It typically involves excessive weight loss, due to the fear of weight gain.

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by binge eating and purging (an attempt to rid oneself of the food  consumed) in order to control weight.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating and a feeling of distress about binge eating.

Orthorexia is not recognized as a clinical diagnosis but is characterised by excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy.

Emotional overeating can be defined as eating large amounts of food in response to difficult emotions.

Some people may have some, but not all, of the typical signs of eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, or their symptoms are a mix of anorexia and bulimia. Some people will suffer from more than one type of eating disorder in their lives.


SAFA work with all different types of eating disorders. Our overall aims are to help you to:

  • Understand the underlying issues behind your eating problem
  • Develop healthier ways of coping

Past clients have told us that counselling has also helped with: body image, anxiety, depression, self-esteem and self-confidence, improved relationships, being more assertive, feeling more positive and sleeping better.

Counselling is a working relationship which provides a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space in which to explore the difficulties that you may be experiencing, in a way not always possible with family and friends.

Counsellors do not provide advice or offer magical solutions, but will help you to explore and identify thoughts, feelings and behaviours and understand yourself better. The counsellor will be like a companion on a journey, helping you to find ways of moving forward.

Everyone  who suffers from an eating disorder will experience it in a different way and respond to different types of treatment. Our counsellors are able to work in a variety of ways, depending on the individual needs of the client.



During your first appointment we will assess your needs. It can be useful for looking at what sort of issues you may wish to explore. This is also a chance for us to decide if counselling would be useful or not. If we both agree on future counselling sessions, a contract will be formed, which covers confidentiality, attendance etc.

For some people, undertaking counselling can be a difficult journey but with the support of a counsellor, many people do begin to feel better. It is important that you are willing to attend regularly to make the best use of therapy. Counselling sessions usually take place once a week at an agreed time.


This means that any information you disclose to your counsellor is private, and is not shared with anyone else outside of SAFA, unless you give permission to do so.   

There are, however, some exceptions where we cannot keep confidentiality, for example, due to severe risk to yourself or someone else or for legal reasons.  These will be FULLY discussed with you during your assessment.