By: Brittany Braswell, MS, RDN, LD

Over the last several years, researchers and clinicians alike have observed the significant impact that faith can have on one’s desire, drive, and ultimate success in recovery from an eating disorder.  Studies show that incorporating spirituality into treatment has a direct relationship in reducing depression, anxiety, relational distress, and eating disorder symptoms. Research conducted at Brigham Young identified four distinct positive experiences as playing a positive role in recovery.

  • A spiritual connection to a higher power. Many clients reported that their relationship with God gave them a greater sense of worth and feeling as if they are not alone.  One of my recent eating disorder clients described how her faith in God had improved her view of herself, noting, “My faith helps me understand that I am not the mistakes that I have made or the things that have happened to me.  My faith and my God take the shame off me and fill me with an unspeakable peace and love.”
  • Time spent in prayer and reading prayer-focused books. One client at Magnolia Creek recently described how her faith in God and the time she spends in daily prayer is impacting her recovery, stating that, “My faith in the Lord is one of the main reasons I fight to survive, live and recover.” She continued, noting that scripture is often a great source of comfort and hope for her and other clients in recovery.
  • Relationship with treatment team members of similar faith/spirituality. Finding a therapist of the same faith, or one who is open to exploring ideas of religion/spirituality helps people make a strong spiritual connection and allows them to be more open and honest about their disorder. This notion that clients are searching for a spiritual connection among their treatment team may allow a clinician a deeper understanding of a client’s struggles, as well as their motivators in the treatment process.  As a clinician, personal boundaries and our willingness to be open about our faith and spirituality is important to furthering the conversation and understanding our clients.
  • The role of religion, religious leaders, and having a spiritual community. This role significantly impacts recovery success, and incorporating it into the treatment process gives clients the opportunity to (voluntarily) attend weekly faith-based services.

At Magnolia Creek, we provide our clients with as many opportunities as we can for healing from their eating disorder. Since we are comprised of mind, body, and spirit, it makes sense that recovery would involve these aspects. Our holistic program addresses the medical, nutritional, psychological, spiritual, social-emotional and behavioral needs of individuals struggling with eating disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. We understand that educating ourselves and increasing our awareness of integrating spirituality/faith into our treatment program can improve recovery rates and sustain mental and spiritual health.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, we can help. Using an evidence-based treatment model, we work with you to help you fully recover. To learn more about our program, please call us at 866-318-2329 or complete our contact form.