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Free Virtual CEU Event

Double Despair: Compassionate and Competent Treatment for Co-Occurring Eating Disorders and the Unresolved Trauma of Abuse

June 30, 2021, 9 - 10:30 am

It is no secret in the field of eating disorder treatment that there is a strong correlation between trauma and eating disorders. Just as abuse is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality, so it is with eating disorders; neither abuse nor eating disorders discriminate. When an eating disorder is entangled in the roots of abuse, the trauma resulting from the abuse needs to be treated, along with the eating disorder.

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Meeting ID: 830 9514 6350
Passcode: 139094


More About Our Topic

The development of an eating disorder is often an abuse survivor’s way of coping with the pain of unresolved, and often secret trauma in his or her life. For many who are already vulnerable to an eating disorder on the biopsychosocial construct, becoming a victim of abuse is often the trigger that thrusts them into the jaws of an eating disorder. While they often see an ED as a way “out” of their pain, ironically, it is yet another abuser holding them captive.

Just as proper identification of signs and symptoms of an eating disorder are crucial to developing a comprehensive treatment plan, so it is with traumatic events. A traumatic event is an incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm. Trauma takes many forms, from witnessing a violent incident to a child getting caught in the middle of his parents’ contentious divorce. Abuse is considered a traumatic event, and there are various forms of abuse, including physical, sexual, and psychological/emotional.

The presenter, a Licensed Clinician, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, Certified Domestic Violence Victim Advocate, and the survivor of a 13-year emotionally abusive marriage, will discuss how to identify the various types of abuse, and how they can hide themselves in an

eating disorder. We will explore simple, yet critical therapeutic interventions, that every mental health provider can do to help a client trapped in the double despair of an eating disorder and unresolved trauma from abuse. These interventions are key, whether the abuse is past, or present to help victims begin to heal. Participants will learn how the unresolved/untreated trauma of abuse can cultivate fertile ground for maladaptive coping skills to take root, contribute to the onset and multiply the power of an eating disorder. Treating the eating disorder and trauma in co-occurrence will be examined, and we will explore evidence based cognitive behavioral therapeutic approaches to treatment, in particular trauma-focused CBT. Participants will walk away equipped with more compassion for the double bind these clients find themselves in, as well as skill competency in how to most effectively help them heal.

Get to Know Our Presenter

Laura Sabin Cabanillas is the Clinical Director of Eating Recovery Center, Orange County. She is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in both California and Washington, a National Certified Counselor, and a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. She also holds certifications as a Crisis Response Therapist and a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate. She received her Bachelor’s in Journalism/Public Relations and her Master’s in Counseling at Northern Arizona University. Her clinical expertise is in treating eating disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma, existential crisis, spirituality, and grief & loss.

Laura has worked in outpatient clinical settings, as well as residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient eating disorder, and mood & anxiety treatment programs. Her background is a unique composite of skills that includes clinical mental health work, university instruction, broadcast and written journalism, motivational speaking, program marketing, and professional relations development. She is the published author of two books, and more than 20 short stories and articles, and is an active blogger.

Laura feels most fulfilled when she is helping others and enjoys volunteering her time to several community and professional organizations, including iaedp and recently served on the Orange County iaedp board. Laura’s work is largely influenced by her strongest core belief that all human beings were created for connection, and that behavior is largely motivated by our innate drive to connect – to love and be loved.

Laura Cabanillas photo.jpeg

Laura Sabin Cabanillas,


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