Eating Disorders


Individual Counselling for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge-Eating Disorder

Group Programs and 1 Day Workshops for Breaking Free from Emotional and Binge Eating, and Serial Dieting

If you are looking for counselling or support for any form of disordered eating, we can help. Eating Disorders have always been a key area of speciality here at Sandyford Wellness Centre. Our Counsellors/psychotherapists are fully qualified and have years of experience working with clients struggling with everything from Anorexia and Bulimia, to Emotional Eating, Binge Eating and Serial Dieting.  In a safe and confidential environment, we aim to establish a trusting relationship with clients which facilitates easing distress and bringing about positive change.


One of the most common myths about eating disorders is that they are about food, or weight.  This is not the case.  Eating disorders are a way of coping with difficult feelings and emotions.  A person engaging in abnormal behaviour around food or weight, is doing so because they are trying to avoid dealing with something else. It is usually very difficult for someone with an eating disorder to talk about their problems with others.  The first problem is not being able to talk about their feelings or emotions when something upsetting or difficult happens.  When the eating disordered behaviour gets out of control, it’s hard to talk about that.  Sufferers feel ashamed and guilty.  A common personality trait that is associated with eating disorders is being a ‘perfectionist’ or high achieving.  Clients often talk about being the one that others turn to for help and advice, being seen as strong and able to cope.  This makes it even harder to reach out to friends and family for help and support.


Skipping meals, eating substantially less than usual, vomiting or taking laxatives after eating to “purge” the food from the body;

Compulsive overeating ,being unable to stop eating, hiding food or eating in secret when nobody else is around;

Bingeing on food, this is planning and arranging to spend time alone and eating abnormally large quantities of food in a short period of time;
This may or may not be followed by vomiting – “purging”, or over-use of laxatives or diet pills;

Engaging in over-exercising, e.g. exercising for long periods every single day or exercising several times each day, planning schedules around exercising,  getting stressed or anxious when planned exercise sessions are missed;

Lying to friends and family about eating and/or exercising;

Obsessively measuring or weighing the body, constantly making unfavourable comparisons with other people about size;

feeling ugly and worthless because of weight or appearance, or having a distorted view of the body, i.e. imagining the body is larger than it actually is.


Withdrawal from friends and family;
Feelings of depression;
Feeling worthless, or useless;
Feelings of anxiety;
Mood swings;
Lack of control or feeling out of control;
Difficulty expressing emotions or needs to others;
Low self esteem;
Feeling disconnected from self and others.

Eating disorders are complicated and are made more so because they can be kept secret for a long time.  The longer it goes on, the harder it is to change.  Eating disorders are also very dangerous and they are life-threatening in the longer term.  Our bodies are very adaptable, and they will do everything they can to keep working, but continued abuse over a long period will slowly break down your body, causing severe damage to your organs and bodily functions. Treatment of an eating disorder should therefore be a combination of psychological and emotional help, and help with the physical problems that have occurred as a result of the disorder.Anyone suffering from an eating disorder will have a significant impact on their family and friends, whether or not it is acknowledged or recognised.


Eating disordered behaviour often starts as a result of an upsetting or difficult experience, that the person finds hard to cope with.  Common triggering events are bullying, a death in the family, stress and pressure due to exams, criticism about weight or appearance, a separation or any other significant event that affects someone emotionally and is hard to deal with.  The person may not ever have been good at expressing their emotions or admitting to other people that they are struggling with something.   People who worry about what other think of them instead of being able to stand up for themselves may be more likely to experience an eating disorder.  Teenagers are particularly vulnerable, because of the pressure at this time in life to conform, to be the same, to look like everyone else.  Added to this is the pressure on teenagers from parents to succeed, to do well in exams, to manage their behaviour and conform to parent’s beliefs and expectations.  Eating disorders do not start out as a conscious choice and are not a willful form of ‘attention seeking’.  Rather, they come about slowly as a coping mechanism the person uses to help them feel more in control, or as a way of avoiding dealing with other, more difficult issues.

Eating disorders help sufferers feel “safe”.  The structure and set of behaviours involved give a sense of control and purpose, and a sense of achievement when they succeed in ‘not eating’, or losing another pound in weight, or vomit up every meal they’ve eaten in a day.  The behaviours serve an important purpose for the person, so it is understandable that they do not let go of them easily or without a fight.

HOW CAN WE HELP? Counselling and Psychotherapy for Bulimia, Binge-Eating and Anorexia

Being able to ask for support, tell people how you feel, and admit that you are struggling sometimes, are new and difficult behaviours, but they are part of the journey towards a life free from eating disorder.  Counselling can help in overcoming an eating disorder.  Having an independent, objective person to guide and support you through the process of recognising why the eating disorder came about and working on changing how you deal with emotional events, can be very beneficial.

At Sandyford Wellness Centre all of our Counsellors and Psychotherapists are fully qualified and experienced in their areas of expertise.  As well as offering individual therapy, we also offer one day workshops, Group Programs and two self-directed Online Programs. Click here to learn more about our Online Eating Disorders Program.

Emma Murphy MIACP

Eating Disorders Specialist Psychotherapist
BA (Hons) Psych, PGDip Counselling & Psychotherapy, HETAC Trainer, HSE Accredited Facilitator

Emma currently runs 1 day workshops on “Mindfulness for Emotional Eating” in Sandyford, and an 8 Week Group Program – “Eating Freely” – both in Sandyford and Online. Due to demand, Emma is not accepting any new individual clients at the moment. To find out more about joining the next 8 Week Group Program in October 2017 or to register for her Mindfulness for Emotional Eating workshop on 24 September 2017, please visit

Fionnuala Darcy MIAHIP

BA (Hons) Psych, Chartered MCIPD,QMIGC,GMPSI,Fionnuala Pic
Prof. Cert CBT, Master Practitioner in Eating Disorders

I have been working as a Psychotherapist since 2007 and am fully accredited with IAHIP (Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy)

I hold an Honours Degree in Psychology from Trinity College and a Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy. I’ve also completed specialist training in Eating Disorders, Nutrition and Obesity. I also hold a professional certification in CBT.

I work with adults on a one to one basis helping them deal with in a wide range of issues. My expertise is particularly in the areas of eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating); obesity; anxiety, depression; low self-esteem; personal identity and personal growth and development.

Core to my approach is working collaboratively with clients in a gentle way and meeting them where they are at. I believe this helps to bring about change in their own personal lives allowing them to reach their full potential. Fundamental to achieving this is a safe environment where there is no fear of being judged or criticised.

Before undertaking a career in psychotherapy, I worked for many years in Human Resources. My experience of working with people who had issues in their work and personal lives greatly helped me develop in the field of psychotherapy. Combining my experience as a HR specialist and Psychotherapist, I draw on a variety of different practical life experiences and therapeutic approaches.

Please call me directly on 086-6064111 to arrange an appointment.