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Session 125: Using EMDR to Support Recovery of Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder


Viviana Urdaneta, LCSW
Discussant: DaLene Forester, Ph.D.

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is characterized by failure to meet nutritional needs. While ARFID is more common in children and adolescents, it can affect people all ages. ARFID can result in significant weight loss, nutritional deficiency and interference with psychosocial functioning. The prevalence of ARFID is unknown, but initial studies estimate it affects as many as 5 percent of children. This disorder, when untreated, persists into adulthood. Unlike other eating disorders it is less widely understood and treated. This presentation will discuss this diagnosis, and how EMDR can be applied to Avoidant, Aversive and Restrictive Subtypes. We will discuss use of EMDR standard protocol to target food traumas and an innovative application of the protocol to sensory aversions and phobic responses. We will discuss Phase 1 assessment targets, common cognitions, and desensitization. This presentation will also describe imaginal and in-vivo exposure and homework as a compliment to sessions.

  1. Participants will be able to describe the definition, treatment goals and diagnosis of ARFID.
  2. Participants will be able to describe Phase 1, 2 and 3 considerations for ARFID and applications to Avoidant and Restrictive Subtypes.
  3. Participants will be able to describe considerations during Phase 4, including use(s) of standard and innovative protocol.



  • Heidi Dalzell, Psy.D.

    Heidi J. Dalzell, PsyD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and EMDRIA certified therapist who brings 30 years of experience to her work. She has been using EMDR for 15 years, and finds it pivotal to her work. Dr. Dalzell has a busy practice specializing in eating disorders. Areas of interest include mid-life eating disorders, body image, binge eating and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Dr. Dalzell is co-author of A Clinician’s Guide to Gender Identity and Body Image, and a frequent contributor to professional and consumer publications. She has presented nationally and internationally on topics connected to mental health. 

  • DaLene Forester, Ph.D.

    DaLene Forester, Ph.D., has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 1996 and as a Professional Clinical Counselor since 2013 in California. She maintains an active private practice specializing in the treatment of PTSD, Eating Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders. Dr. Forester is EMDR Certified, an EMDRIA Approved Consultant, EMDR Therapy Trainer, and a Past-President of the EMDRIA. Dr. Forester has two chapters in EMDR Solutions II, R Shapiro (ed.), W.W. Norton & Company, 2009, and one chapter in Trauma-Informed Approaches to Eating Disorders, A. Seubert and P. Virdi (ed.) Springer Publishing Company, LLC, 2019.

September 10, 2022
Sat 2:30 PM CDT

Duration 1H 30M

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