Hi there and welcome to the Eating Freely Institute!
Eating Freely is the world's leading network of Emotional Eating, Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia specialists. We are dedicated to helping our clients recover from years of dysfunctional eating, and find true freedom around food forever. Our programs are evidence based, are endorsed with CPD points and were developed by Emma Murphy, Psychotherapist and Disordered Eating Specialist for over ten years.
Hi, I’m Emma Murphy, the Founder and Clinical Director of Eating Freely.
Eating Freely is a comprehensive program that I have developed over 10 years of working with women and men who struggle with food, weight and their body image.
So many of my clients were caught in a cycle of Diet/Crash/Binge/Guilt/Diet – which never achieved the permanent results they so desperately wanted – to feel comfortable in their own skin. In fact, going on diet after diet with no permanent success caused more stress and misery in the long run, not to mention adverse health effects such as IBS, colitis, reflux etc, and anxiety or depression from stress and low serotonin.
For 10 years I worked in private practice with clients on all parts of the disordered eating spectrum – from a 5.5 stone client with anorexia who refused to go to inpatient treatment to a morbidly obese client who had two-thirds of her stomach removed before she came to counselling, and everything in between.
Once I began to see the common patterns and common personality traits between my clients, I developed a way of working that helped everyone, by addressing these specific patterns and traits. This is how the Eating Freely Program was developed.
The majority of clients coming to see me were in the middle of the disordered eating spectrum, clients who have a long history of swinging from dieting to bingeing and back again and meet most or all the criteria for Binge Eating Disorder, but self-identify as a Yo-Yo Dieter or Emotional Eater. A smaller but very steady group of clients were struggling with Bulimia. Some may have had Anorexia in the past (often as a teen / young adult), and overcome it, only for a different form of disordered eating to eventually take its place.
I have always worked alongside a Nutritional Therapist and this is now an essential component of the program as we can address both the food and the feelings simultaneously. That’s why this program is truly integrative. Eating Freely delivers freedom from food obsession, freedom from the revolving door of diet programs, freedom from all the underlying physical symptoms a disordered relationship with food brings with it, and most of all freedom from shame and guilt, which usually stems right back to the client’s childhood and whatever adverse event or experience taught them how to self-soothe with food in the first place.
In 2017, two things happened. First, we as a family moved back to Dublin from Cork and second, I realised I was getting burned out from working with disordered eating clients all the time – it’s heavy work when it is all you do, because of course so much of the eating symptoms are driven by underlying trauma and adverse experiences in the past. Add to this the fact that I couldn’t see all the clients who wanted to attend because I was that rare thing - a specialist therapist in this area – and I was ready to quit!
A couple of long-dark-nights-of-the-soul later where I seriously considered giving up therapy, I realised that I could continue to help clients, and in fact help far more clients, if I trained other therapists in my program and how to work with this large, under-served group of women and men. I trained as a Trainer, took a year long business mastermind program, and put my training program together with the help of experts in training and licensing.
Eating Freely has continued to grow and we now have a team of certified Eating Freely Therapists in Ireland, and several also working online with clients as far away as Canada, the USA and South Africa, and Eating Freely is now a separate business with a small team working together to bring our program to as many clients as possible.
All of our Licensed Therapists are fully qualified Counsellors, Therapists, LSW’s or Psychologists. We only train fully qualified professionals, our training carries CPD points from 4 international bodies, and it meets the criteria for specialist training to work with disordered eating – specifically Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia.
It is our vision to create a vibrant, mutually supportive and reciprocal network of clients and therapists who together, become strong enough to drive home the messages that diets do not work, it is absolutely possible to move on from your past, and that self-love is the key to transformational change.
Emma Murphy MIACP
Psychotherapist & Eating Disorder Specialist
We use a combination of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), Nutritional Rehabilitation, Neuroscience and Mindfulness/Self-Compassion throughout the program to give clients a great toolbox of resources that they can begin using straight away, and continue to build on after we finish our work with them.
CBT Tools and Resources - Give you concrete, usable tools that help clients to significantly reduce bingeing, emotional eating and overeating episodes from Session 1. This is a huge relief to clients as the distress they have around their emotional eating is all-encompassing when they first arrive for support.
Nutritional Rehabilitation - The Program for clients includes two individual sessions with an Eating Freely Nutritional Therapist. When their gut has been abused the way our clients’ guts have been abused, it contributes HUGELY to the ‘brain fog’, lack of motivation, low mood and completely skewed hungry/not hungry cues. The clients receive an individualised plan to reset their gut, body and brain, so they feel MUCH better, physically and mentally, within as little as 2-3 weeks, and then they will have a follow-up session around week 8 to develop their new Eating Plan for Life.
Neuroscience education - teaches clients how our brain works, why it can be our worst enemy when trying to change or break bad, unhealthy and unhelpful habits, and how they can break free of both their old behaviours, AND dial down that negative, critical voice in their heads. So much of what clients experience negatively is simply old Autopilots, stored in their brain long ago. When clients learn that it is not them and their weakness or lack of willpower, but their BRAIN, they experience significant relief, and this opens up the way to freedom from old, unhelpful habits and beliefs.
Mindfulness & Self-Compassion - bringing clients into the present moment is critical, when so many of our clients live in the past, and many catastrophise about the future. When we support clients to stop, observe and decide how to respond, instead of simply reacting out of habit, then they can choose to behave differently, challenge their unhelpful thoughts, learn how to calm themselves and reduce anxiety. This helps to reduce episodes of emotional eating and bingeing, and ultimately changes the 'mind chatter' from criticism, to compassion.
The Program weaves these four pillars of support together through underlying concepts of family of origin, inner child work and psychodynamic psychotherapy - so we support our clients to revisit their past experiences which led to them discovering food as a self-soothing strategy, reprocess it with them, and create space for clients to finally let go of what no longer serves them.
Our program is truly is a unique opportunity for clients to break free from the cycle of restricted/diet led eating, and bingeing/overeating, and finally learn how to eat well, with no deprivation, in a way that truly supports health, well being and weight loss in a very healthy, sustainable way. But the far bigger bonus for clients is that they will also experience a fundamental shift in how they see themselves, how they speak to themselves in their mind, and how they understand their past and its impact on their present reality.
To learn more about our licensed training and how you can become either a Licensed Eating Freely Therapist or Health Coach, just click the relevant button below.
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