128. ACT for Food Restriction and Anorexia with Rhonda Merwin

According to Dr. Rhonda Merwin, individuals with anorexia and low weight are, “doing exactly what society has told them makes sense to be a good person.” At the same time, having anorexia and being over-controlled with food narrows your life, increases preoccupation with weight, and has negative health consequences. ACT offers a novel approach to treating eating disorders. By stepping back from eating disorder thoughts, identifying values and increasing acceptance and willingness, men and women can gain headway in recovery from one of the most difficult mental health issues.

In this episode, Diana talks with Dr. Rhonda Merwin, Associate Professor at Duke University Medical Center and lead author of ACT for Anorexia Nervosa: A Guide for Clinicians about ways to apply ACT to find freedom from anorexia and restrictive eating.  

In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, this episode is dedicated to all who are seeking recovery in their relationship with food and weight. May you find peace. #NEDAwareness #ComeAsYouAre


Listen and Learn

  • The power of appreciating the benefits of an eating disorder
  • Why some people at higher risk for anorexia or restrictive eating
  • Why ACT is especially effective for anorexia and disordered eating
  • What functional analysis is and how to use it to assess and treat disordered eating
  • What it means to be “emotion phobic” and how it relates to restrictive eating
  • Why over-working, people-pleasing, and being compliant are often linked to anorexia
  • How to create a more flexible sense of self that is not coupled with the eating disorder
  • The role that self-parenting plays in recovery from an eating disorder
  • What is it really like to have ACT co-founder Kelly Wilson as your mentor?

About Dr. Rhonda Merwin

Rhonda Merwin, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke Medical Center. She conducts research on the mechanisms and treatment of eating disorders, specifically restrictive eating disorders and eating disorders in the context of Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Merwin is also a Peer-Reviewed ACT Trainer, the Director of the ACT at Duke University Clinical and Training Program, and lead author of ACT for Anorexia Nervosa: A Guide for Clinicians.


Diana with Dr. Rhonda Merwin
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Episode 128