How the psychologist works

Rita Bonfa'

Registered NIP psychologist

RitaI am specialised in eating disorders treatment (emotional eating, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa) as well as problems related to anxiety, self-esteem, depression, assertiveness, stress tolerance and relationship issues. I am originally from Italy and studied clinical psychology at the University of Padua. For a year I worked at a clinic for treating obesity in Venice and at a day hospital for all types of eating disorders in Barcelona. I speak Italian, fluent Spanish and English and have a basic understanding of Dutch language.

I have been engaged in individual, group, online and family therapy, besides workshops, art activities, corporal expression sessions.

For nine months I was working for "Ready for change" with addiction clients and developed together with Jennifer Ross (dietitian) and other counselors a new program for eating disorders based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most used treatment for eating disorders. CBT is evidence-based, which means that it is supported by an abundance of research over the past several decades that proves that it is effective in treating people with a variety of emotional and behavioral problems.

Research has shown that this approach does increase normal eating while reducing binge eating and compensatory behaviors. There is also evidence that suggests that beliefs/attitudes about weight and shape can be modified. CBT is based on the idea that behavior, thoughts and feelings are learned, and can therefore be unlearned, or modified. Emotional disturbance is caused by distorted or irrational thinking patterns and that you can change how you feel by changing how you think.

My approach is based on problem-solving. We will set goals in behavioral terms and potential solutions will be tested out in practice.

To ensure lasting improvement, we have to address our attention at a deeper level too. We will work together to explore the psychological issues underlying the eating disorder which most of the time come from childhood and can be activated again in adult life, getting beyond an event or situation that triggered the disorder in the first place.

From my experience I can say that people don't have eating disorders because of food. They binge, starve, compulsively eat and purge as a way of medicating themselves. There are feelings they cannot bear to experience, that they are too afraid of feeling. People are often unaware of these tendencies. But when they eat to the point of emotional numbness, starve to an ethereal high, fill themselves up and get rid of it through vomiting or laxatives or excessive exercise, they are fighting off a terrible despair, loneliness, frustration, anger and pain.

Pain is part of life and it can be helpful, if you improve your capacities to heal! Make the choice to feel better and contact us.


Rita Bonfa', psychologist