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Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing for emotional eating by Georgie Beams, Pgrad Dip Psych

By Anthea Talliopoulos, APD

Emotional eating is a complex area, often requiring multidisciplinary involvement to achieve long-term change. Many clients will present distressed with their behaviour, knowing what the ‘right thing to do is’, but struggling on a day-to-day basis in achieving change. This is due to the subconscious mind playing a great part in emotional eating, and without addressing this, it can be very difficult to maintain sustainable changes. For example, a client with a binge eating tendency may undergo bariatric surgery, losing weight in the short-term and then regaining weight, resorting to their trigger foods again as their subconscious eating behaviours have not been adequately addressed.

This presentation is useful for dietitians working with clients effected by emotional eating, whether this be in weight-loss, bariatric or eating disorder clients.

In this fascinating presentation, Registered Psychologist Georgie Beams outlines the use and relevance of evidence-based Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) in treating emotional eating. She outlines the physiological pathway in binge eating through explaining how an often uncomfortable feeling activates the amygdala to automatically revert to eating through the hippocampus, causing a feeling of ‘numbing out’, or feeling like control has been lost. She explains, through a practical and realistic example, how EMDR can be used to treat problematic eating issues, such as a loss of control around food. Georgie outlines how EMDR aims to find the origin of when these eating issues started, using EMDR processing to re-wire the brain, creating new connections. She also practically outlines case studies of how clients have used EMDR to gain control of their eating habits, addictions (including weighing addictions), and achieved positive results long-term.

While this is a relatively new area, EMDR has the potential to benefit clients in addressing their underlying and subconscious eating habits alongside dietetic support.


  • Many clients with problematic eating behaviours have underlying subconscious driving factors beyond forced control and will-power.
  • EMDR can be carried out by specifically trained therapists and assists in re-wiring the brain and taking emotion out of the food or habit effects, resulting in natural control.
  • EMDR is an evidence-based can assist in managing cravings and urges, as well as negative beliefs which cause individuals to turn to food. This is achieved through bilateral stimulation and in addressing subconscious driving factors.
  • EMDR can be considered, where relevant, in enhancing client outcomes alongside dietetic support to ensure underlying problematic eating habits are addressed in a holistic manner.

Georgie Beames is a registered Psychologist who has a long-standing interest in working with clients who have eating, weight and body image concerns. 

Georgie uses evidence based psychological techniques that shift client’s negative attitudes and beliefs that keep them locked in the battle with their body.

She adopts a client-centred approach to her work that is respectful of the client, tailored to their needs, and grounded in evidence-based practice. Georgie helps clients to identify the changes that they wish to make, and works with her clients to understand and make sense of their concerns. She has private practice experience and an online program, where she solely works with clients around their eating, weight and body image concerns.

Georgie has been working in a weight loss surgery clinic since 2016, consulting with both our surgical and non-surgical weight loss clients. She has recently established a podcast for weight loss surgery patients called Reverse the Relapse.

To register for the presentation and associated documents including the assessment quiz click here