Episode 70: The Healing Power of Embodiment with Heidi Andersen

Heidi Andersen

Episode description: 

Heidi Andersen is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Embodiment Specialist. She has worked with people struggling with eating disorders as a therapist in residential, PHP, IOP, and outpatient levels of care. She currently maintains an outpatient group practice of body-centered psychotherapists specializing in weight-inclusive treatment for the intersection of trauma, attachment wounds, and eating disorders through an anti-oppression lens and somatic approach.

In this episode of Peace Meal, we explore the concept of embodiment and how it relates to eating disorders and recovery. Heidi covers the reasons we can become disembodied, as well as different ways we can work toward reconnecting with our body. Heidi also dives into how important it is for healthcare providers who help others with their embodiment to work on their own. She offers yoga as one tool in increasing embodiment, and it is a practice she finds especially valuable to ground herself on bad body image days. Recognizing that embodiment can often feel unsafe for people who are not in white, straight-sized bodies, Heidi hopes for a future where embodiment is more accessible for all.

We cover: 

  • The definition of embodiment and reasons why disembodiment can occur
  • How we can start to be more present in our bodies 
  • What healthcare providers can do to help progress their own embodiment
  • How yoga can aid the process of embodiment and eating disorder recovery
  • How body changes during recovery are normal and how to show yourself compassion if your body changes
  • Why embodiment is not as accessible or safe to those who aren’t white and straight-sized

In Heidi’s words: 

  • On the true meaning of embodiment: “Embodiment is really about learning to experience ourselves from the inside out and experience life from that place, rather than the, ‘How am I being perceived as I’m doing this?’ 
  • On the impact of society on disembodiment:  “We live in a society that has prejudice and oppression… We live in a society where we’re still being told that one kind of body is preferred, and so as long as that’s happening, as long as it feels dangerous to be in different sized bodies, that’s gonna impact our embodiment.”
  • On the accessibility of embodiment: “Embodiment is definitely a key in recovery, but it is not as accessible to everybody. People that inhabit marginalized identities, it is less safe to be embodied. I think that is an important thing as a provider to understand is that, embodiment can feel like something that white, straight-sized people get to enjoy that marginalized identities can’t necessarily enjoy… Embodiment and safety in your body is a privilege.”

Visit Heidi’s website, reclaimingbeauty.com, to purchase The Reclaiming Beauty Journal and Wisdom Deck, read her blog, and more, and follow her on Instagram (@reclaimingbeauty).

Learn more about The Emily Program online or by calling 1-888-364-5977. 

About the podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast hosted by The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative that covers topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

You can find Peace Meal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts. If you enjoy our show, please rate, review, subscribe, and tell your friends!

Are you interested in being a guest on Peace Meal? Email podcast@emilyprogram.com for more information.

Tags: , , ,

The Emily Program Logo