A Neurosequential Bottom-Up Approach to Healing of Trauma-Based Eating Disorders: The RDN and Therapist Collaboration


The collaborative relationship between the registered dietitian nutritionist and the therapist is an integral part of the treatment processes of eating disorders and disordered eating. Equally important, and perhaps even more so, is the relationship between clinician and client. If that relationship itself is critical to healing, the impact of our clients’ daily relationship with their bodies and the food chosen to nourish them deserves consideration. In clients with a history of disordered eating, the lack of relational intimacy is an integral part of the trauma-based experiences leading to an eating disorder. The scarcity of relational intimacy leads to relational hunger. Therefore, the lack of relational intimacy with the body itself and the food that sustains it can parallel the same trauma-based wounds, and the need for trauma-informed healing, that is part of eating disorder recovery. This presentation explores the role of nutrition healing through the team collaboration between both RDN and therapist using a bottom-up approach inherent to trauma-informed treatment. This Neurosequential Model, presented using clinical examples and practical analogies, recognizes the principles of neuroplasticity and the polyvagal theory framework and offers healing benefits that can transform a foundationally “stuck” food pattern into hope for sustained recovery.

Learning Objectives

Define the Neurosequential Model of bottom-up processing in relationship to the principles of neuroplasticity and the polyvagal theory framework through the RDN lens

List the three stages of the Neurosequential Model and how the RDN incorporates these stages into a collaborative treatment of eating disorders

Describe three benefits of the Neurosequential Model for nutrition healing from an eating disorder using clinical examples and creative analogies

Performance Indicators

2.3 Collaborates with inter- and intra-professional team members to achieve common goals and to optimize delivery of services

4.1 Demonstrates sound professional judgment and strategic thinking in practice

1.5 Recognizes and maintains appropriate relationships and boundaries


Tammy Beasley


Tammy Beasley Nutrition, LLC

Julie Holland


Dryden Holland Consulting, LLC


Shaun Riebl

Chief Nutrition Officer

Within Health

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