Press Release: How Layla is supporting recovery with eating disorders

December 5, 2021

“I truly was not in a good space at the start of these sessions. I am happy to be making progress getting my emotions and anxiety in check. I have tried medication in the past, but did not respond well”. -Former Client, The Recovery Skills Group for eating disorders & disordered eating 

“I think learning about HAES is going to be a really valuable part of this experience for me. I think the most impactful part was hearing the others share. Without even needing to know their stories, I felt a connection to their sharing that made me feel less alone”. -Former Client, The Recovery Skills Group for eating disorders & disordered eating 



Talking about feelings and values, a more inclusive way to work through layered mental health challenges around eating disorders and disordered eating, virtual programming in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario throughout 2022.

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto - December 20, 2021 – Anorexia nervosa yields the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness (Murray, Pila, Griffiths & Le Grange, 2017). As individuals continue to grapple with increasingly complex thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to body image, self image and food, group therapy can be an effective way to work through these challenges.

Layla Care offers a Recovery Skills Group for eating disorders & disordered eating which welcomes individuals aged 18+ of all genders and sexual orientations. This group program aims to change the discourse around disordered eating and eating disorders to support every body through the provision of gender affirming care. 

According to CMHA around 90% of people diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia are women, however binge-eating disorder more equally affects men and women.  Layla Care wants to create a safe space for male identifying individuals who face more stigma, or who may go undiagnosed or who are just unraveling the mental health aspects of their toxic relationship to weight gain, ‘gym culture’ and fad diets. Our group therapy program equally welcomes non-binary, genderqueer and trans individuals who in addition to disordered eating or an eating disorder may be experiencing body dissatisfaction in relation to their gender identity. 

The Recovery Skills Group for eating disorders and disordered eating draws on the Health at Every Size® (HAES) principles: 

  • Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes
  • Health Enhancement: Balancing physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional and other needs
  • Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure 
  • Respectful Care: Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age and other identitites impact weight stigma and support environments that address these inequities
  • Life-enhancing movement: Support individuals to engage in enjoyable movement if they choose

This group takes a trans-diagnostic approach, “The diagnosis in and of itself or lack thereof doesn’t matter. Our group focuses on the core psychopathology present for the clients. In a group environment, we target the processes that maintain the over-evaluation of weight and shape and their behaviours around control.” states Valerie Tsang, Clinical Program Manager at Layla Therapy. This program is a safe space to welcome individuals who are new to experiencing challenges, to individuals who are in recovery and for those who have relapsed. The group setting aims to support individuals to build a better understanding and acceptance of themselves and their recovery pathway. 

Layla Care also works to support children and teenagers at an early stage to circumvent lasting patterns of disordered eating, and low self-esteem through one on one therapy. As Gen Z’s are increasingly inclined to spend time on social media, which was recently reported to make 32% of teenage girls said that felt bad about their bodies feel worse, working with clients in this younger age group becomes increasingly critical. 

Layla works with individuals to build skills for resilience against future adversities, creates space for people to form community, and continues to partner with allied health professionals that focus on early intervention and continuity of care.