The 33rd annual International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp) Symposium is scheduled for February 7-10 in Desert Springs, California and will host nearly 60 presentations, workshops, and special events and keynote speakers who are some of the country’s leading professionals in the field of eating disorders. The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals, established in 1985, is an overarching professional membership association that provides first-quality education and high-level training standards to an international multidisciplinary group of various healthcare treatment providers who treat the full spectrum of eating disorders. This annual conference is not only a great educational tool but is also a well-known networking event where you have the chance to be an active member in panel discussions or lobby in conversations; there is an opportunity to meet hundreds of other individuals who are professionals in the eating disorder field.

Eating disorders affect 20 million women, and 10 million men in the United States and thousands more go undiagnosed on an annual basis. Eating disorders stem from underlying triggers related to low self-esteem, past abuse, depression, poor parental relationships, substance abuse, non-suicidal self-injury disorder (NSSI), a perfectionistic personality, and difficulty communicating negative emotions, difficulty resolving conflict, and genetics. There is a broad spectrum of treatment options, and depending on the therapist’s skillset, each therapist is different when treating an individual for his or her eating disorder. For example, some therapist works closely with individuals who have undergone past traumatic experiences and use EMDR whereas EMDR is not in the scope of other therapists who instead use mostly cognitive behavioral therapy approaches. Professional conferences such as the annual iaedp Symposium is a way for eating disorder therapists to learn about different therapy approaches by attending preconference training that addresses the clinical complexity of eating disorders and their treatment approaches.

“Imagine Me Beyond What you See” art therapy competition

The iaedp Symposium will also consist of the 9th annual “Imagine Me Beyond What You See” mannequin art contest. Art therapists who work with clients are encouraged to enter the competition by purchasing a mannequin online and using different art mediums to educate the community on eating disorders and body positivity. Entries include a brief description of the inspiration behind the piece. Many art therapists who enter this contest enter with their eating disorder client or clients as a team. The First Place winner along with the Runner Up, Honorable Mention, and Professionals Choice are presented during a special Award Ceremony during iaedp Annual Symposium. There also has been a “Imagine Me Beyond What You See” travel exhibition which displays and describes 18×24 mounted posters of 2012 mannequin entries. Additionally, iaedp also created an “Imagine Me Beyond What You See” Short Film, which narrates the stories behind the 2012 mannequin entries and artists. This film is designed for middle to high school and college counselors as well as youth organizations.

Conferences and seminars

Besides from the Annual iaedp Symposium in February, The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals hosts Continuing Education (CE) events, professional lectures, online events, and Galas throughout the United States all year around. To view a full schedule of events, click here.