Treating the Whole Person

Trauma treatment is a component of every Meadows Behavioral Healthcare (MBH) program, with trauma care customized to each unique population. Why address trauma as part of eating disorder treatment? Because we know that trauma can often cause, perpetuate, or complicate mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

At the Meadows Ranch, we focus on treating the whole person, getting to the root of negative thinking patterns and behaviors. Research shows that eating disorders can be tied to internalized trauma, so it’s important to resolve trauma in order to establish a healthy mindset that can focus on healing.

How Does Trauma Affect the Body?

Meadows Senior Fellow Bessel van der Kolk addresses how trauma manifests itself in the physical body in his New York Times bestseller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. “Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies,” he explains. “The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside.”

Woman feeling uneasy from trauma

Winning the Battle Against Shame

Many types of traumatic experiences, especially in childhood, can drive shame that results in toxic self-talk. An unhealthy relationship with self, due to the feeling of being victimized, can make a person twice a victim: Without the ability to untangle trauma’s web, a person may continue to try to work out a resolution within their body which simply never comes. 

Patients often develop addictive coping patterns as a means to mitigating the pain they experienced as a child, according to MBH clinical staff. They describe ongoing battles with depression and anxiety surrounding the negative childhood experiences they faced. Negative self-talk and a shame-based existence are often ways an individual will operate in the world until they have processed childhood traumas.


“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health. Safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.”

Bessel van der Kolk

Trauma Resolution at The Meadows Ranch

Processing trauma requires a reintroduction of safety and a gentle disabling of unhealthy coping skills. We all develop coping skills for a reason; while they help us survive pain, the ones that no longer serve us or stunt our growth must be dismantled and replaced. At The Meadows Ranch, we work with patients to help them gain ownership of their mindsets and resolve underlying trauma. We teach each person how to establish healthy coping skills, which is key to long-term recovery from eating disorders.

The Meadows Ranch is also a place where each person can safely reintegrate into community — a powerful contributor to recovery. “Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health,” says van der Kolk. “Safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.” 

Getting Started on the Path to Trauma Recovery

If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, please contact our team at The Meadows Ranch today. We create comprehensive treatment plans to help each patient recover emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. With our expertise in trauma resolution, we can help you learn healthy new coping skills and reestablish a positive relationship with yourself and the world.

Outdoor seating at Meadows Ranch