Search for Schools

Exercise Therapist

Learn about the Exercise Therapist Career for Eating Disorder Treatment...

A growing body of evidence, including a study by Duke University, supports the link between exercise and improvement in mental health (American Psychology Association). Many people can attest to this apparent link, whether it be from the calm they experience while practicing yoga, the euphoria they experience while running, or the pleasure they gain from walking.

Like the general population, people with eating disorders can also improve their mental health through exercise. However, individuals with eating disorders often need guidance to help them determine what exercises are healthy and best for their condition. Exercise therapists provide this guidance, and in combination with mental therapy, can help people gain the self-confidence and body awareness necessary to get well.

The treatment of people with eating disorders is largely based on psychological therapy, which aims to resolve mental issues underpinning the disorder. One component of eating disorder psychological therapy is to foster a healthy relationship between the body and mind of a patient. While traditional talk therapy is effective in developing this relationship, exercise therapy can also be useful.

Exercise therapy can be used as an alternative outlet for expression. An exercise therapist can teach a patient to use movement and exercise to get in touch with emotions relating to their eating disorder. For example, a patient may struggle in talk therapy to verbalize his or her feelings, but through movement or exercise she or he may be able to express these feelings in a physical way, and then feel more comfortable to discuss them with a therapist.

In addition to helping eating disorder patients get in touch with underlying emotions, exercise therapists teach patients how to exercise in a healthy way, and to develop body awareness. Many people with eating disorders have a distorted body image, that is to say, they have a negative opinion of their body appearance even though this negativity is not warranted. For example, someone with anorexia or bulimia may think they are overweight, when they are actually underweight or at a healthy weight.  These distorted opinions can lead people with eating disorders to engage in unhealthy physical exercises, which they believe will allow them to reach their desired level of thinness. 

To help patients resolve distorted body image problems, exercise therapists use movement therapy to teach eating disorder clients to respect and accept their bodies. Exercise therapists help clients determine what exercises they may enjoy, such as walking, hiking, yoga, running, aerobics, or swimming.  They may also design exercise plans, and ask their clients to keep an exercise log. Exercise logs are used to monitor the effectiveness of therapy, and to make adjustments to a client’s exercise plan.

Patients who learn to accept their body types, and to express the negative feelings underpinning their eating disorder, have a higher chance of recovering from their eating disorder.  Therefore, exercise therapists play an important role in helping people with eating disorders to get well, and stay well.  Most exercise therapists have a passion for physical exercise and psychology.  To work as an exercise therapist, a background in physical fitness is preferred, and a degree in movement therapy, or some form of mental therapy, is required.  Many exercise therapists are licensed mental counselors, while other have MA’s in psychology, or other related fields.  

If you have a desire to help people with behavior and emotional disorders through the use of exercise and movement, a career as an exercise therapist may help you to achieve your professional goals.

Request information from schools offering Psychology and Counseling degree programs.

Psychology Schools & Colleges

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
Brandman University , Culver City
  • Ranked #8 in the 2013 Best Online Undergrad Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 70% graduation rate– significantly higher than the national average of 59%. 
  • Ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Bachelor's Programs for Veterans. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional accrediting associations that accredit public and private colleges and universities in the United States.  
  • Has a network of 26 campuses.
Show more [+]
2 Program(s) Found

• With 100,000+ students, it's the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation.
• Since 1971, its mission has been to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.
• Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
• The student-faculty ratio is 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
• The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 76.5%.

Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training/health & wellness.
  • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
  • Students have an opportunity to work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
  • Financial aid representatives can help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
Show more [+]
1 Program(s) Found
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
  • Offers a high school diploma program through distance learning materials.
  • Specializes in distance learning courses to award diplomas.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated a 2013-2014 College of Distinction.
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
  • Offers study abroad program options in 125 cities and 28 countries, with a semester program for American Studies in Washington, D.C.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its
  • Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
  • Ranked #44 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Reports in 2013.
  • average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, was 75% in 2012.
  • Students in its Global Online program earn the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
Show more [+]
1 Program(s) Found
  • Features 43 degree programs and more than 142 specializations.
  • Offers several ways to save on tuition, including multiple grant and scholarship opportunities, low-cost credits, accelerated programs, and more.
  • Reduced tuition, transfer credits, and other benefits are available for all military service members and veterans.
  • Allows students to preview a free, one-week mini course to give an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 10 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 9 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
  • Family-owned and operated school group since 1985 by the Yasuda family.
  • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
Show more [+]