Dr Louisa Hoey

Louisa is a Clinical Psychologist with over 15 years of experience helping people recover from eating disorders in both public hospital and private settings

She has developed a reputation as a caring, compassionate, client-centred therapist and is regularly invited as a guest lecturer in universities and secondary schools. She is regarded as an expert in the field  and has been interviewed by several journalists about her opinions regarding body image and eating disorders.

Louisa has general training and experience in the field of health psychology and has helped many people  with the emotional and psychological aspects associated with illness such as cancer, vestibular conditions, chronic pain and obesity.

In early 2020, Louisa joined the Body Image Eating Disorders Treatment and Recovery Service (BETRS) at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne as an Eating Disorders Clinician. This is an outpatient based service for people with eating disorders, their families and carers. She has been involved in the delivery of the intensive Day Patient Program, CBT-E, SSCM as well as the Collaborative Carers Skills program (CCSW).

In her private practice Health Psychology Centre, which she founded in 2006, Louisa supports people with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. She uses CBT-E  and SSCM which are evidence based programs that are generally regarded as effective ways to treat eating disorders.

CBT-E is a 20 session highly structured program that is known to be effective for treating bulimia and binge eating disorder. A 40-session form of CBT-E is used to treat anorexia. CBT-E is focussed on developing regular eating and targeting a range of disordered behaviours such as vomiting, excessive exercise, and body checking. Other factors addressed in CBT-E include perfectionism, self-esteem and body image.

Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) is an effective treatment for Anorexia. Broadly, SSCM has to aims: a) establishing normal eating and weight restoration through targeting eating disorder symptoms and eating/weight concerns and b) addressing other important life issues with a supportive psychotherapeutic framework.

In working with Louisa as you recover from your eating disorder, you can expect to be treated with compassion and respect and without judgement. Your preferences for treatment will be explored and prioritised and as much as possible the approach will be flexible. This might include having carers or family members attend some sessions for instance or using Telehealth for some or all of your sessions.

Louisa has a strong belief in the importance of collaboration with other members the treatment team. You can expect her to write and speak to other members of your team such as your GP, psychiatrist, other medical specialists, case manager or dietitian. Louisa loves to talk to other members of the team so that everyone is on the same page and the whole team can work together towards a common goal. This is something that sets Louisa apart from some other private practitioners in private practice.

What Louisa understands about eating disorders:

  • No two eating disorders are the same. They are generally characterised by being overly preoccupied with eating, body shape and size in a way that has a significant impact on your life
  • Eating disorders are very serious and complex psychiatric conditions. They are not simply a ‘cry for help’ nor are they are ‘lifestyle choice’
  • It is estimated that around 1 million Australians have an eating disorder
  • Eating disorders serve a purpose in your life and sometimes it can be hard to let go - that is normal
  • Your motivation to recover can fluctuate day to day (sometimes minute to minute) - that is normal
  • You don’t have to be underweight to suffer from a serious eating disorder
  • Carers and family members can benefit from building skills in how best to support their loved one
  • There is always more to learn about anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder for clinicians, families members, carers and people experiencing eating disorders themselves

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The Health Psychology Centre is dedicated to improving the emotional well-being of all individuals who find difficulty managing their diet.
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