How can group therapy lead to transformation? What happens when people shed light on the shame behind an eating disorder? Can group therapy offer you the safe space you need? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about Group with Bestselling Author Christie Tate.


Christie Tate is a writer and author who writes about addiction, eating disorders, recovery, connection, isolation, achievement, and loneliness. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney's, The Los Angeles Review (forthcoming). Her debut memoir Group: How One Therapist and a Group of Strangers Saved My Life was published in Fall 2020 by Avid Reader Press. Visit Christie's website. Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. FREEBIE: Christie is giving away two free copies of her book! Listeners can enter to win a copy by reaching out to her at


  • The power of other examples
  • Unearthing the secrets
  • Let things out

The power of other examples

Group therapy can lead to profound changes in people. It is a space wherein other people’s vulnerability and openness can encourage those around them to reciprocate their sensitivity. This creates an environment where honesty and self-awareness are pursued.
Immediately, other people were walking ahead of me and they were crying about their family or feeling rage … they came to play, and that made me want to do what they were doing. (Christie Tate)
Seeing other people be brave can spark your own bravery, and this can happen in group therapy.

Unearthing the secrets

As Dr. Castagnini says, “we’re only as sick as our secrets”. Eating disorders thrive on inducing shame in people, making them feel that they cannot speak to anyone and that they should keep everything they do inconspicuous.
My experience was [that] once I began to tell the truth about what I put in my mouth, without the expectation of “change it”, “make it better”, “fix it”, Dr. Rosen said “you just tell a witness what you ate after you’ve eaten it every day” … that’s the first moment I thought, “I might just get well here”. (Christie Tate)
Releasing the secrets is a part of releasing the mental sickness of eating disorders. By throwing them out and letting space in, people can release tension from having to hide them for so long and can focus on healing. Group therapy, and therapy in general, is an investment in yourself, your life, and your well-being.

Let things out

Therapy and recovery are long-term processes, so no matter which stage of recovery you are in there may be days when the struggles flair up again. In those moments, remember what you have learned thus far, and reach out to someone for support. Stay connected to yourself, stay connected to the people that support you, and do not force yourself to walk through it alone.
Pricking the silence and the isolation helps me be a little bit freer. (Christie Tate)

Books mentioned in this episode:

BOOK | Christie Tate – Group: How One Therapist and a Group of Strangers Saved My Life



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to comment below and share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of Behind The Bite on Apple Podcasts (previously) iTunes and subscribe!