Home > Treatments & Therapies > Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 7 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Eating Disorders anorexia bulimia

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common type of treatment for eating disorders. This branch of psychotherapy aims to help break large problems or situations into smaller more manageable parts and treats eating disorders in this same way. In the general community, little may be known about cognitive behavioural therapy as it is used to treat eating disorders, so below are some answers to frequently asked questions on this subject.

What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a branch of psychotherapy that is based on the idea that all thoughts (cognition) and actions (behaviours) are related. This may not always be clear, so CBT aims to help individuals break down problems or situations into more manageable parts and examine the ways in which thoughts, emotions and actions were related in each.

What Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Do?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) allows individuals to examine the relationships between their thoughts, feelings and actions and in doing so allows individuals to understand that if they change the way that they think and feel, they will change the way that they act.

How Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Administered?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be attended either in private or group therapy sessions. Usually these sessions are approximately 60 minutes long, and they usually occur weekly or every fortnight. CBT is a relatively short term treatment, usually lasting no more than six months or so.

Why Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Work with Eating Disorders?
For individuals suffering from eating disorders, understanding the relationships between thoughts, emotions and actions is highly important. Once these relationships are understood, the individual suffering from an eating disorder can replace the negative thoughts and emotions which have led to abnormal food and eating behaviours and with more positive thoughts and emotions that will lead back towards a healthy lifestyle. However, in order for these relationships to be clear, it may take several weeks of tracking thoughts, feelings and food and eating behaviours before the individual will accept this proof. Often therapists will ask individuals to keep a journal or food diary in order to more accurately record their thoughts, feelings and actions towards food and eating during a given period of time.

Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Cure Eating Disorders?
No, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) does not cure eating disorders. The recovery from an eating disorder is a long journey, and there may be relapses along the way. When relapses do occur, attending “top up” therapy sessions may make a difference.

What Exactly Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Teach?
In addition to teaching individuals how to identify the links between their thoughts, emotions and actions, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) also teaches individuals how to avoid and tolerate stressful situations, and how to best deal with stress to avoid a relapse into disordered eating. In addition, CBT also teaches individuals that they themselves hold the power to their recovery, which can be comforting to individuals who feel that their lives are otherwise out of their control.

How Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Accessed?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is only offered by qualified, trained therapists so a referral from a GP, hospital or clinic is one way of accessing this type of therapy. Engaging a private professional is another means of accessing cognitive behavioural therapy.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • ???.??
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I'm eating the walls (not just the paint. Also the stoney stuff behind the paint.) I've been doing it for 2 years by now and I really am trying my…
    11 August 2018
  • Bevv
    Re: Eating by Texture
    @Danielle - yes all these things too. Soup, hummus even dips I can't eat.
    10 August 2018
  • Danielle
    Re: Eating by Texture
    I’m this way! I can’t do slimy - yogurt is the worst. I really want to eat healthier but yogurt, beans, fish all make me gag (at times vomit). I…
    3 August 2018
  • MissyF
    Re: Why Does Eating Make Me Feel Sick?
    @Monse - you really need to see a doctor. You have to be careful as the less you eat the more difficult it becomes. The…
    10 July 2018
  • Monse
    Re: Why Does Eating Make Me Feel Sick?
    I need help but I can’t find anything that I have on the internet. I’m afraid to eat because I have emetophobia (the fear…
    10 July 2018
  • Ande
    Re: Oesophagus Problems for Bulimics
    Just a little warning out there for people engaging in behaviors......I was anorexic/bulimic for over 20 years. It was…
    9 July 2018
  • EatingDisorderExpert
    Re: Pica Disorder
    Shin - Your Question:We know that eating wall paints is hazardous , dangerous Nd really very silly.bt still we used to eat that.I want to stop that ,bt
    25 June 2018
  • Shin
    Re: Pica Disorder
    We know that eating wall paints is hazardous , dangerous Nd really very silly ..bt still we used to eat that ... I want to stop that ,bt I can't…
    24 June 2018
  • EatingDisorderExpert
    Re: The Menstrual Cycle and Eating Disorders
    Paula - Your Question:Hi there, I have -on and off- been dealing with Anorexia for nearly 10 years now. What…
    11 June 2018
  • Paula
    Re: The Menstrual Cycle and Eating Disorders
    Hi there, I have -on and off- been dealing with Anorexia for nearly 10 years now. What started when I was 15 has…
    10 June 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the EatingDisorderExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.