Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders

CBT-E is the abbreviation for enhanced cognitive therapy, and it refers to a transdiagnostic or personalised psychological treatment for eating disorders.  The cognitive behavioural treatment of eating disorders emphasizes the minimization of negative thoughts about body image and the act of eating, and attempts to alter negative and harmful behaviors that are involved in and perpetuate eating disorders. It also encourages the ability to tolerate negative thoughts and feelings as well as the ability to think about food and body perception in a multi-dimensional way. The emphasis is not only placed on altering cognition, but also on tangible practices like making goals and being rewarded for meeting those goals. CBT is a time-limited and focused approach which has also proven to be one of the most effective treatments for eating disorders.

Eating disorders include a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically and socially. The most common eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia Nervosa (AN) – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example, by starving themselves and/or exercising excessively
  • Bulimia Nervosa (BN) – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives to try to control their weight
  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time
  • Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) – Some people may be diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified. This means you have some, but not all of the typical signs of eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.

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