Eating Disorders Counselling in London

Eating Disorders Counselling in London

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating Disorders are serious, potential life threatening illnesses that involve disturbances in eating habits and excessive concerns about body weight and shape. They are not simple behaviour problems but are instead caused by a combination of biological, psychological and cultural factors.
It is estimated that about 8 million of Americans suffer from eating disorders. Of this figure, 1 million are males. The most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

What causes Eating Disorders?

Many factors, including genetics, personality, family and culture can set one up for a poor body image and excessive dieting. Not everyone who diets or wishes to be thinner has an eating disorder. However, when thoughts about food and body shapes become persistent and obsessive and when people base their entire self-image on how they look and what they eat, an eating disorders exists.


Outpatient CBT-E Care for Eating Disorders in London

Eating disorders are serious, and potentially life-threatening conditions that require immediate medical/= and psychological assistance. Eating disorders come in many different forms and cause distress for not only the patient, but for the patient’s family and friends as well. It is important to note that eating is not just a source of nutrient intake, but a pleasurable and socially relational activity. Many family activities, social events, and even professional affairs commonly revolve around eating, making this condition especially difficult for the patient. People who suffer from eating disorders often become socially alienated, which leads to further emotional distress.


Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT-E) for Eating Disorders in London

Enhanced Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT-E) is an empirically-supported, psychological intervention method designed to specifically address eating disorders. While CBT-E was originally designed to treat Anorexia/Bulimia, it has shown remarkable effectiveness in treating a wide range of eating disorders such as Pica Disorder (urges to eat non-food materials such as dirt, even small objects), Binge eating disorders, and eating disorders classified as Not Otherwise Specified (NOE) by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Experts believe that distorted cognition either cause eating disorders or contributes to it. Therapists who specialize in CBT-E help the patient to recognize ineffective thought patterns, challenge them, and ultimately overcome them. 


How does CBT-E work?

Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a clinically-effective, action-based intervention method that occurs in 4 stages. In the first stage, the therapist begins with rapport building, forming a therapeutic contract, and conducting case conceptualization evaluations which help him or her to identify the patient’s maladaptive thoughts and behaviors that either cause the eating disorder or contributes to it.   In the second stage, the therapist administers CBT interventions designed to help the patient change the distorted thinking that contributes to the behavior, and then progress is monitored and further evaluated to measure intervention effectiveness. 

In the third stage, the patient engages in self-monitoring activities such as recording their thoughts, feelings, urges, and behavior patterns associated with the eating disorder. A dietary plan is made, and adherence to this plan as well as other food in-take are monitored. The self-monitoring activities not only provide the patient with awareness regarding their food in-take, as well as their thoughts in response to the food intake, but it also records the context of the situations, and this part of the therapeutic process is needed to help the patient fully understand how the context of the situation contributes to their disorder.  This monitoring process also helps the therapist understand the idiosyncratic (characteristic) elements in the patient’s disorder. These interventions are continued until progress is made and symptom reduction is achieved.

In the 4th and final stages of treatment, the therapist teaches the patient CBT-E techniques to help the patient manage their symptoms. Relapse prevention strategies are implemented to help the patient stay on the path of wellness. Termination of therapy occurs in stages and is only initiated when the patient no longer needs care.


Do CBT-E techniques really work?

The National Institute of health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an organization in England dedicated to establishing research-based healthcare standards in support of the best practices of patient treatment. CBT-E meets NICE guidelines and have been approved by NICE for treating eating disorders for both inpatient and outpatient services. 


Family Therapy and Eating Disorders in London

Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is an empirically-supported therapeutic intervention model. MFT principles assert that psychological disturbances begin with unhealthy interactions within the family system. These family problems cause emotional disturbances in the family members, resulting in psychological conditions. As mentioned earlier, eating disorders not only effect the patient, but they also effect the patient’s family as well. Furthermore, positive family involvement is critical for the patient as the family may assist in recovery by providing support during outpatient services. Family therapy may help family members to communicate more effectively, solve problems, and develop healthier interaction patterns. Family therapeutic interventions may not only facilitate more positive relational patterns, it also helps the family be more supportive of the patient in their time of need. 


Psychodynamic Therapy for Eating Disorders in London

Empirical studies into the treatment efficacy of psychodynamic therapy for Eating Disorders are limited, but some studies demonstrate promising results of psychodynamic therapy for the treatment of EDs. Amelioration is a technical term used in psychodynamic therapy that describes a state of understanding of how the disorder may have developed, and this understanding is critical to recovery.  The patient needs to talk about their feelings to facilitate this understanding, and this requires an empathetic and meaningful emotional connection with the therapist, which psychodynamic therapists are famous for.  Finally, psychodynamic therapists are experts in ego-systonic and ego-dystonic elements of mental disorders, which is important for the recovery of patients with anorexia as they have high rates of simply dropping out of treatment programs. Ego-systonic elements refer to the patient’s beliefs about themselves and the world, and whether or not they agree with the notion that something is actually wrong with them.  It is important to note that many anorexics falsely believe that they really are overweight and that achieving a certain body image is the key to solving all of their problems.  While CBT-E is effective in facilitating healthier thinking with these patients, psychodynamic therapists specialize in analyzing ego-systonic elements, and this gives them a technical edge in treating EDs.    


Outpatient Treatment for Eating Disorders in London

Treatment for Eating Disorders can be done in tandem with your General Practitioner. You and your therapist will work together to determine the best and most appropriate modalities for treatment. A common therapy is Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) that aims to identify and process how behavioral patterns led to the development of the disorder and how to disrupt these unhealthy patterns. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) will reveal how closely the disorder is tied to unhealthy and unattainable thoughts and beliefs regarding food, diet, and control. With CBT you will work to replace the unhealthy and unrealistic thinking with positive and attainable thoughts and behaviors. Focal Psychodynamic Therapy (FPT) is based on the belief that mental health conditions may be associated with conflicts that occurred in the past or during childhood and have been unresolved. The primary focus of this therapy is to identify and process healthy ways to successfully cope with stressful situations and manage negative thoughts and feelings.

For more information about talking therapies and treatment programmes available at our Clinics in London please visit our Treatment page.

If you require inpatient treatment for Eating Disorders please do not hesitate to contact us and we will refer you to our partner clinic.


How to Get Therapy for Eating Disorders in London

We offer Psychological Therapies for Eating Disorders to Adults and Teenagers at our clinics in Central London.


London therapists for Eating Disorders

All our Therapists offer Psychological Therapies for Eating Disorders to Adults and Teenagers. Click here to meet the Team.


Private Therapy Fees

Sessions with our Psychologists are by prepaid appointments only. You can find out more about our fees on our Fees Page.


Further Reading about Eating Disorders

An eating disorder can have a “ripple effect” on a family unit - impacting one individual directly and causing an unintentional impact on others. Click here to view an article that provides tips and advice for communicating with your child. Additionally, please click here to view a list of coping skills to use if you are experiencing anorexia nervosa. For further reading about bulimia, please click here to view a blog written by a recovery coach who has recovered from bulimia for 15 years. The blog offers advice, shared experiences, and resources for those recovering from bulimia. Imperfect Matter is health and recovery blog, written by a former gymnast who has recovered from bulimia. The blog offers advice and additional resources for those living with bulimia, please click here to view the blog.

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