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Cognitive behavioural therapy for eating disorders

What is cognitive behavioural therapy?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) means:

  • cognitive – how you think
  • behavioural – your actions
  • therapy

And in CBT-E, the ‘E’ stands for ‘enhanced’.

CBT-E is a talking therapy specifically for eating disorders that can help you identify how your thinking about yourself, your body, your weight and food affects how you feel, which also affects how you behave. This is an evidence-based therapy for eating disorders.

What does CBT-E focus on?

CBT-E focuses on how you think about yourself, the world, and other people and the ‘here and now’ problems and difficulties. It finds ways to improve your state of mind and relationship with food now, instead of focusing on causes or past experiences.

What are the benefits?

CBT-E challenges how you think and behave around your body and food, which can change how you feel. It is specifically designed to treat eating disorders, and is collaborative therapy so you work with your therapist instead of being told what to do.

You discover ways in which you think, traps you fall into, and how to challenge yourself to do things differently.

What kind of things can I expect?

You will have a session with a therapist around once a week for 1 hour. The course of treatment is usually around 20 sessions, although sometimes it may up to 40 sessions. Be prepared to be weighed as part of every session.

We aim to work on helping you to eat regularly, take the focus off your weight and body, build up your life outside your eating disorder and change how you respond to physical feelings and negative thoughts about yourself.

You are likely to be asked to keep a diary. This will identify your individual patterns of thought, emotions, bodily feelings, and actions.

It is easy to talk about doing something, but much harder to actually do it. After identifying what needs to change, your therapist will recommend “homework”, so changes can be practiced in everyday life

What happens now?

You will be invited for an initial assessment, where you and the CBT-E therapist or practitioner will discuss your needs and goals for getting better, how you might work towards them and you will decide together if CBT-E is the right therapy for you.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact 0114 305 3891.

Sheffield Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Team,
Centenary CAMHS,
Centenary House,
55 Albert Terrace Road,
S6 3BR.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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United Kingdom

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