What is CBT-E (Enhanced CBT)?


Enhanced cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT-E) is an effective treatment for eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other patterns of disordered eating​. CBT-E is a highly individualised treatment whereby your therapist will create a specific version of CBT-E to match your exact eating problem.

CBT-E has four stages:

  • Stage One: Gaining a shared understanding of your eating problem and helping you to modify and stabilise your eating patterns. There is also emphasis on personalised education and the addressing of concerns about weight. It is best if these initial sessions are twice a week.
  • Stage Two: In the brief second stage, progress is reviewed and plans are made for the main body of treatment (Stage Three).
  • Stage Three: Involves weekly sessions focusing on what may be maintaining your eating problems. Usually this involves addressing concerns about body image and eating; enhancing your ability to deal with day-to-day events and moods; and addressing dietary restraint if present.
  • Stage Four:  Focus more onto the future, including maintaining progress made and managing setbacks.

A follow up, review session may be suggested for some months after treatment has ended. This can helpfully provide an opportunity to review progress and address any problems that have remained or emerged.

The treatment is accessible at varying levels of severity of disordered eating, and for both adults and children. When working with people who are not significantly underweight, CBT-E generally involves an initial assessment appointment followed by 20 treatment sessions over 20 weeks, lasting 50-minutes each.

The duration of therapy may need to be longer for those who are underweight, or have more complex difficulties, for example 40 sessions over 40 weeks. In this version of CBT-E, weight regain is integrated with addressing eating disorder related beliefs. Before starting weight regain, you and your therapist will spend time during the first weeks carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages of regaining weight, as we would like you to make this decision, rather than have it forced upon you.


Do you have questions?

It's not unusual to have questions about what type(s) of therapy may be suitable for you.

We're here to help. Please don't hesitate to get in touch so we can discuss what might help you.

CBT-E with Counselling Psychology Online


We provide bespoke online CBT-E therapy for adults, children, adolescents, couples and families.

Please contact us  for any further information or to begin Enchanced CBT Therapy. Answers to our most commonly asked questions can be found on our FAQ page.