Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-Enhanced (CBT-E) is a highly effective treatment for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified). You may already be familiar with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or even CBT-E, but what makes the enhanced version unique, and why is it so successful at treating disordered eating?

What is CBT-E?

In practice, CBT-E is a unique four-step program, created for the individual by a qualified psychologist or therapist primarily for the treatment of eating disorders. A trained therapist will work with you to create a plan based on your unique situation, no two treatment plans will look the same. This point is crucial. Every journey that leads to an eating disorder diagnosis is different. The most effective treatment must therefore reflect this individuality, which is what CBT-E does so well.

Will CBT-E counselling work for my eating disorder?

CBT-E has been proven to be one of the best methods for treating eating disorders in adults and has been used widely for over two decades. The aim of each program of recovery is to support individuals to feel empowered in making the decision to achieve a healthy weight and feel accepting of, and comfortable in their body. Maintenance of this method is therefore more easily achievable.

Of course, much of the success is also down to both the individual’s motivation to change and wanting to recover. However, we understand that change is scary, and we will help you with this. Taking the brave decision to seek support for an eating disorder is the start of the first step on the road to recovery.

To get the best outcome, it’s vitally important to select:

  • A fully qualified therapist, such as someone who is BABCP and/or HCPC registered.
  • Someone whom you trust to begin your recovery program.

The Four Steps of CBT-E


Stage One

Working alongside your therapist, much of the initial part of this treatment will focus on an intensive trust building program. Your therapist will support you to gain more understanding of your eating patterns, the power they wield in your life and how you view your weight and body image. They will also encourage you to monitor your eating and weight to help you attain some objectivity over what is happening. Once this foundation has been put in place, you can move to stage two. The first stage is very thorough and may mean getting together with your therapist twice a week.

Stage Two

In stage two you and your therapist will agree a plan together on how to move forward based on the robust foundation built in stage one. Reviewing progress and focusing on achievements and the future is a big part of this stage, and stages three and four.

Stage Three

In stage three, sessions take place weekly and look more closely at patterns of behaviour and certain triggers that maintain eating issues. These include:

  • Body Image – including how you may place a lot of emphasis on your appearance in determining your self-worth.
  • Dietary restraint – restricting food intake to control your weight and shape.
  • Mood and eating – how other factors influence your eating patterns

Through this part of the process, you will agree strategies for coping with the above.  

Stage Four

Stage four focuses on maintaining progress, the possibility of setbacks and how to cope with them, if and when they occur.

How long with CBT-E take to help me with my eating disorder?

Everyone’s experience with eating disorders is different, so it’s difficult to estimate how long it will take to achieve recovery. Your CBT-E treatment plan will reflect your unique situation and will take as long as necessary for you to feel able to maintain your recovery. Your therapist may recommend review sessions to help you stay on track after you have completed the stages in your plan.

Get in touch with us to schedule an initial assessment session with one of our therapists. Always remember, seeking assistance is an affirmative step towards a healthier and more contented life. We are trained to provide evidence-based therapy, and our flexible approach means that we can work with you to find a time that suits you.