What does treatment involve?
We will always ask you to attend an initial assessment appointment where we will talk with you to gain an understanding of your particular difficulties and circumstances. We may ask you to fill out some written questionnaires to get a better appreciation of your current problems. At the end of your assessment appointment we will discuss your treatment goals and treatment options.
Treatment usually involves attending between 10 and 20 individual sessions over a period of 3-10 months. Treatment duration will, of course, depend on the severity of an individual’s difficulties. Each treatment session lasts for 50-60 minutes. Treatment is commonly delivered in an individual (one-on-one) format, but can also involve partners, families or close others and can also be delivered in a group format. Your psychologist will always provide a treatment that is individually tailored to meet your particular concerns and difficulties. Treatments are delivered by our experienced clinical psychologists who are warm, supportive and understanding.
Eating Disorder Treatment
All of the treatments we provide are evidence-based and are recommended as first line treatments for eating disorders in clinical guidelines, including the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Clinical Practice Guidelines. The overall aim of all of our treatments is to alleviate the core symptoms of eating disorders by assisting people to make lasting changes to their eating with the eventual goal of achieving a healthy approach to eating, weight and shape.
Enhanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT-E)
This treatment is suitable for adults and older adolescents with any type of eating disorder, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder. It was developed at Oxford University by Professor Christopher Fairburn and his internationally renowned research team. CBT-E is based on the understanding that there are factors common across all forms of eating disorders that keep people ‘stuck’ in an unhelpful and distressing eating disorder cycle. As the name suggests, in CBT-E we try to help patients to change both unhelpful eating behaviours and the eating disorder mindset. This treatment focuses on modifying the core symptoms of eating disorders including the intense preoccupation with control over eating, weight and shape, strict dieting and other unhealthy weight loss behaviours (such as excessive exercising), low weight and the associated ‘starvation syndrome’ and binge eating and purging.
Maudsley Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA)
This treatment is suitable for adults and older adolescents with anorexia nervosa and was designed at the Maudsley Hospital, London, by Professors Ulrike Schmidt and Janet Treasure. It has been developed by combining current knowledge of the psychological, biological and neuropsychological factors that impact on anorexia nervosa. Treatment is individually tailored to match the patient’s clinical symptoms and neuropsychological profile. MANTRA targets factors such as the person’s thinking style, responses to difficult emotions and relationship patterns and beliefs about the usefulness of anorexia nervosa in his/her life. The treatment often involves close others and is accompanied by a comprehensive patient workbook.
Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM)
SSCM is suitable for adults and older adolescents and was developed by Dr Gini McIntosh in New Zealand for the treatment of anorexia nervosa. This approach is based on a general supportive psychotherapeutic approach to mental health problems, with sound clinical management of the eating disorder. Clinical management involves providing high quality education, information and advice about anorexia nervosa, eating and weight, as well as expert care and support. Supportive psychotherapy aims to assist the patient by providing a positive and non judgemental therapeutic context, within which the patient is encouraged the make changes, explore issues that promote change and address any other issues that may be relevant to the eating disorder as identified by the patient.
Family Based Treatment (FBT)
This approach is often referred to as ‘The Maudsley Method’ and is suitable for children and adolescents with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. It is most helpful when the sufferer has only had the eating disorder for a relatively short period of time (e.g., less than 3 years). Current national and international clinical guidelines recognise FBT as having the greatest evidence-base for the treatment of anorexia nervosa in adolescents. FBT was originally developed in the late 1970s by a team of researchers led by Christopher Dare and Ivan Eisler at the Institute of Psychiatry and the Maudsley Hospital in London. The overall philosophy of FBT is developmentally driven, recognising that a child/adolescent’s primary attachments are in their family and that the eating disorder interferes with normal development, robbing the adolescent of his/her capacity to make appropriate decisions regarding food and eating. Thus, family involvement is critical to treatment success.
The primary goal of FBT is to facilitate a return to a normal developmental trajectory for the unwell child/adolescent. FBT harnesses parents as a resource, empowering them to bring about recovery in their child/adolescent by initially taking the necessary practical steps to ensure the adolescent eats appropriately. After nutritional recovery has occurred, other relevant adolescent issues are addressed to ensure that the patient returns to a normal developmental pathway and remains free of the eating disorder.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy
This approach is suitable for the treatment of food phobias and ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder). Both food phobias and ARFID involve anxiety and the avoidance of particular foods and can result in any of significant weight loss (or failure to appropriately gain weight), nutritional deficiencies and psychosocial problems. Cognitive behavioural therapy is used to help patients to modify their beliefs about and responses to the problematic foods and eating difficulties. Impairing levels of anxiety and other co-morbidities are common and are addressed progressively. Graded exposure techniques are used to help patients to manage anxiety around the necessary gradual introduction of avoided foods, in order to increase dietary variety and flexibility. Where appropriate, treatment will aim to restore weight and address nutritional deficiencies.
We also provide assistance for the following difficulties:
We also provide
GUIDANCE FOR CARERS
We are able to assist those seeking information and guidance for carers and loved ones of people suffering from eating disorders. This guidance generally focuses on effective communication skills, improving knowledge and self-care.
CONSULTANCY and PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
These are aimed at other health professionals, schools, workplaces and community groups. We are happy to assist and advise organisations in their approach to issues surrounding body image and assistance of individuals with eating disorders.