Here at CBT Professionals we know how eating disorders can take over your life. That is why we offer dedicated psychology and dietetic counselling services for individuals battling an eating disorder as well as offering support to assist spouses and families to support their loved one throughout their journey to recovery.
Who is our Eating Disorder Service for?
- People with a diagnosed eating disorder, or, someone who suspects they may have an eating disorder
- Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, OSFED
- Patients aged 14 years and over
- Medically stable
- Good to fair motivation to change
- People who have just been diagnosed with an eating disorder
- People who have had a relapse in their eating disorder
- People who have be discharged from an in-patient service and are in the recovery phase
What does treatment involve?
We take a multi-disciplinary team approach to the treatment of Eating Disorders. Our eating disorder counselling program involves the combination of weekly sessions of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy Enhanced (CBT-E) with a psychologist, and fornightly sessions with our Dietitian whom specialises in nutritional counselling for Eating Disorders. The intervention is tailored to the individual and involves a strengths-based approach. Quite simply, this refers to our effort to learn about our client and the contributing factors that led to the development of disordered eating. With understanding about our client as an individual, we can better create and tailor a set of strategies that will enable our client to handle triggering situations, gradually reducing the symptoms of the eating disorder while increasing confidence, wellbeing and self-acceptance.
CBT-E Sessions with the Psychologist
The initial sessions with your psychologist will involve a thorough assessment of your eating disorder history to create a shared understanding of how your eating disorder developed and how it is maintained. Often there are a multitude of underlying issues including self-esteem, body image issues, unrelenting standards, high expectations, anxiety, relationship problems and depression. For this reason, treating any eating disorder typically involves more intensive treatment support for the individual, and depending on the client, this may also include family support where indicated. Psychoeducation is provided to the individaul and family members on the clinical features of eating disorders. We start workign towards the initial treatment goal involve of establishing regular eating patterns whilst emotionally supporting you with all the feelings that come with this step.
The next stage in treatment involves working through a number of modules that are relevant to your individual mechanisms that maintain your eating disorder. This phase of treatment occurs over the course of six months. Possible module topics include:
- The over-evaluation of shape and weight
- The over-evaluation of control over eating
- Dietary restraint
- Dietary restriction
- Being underweight
- Event or mood-triggered changes in eating
During therapy, we regularly review functioning across work, social, and family life to look for improvements and celebrate the signs of recovery. We might also look at a ‘typical day’ and see a definite difference across points in time where clients can measure for themselves the progress being made.
Following six months of regular therapy, it is a good idea to continue with ongoing psychological support to continue maintaining and supporting gains from therapy. This assists with relapse prevention and is critical in the first five years post-recovery from an eating disorder. Check-in sessions may occur on a monthly or as-required basis.
Nutritional Counselling with the Dietitian
It is important to also engage the services of a Dietitian in the treatment of Eating Disorders. A dietitian can provide nutritional counselling and guidance to establish regular and healthy eating patterns. Sessions occur on a fortnightly basis. The Dietitian provides counselling following the RAVES model of counselling:
- R – Regular eating, reducing binges and/or restriction
- A – Adequacy – quantity & quality of food choices
- V – Variety – Challenge beliefs in good & bad foods;
- E – Eating socially – establishing confidence for eating in social situations
- S – Spontaneity – flexible & intuitive food & eating attitudes
Why choose CBT Professionals?
All of our practitioners are selected based on a uniting set of values that define us as a truly caring practice. We stand against the practice of generic treatments and know that every case is unique and needs our best care and attention to craft a treatment approach specific to your situation. We are able to provide a co-ordinated multi-disciplinary approach to treating eating disorders, wtih our psychologists and dietitian co-located to provide pivotal communication among allied health professionals.
How much will it cost me?
If eating disorders are not met with intervention, at worst case they can become life threatening. It is not safe to assume that they will remit with time, in fact it is often the opposite. Time permits the eating disorder to become an established and entrenched response to difficult emotions and situations. Behaviours can intensify and escalate from extreme dieting and restriction to bingeing and purging, laxative abuse, excessive exercise and more. Depression and anxiety are frequently seen in the eating disordered client. In addition to the psychological difficulties, there are a number of negative physical impacts of having an eating disorder. Getting help is an important step on the road to a better quality of life and freedom from the hold of an eating disorder.
CBT Professionals charge a modest fee for service and we are aware that families in need shouldn’t have the added pressure of services that they can’t afford. To find out more about our fee structure you can look at our Fees page of our website linked here.
How we have helped other families: A case study
You might be interested in the following case study that we have put together from other clients and families we have helped in the recovery from an eating disorder.
Case Study – Annie
When Annie came to our clinic she described feeling out of control; stuck in a cycle of bingeing and purging, food restriction and over exercising. Her life felt unmanageable and she was anxious, depressed and exhausted.
Over several sessions of working with Annie, it became clear that she was a bright and kind-hearted young lady, who struggled with a nagging critical voice in her head that told her she was not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Annie’s self esteem was low and had been for a long time. She found it difficult to believe in her friendships and had been isolating herself from social events where food and drink was involved. Increasingly she had become withdrawn, anxious and alone.
When feeling particularly low and desperate, Annie would find herself gathering her favourite ‘binge’ foods and eating large amounts in a short period of time until her jaw hurt. Shortly after she would self-induce vomiting, full of guilt and regret. Afterwards she felt exhausted and ashamed. She would later try to ‘make up’ for it by running up and down flights of stairs at her apartment block or doing one of various other exercise regimes. She would try to recommit to ‘eating well’ which is how she described her strict dieting, but if she perceived herself to have eaten too much, or gone off the rails, or if she faced strong emotions she might find herself at the beginning again, walking through aisles at her local supermarket, picking up her chosen binge food and eating alone where she could compensate afterwards, undisturbed.
After working with our psychologist for some months, Annie had been focusing on coping strategies that helped her to decrease the frequency of her binges and reduce her harmful purging behaviour. Annie was also working toward improving her self-esteem and self-acceptance. She was working through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with her psychologist and had learned to identify triggering situations, thoughts and beliefs that were often contributing to her binge-eating behaviour. Between sessions Annie was journaling the experiences that triggered strong emotions and working through these in therapy. She slowly increased her social engagements and reported improved focus and concentration at work and university.
Annie commented that at the start of therapy she could not imagine getting through one full day without bingeing and purging. After a few months, Annie had managed a full week between episodes and was able to appreciate what a milestone she had achieved. With further treatment and ongoing support, Annie felt able to live a ‘normal’ life again. Her parents noticed that she was more like her old self again. Heading out to the dinner and the movies was no longer a fearful prospect and she felt freedom that she had long missed while trapped in the ‘rules’ of her eating disorder.
How to get started
The first step is to visit your GP to arrange the appropriate referrals for your treatment team. You will need to book a long consultation with your GP so that your GP can prepare a Mental Health Care Plan for your psychology referral, and a Chronic Disease Management Plan for your Dietitian referral. To assist your GP with your referrals, you can download our Eating Disorder Service flyer here and take it with you to your GP appointment. A referral from your GP is not necessary if you wish to attend privately. Once you have your referrals, please give one of our friendly team members a call to book your appointments, 5551 0251.
We look forward to assisting you on your journey to recovery.