Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT and CBT-E)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the first line psychological treatment for bulimia and binge eating disorder. CBT-E is a treatment that was origniated by Dr Christopher Fairburn and is a specialised form of CBT therapy for eating disorders. 

CBT is a present-focused, active, and collaborative treatment. Even though CBT may attend to what was learned at earlier stages of life (with attention to strategies that people learned to use in order to cope with life challenges), the treatment primarily focuses on the current (and often self-perpetuating) patterns that serve to maintain disorders. Applying specific strategies to make active changes in thoughts, behaviours and in resulting emotions to overcome these patterns is at the core of CBT.

CBT (and CBT-E) usually begins with psycheducation and a collaborative exploration of the processes that maintain the disorder and use that to identify the problems that need to be targeted in therapy. The client will be asked to monitor their behaviour and engage in behavioural experiments to reduce problematic behaviours. At the end of treatment the focus will be on how to ensure the improvements are being maintained including relapse prevention.

CBT is a collaborative approach with the therapist helping the client become their own agent of change by guiding them to  get their actions in line with their broader goals and values of life instead for instance of being controlled by an over-valued focus on weight and body shape concerns.