Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders

CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a one to one talking therapy which focuses on helping you to change unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving and to understand the relationships between them.

CBT-ED, CBT-E and CBT-T are specialised forms of CBT that focus on eating disorders.


Dr Michelle Clifford on CBT-E

What’s Involved?

CBT –ED/ E involves exploring the changes that are needed to address the eating disorder collaboratively with your therapist. Recording your intake and feelings, having regular meals, weekly weigh-in, and developing a personal understanding about how the condition affects you are the early focus of treatment. Later on, when adequate nutrition is established, the focus moves to issues like managing emotional triggers, thoughts about shape and weight and reintroducing any fear foods.


  • CBT-ED involves 20 weekly sessions (40 for some), and it can be twice weekly at the beginning.

  • It can be delivered as individual, group, or self-guided treatment depending on the type of eating disorder you have.

  • When it involves adolescents under 18,  extra parent sessions and feedback time are also included.

Does it work?


CBT-ED/E is the first line (most evidence-based) treatment for adults with Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder.

It is also a recommended treatment for adolescents with Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder and for some older adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa.

CBT-ED/E may not be suitable for very underweight people without other support, as it requires a level of thinking that may not be possible if the brain is very undernourished.


Further Information is the official website about CBT-E and it is intended to provide updated information about CBT-E to the public, people with eating disorders, therapists and health care professionals