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Above the Clouds


CBT-E for Eating Disorders

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – Enhanced for Eating Disorders is an enhanced version of the existing Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which has been specifically developed for individuals with eating disorders. 


Eating disorders are severe and complex mental health conditions which require a multifaceted and tailored treatment approach. 


CBT-E works by helping you to become the expert on your own eating disorder. Together with your clinician, you will be supported to identify and address each of the key factors that have been keeping you stuck. It is a medium to long-term treatment which can range from 20 to 40 sessions in length. You and your clinician will discuss and decide together which length of treatment will be most suitable for you.  


CBT-E employs a variety of techniques, with treatment interventions focused on three key areas:​


1) Psychoeducation and motivation:  

Psychoeducation and motivation techniques focus on empowering you to fully understand the ins and outs of your eating disorder, and the ways it is manifesting in your mind, body, and life. You will be supported to explore how you feel about your eating disorder, the role it is playing in your life, and to take some initial steps towards recovery, if that is what you choose to do. 

2) Cognitive: 

Cognitive techniques work by helping you to identify and gradually address any thinking patterns you currently have, which may be unhelpful and keeping you stuck. Cognitive techniques are not about ‘thinking positively;’ they are about thinking rationally – in ways that are both realistic, and likely to lead to more effective actions. Individuals with eating disorders often live with a variety of unhelpful cognitive patterns which influence the way they see themselves, their bodies, and their lives, These patterns can be successfully addressed and worked through in individual therapy. 

3) Behavioural: 

Behavioural techniques are used to assist you in making gradual, valued, and lasting changes in the life areas that are most important to you. If you have an eating disorder, it is likely that food, eating, exercise and body image have taken up a big chunk of your life, leaving little space for anything else. Behavioural techniques will support you to find more balance and fulfillment across all areas of your life. These techniques will also work to support you in letting go of any behaviours that have been causing you more harm than good, and in adopting new behaviours which are likely to contribute to a richer, fuller, and more meaningful life in the long run. 

Goals of CBT-E: 

  • Identify and enhance awareness of eating disorder thoughts and patterns. 

  • Build motivation, momentum, and a support team to arm you for making meaningful and lasting changes. 

  • Become equipped with psychoeducation on the mind, body, and all things in between. 

  • Identify and address unhelpful thinking styles and food rules which are keeping you stuck. 

  • Change patterns of feelings and behaviours that result from unhelpful thinking styles and beliefs. 

  • Foster independence in healthy eating choices and relapse prevention techniques. 

  • Uncover the origins of the eating disorder, address core emotional needs and ensure that they are met in healthy, adaptive ways.

  • Build interpersonal and social skills. 

  • Re-engage with vital life areas. 

  • Learn how to adaptively manage frustration and distress when certain needs can't be met. 

  • And most importantly, to help you build many new, and varied sources of self-evaluation. 


CBT-E has been demonstrated to be effective in treating: 

1.Anorexia Nervosa 

2.Bulimia Nervosa 

3.Orthorexia Nervosa 

4.Otherwise Specified Eating Disorders  

5.Not otherwise Specified Eating Disorders 

6.Body Dysmorphia 


Further information about CBT-E can be found at:​


If you would you like to talk to us more about CBT-E for Eating Disorders and whether this approach fits you, please contact us on 02 9555 4810 or email us at 

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