In a recent BACP review of what people had found helpful about their treatment for eating difficulties (see reference 1 below), one key finding was apparent - . the combination of behavioural and psychological support within the same treatment. This is perhaps one reason why cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been repeatedly shown to be extremely beneficial for people with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorders. However, the success rate is still only in the region of around 50%. Until recently, people who prefer or suit the psychodynamic approach to support have not been able to access a treatment that combines psychological support with behavioural support. Until now, that is.
I offer a behavioural & psychodynamic psychotherapy treatment programme that has been shown to have a similar success rate to CBT, and which combines these two vital aspects of treatment (see reference 2, below).
Who is this programme suitable for?
- it specifically suits people suffering from bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or more restrictive eating/anorexia nervosa, but at, or near, a normal body weight.
- it is especially helpful for people who have experienced major difficulties in their early life.
- whilst it has clear advantages for people who have experienced early difficulties, it can also be of huge benefit to people who struggle to identify a trigger for the development of their eating difficulties.
- it can be a refreshing way to view difficulties if you have struggled to work with a more cognitive behavioural approach, or where you have a keen interest in how you interact with people.
What does the programme involve?
- a fixed number of sessions (agreed at assessment, but commonly in the region of 40-60 weekly sessions)
- following a balanced eating plan
- using a weekly food and mood diary to monitor your progress
- being weighed each week, and this being plotted on a weight chart. Over time this becomes an important tool, both to help us understand your situation and to understand the impact of following the eating plan on your physical health. The goal is to maintain weight, even if you start out overweight (it is known that treatment for people living with an eating disorder who are overweight has a very limited effect on weight - see the NICE guidelines for treatment of eating disorders for more information). If you start out underweight, then the goal is to reach at least a minimum weight for health, and to then stabilise.
- working with the therapist to understand the areas of difficulty through using psychodynamic understanding, and through thinking about issues related to attachment
I very much enjoy working with people in the above programme, not least because it utilises so many of the skills I developed whilst working as a dietitian specialising in eating disorders.
If you would like to find out more about this treatment option please do not hesitate to ask.
Timulak, L., Buckroyd, J., Klimas, J., Creaner, M., Wellsted, D., Bunn, F., Bradshaw S. & Green, G. (2013). Helpful and unhelpful aspects of eating disorders treatment involving psychological therapy. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Murphy, S., Russell, L. & Waller, G. (2005). Integrated Psychodynamic Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder: Theory, Practice and Preliminary Findings. European Eating Disorders Review, Vol. 13, p. 383-391.