Top of the page
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is an active type of counselling. Sessions usually are held once a week for as long as you need to master new skills. Individual sessions last 1 hour, and group sessions may be longer.
During cognitive-behavioural therapy for eating disorders, you learn:
You can use your cognitive-behavioural skills throughout your life. You may find that additional "tune-up" sessions help you stay on track with your new skills.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is used to treat the mental and emotional elements of an eating disorder. This type of therapy is done to change how you think and feel about food, eating, and body image. It is also done to help correct poor eating habits and prevent relapse.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is considered effective for the treatment of eating disorders.footnote 1 But because eating disorder behaviours can endure for a long period of time, ongoing psychological treatment is usually needed.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy may be more effective for treating bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder rather than anorexia nervosa.footnote 2
There are no known risks linked with cognitive-behavioural therapy.
For cognitive-behavioural therapy to be most effective, be sure to work together with your counsellor toward common goals. If you think you are not working well with your counsellor, discuss your concerns with him or her or your primary doctor.
If you have a mental health condition along with an eating disorder, your doctor may suggest medicine. Treating a problem such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder may help you recover from an eating disorder.
CitationsHay PPJ, et al. (2009). Psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa and binging. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).Anderson AE, Yager J (2009). Eating disorders. In BJ Sadock et al., eds., Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 2128–2149. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Current as of: May 28, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.