Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorder Treatment

By Philip Pierce, Ph.D.
Private Practice, Former CBT Group Leader of Susan B. Krevoy Eating Disorder Program

An important aspect of treating binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The CBT approach focuses on changing negative thought patterns and teaching problem-solving techniques so our patients can more effectively deal with negative mood states which so often trigger eating problems.

Homework is assigned to both reinforce and expand the work done in session. These assignments include outside reading, thought record diaries and self-monitoring tools. Long standing negative patterns and cognitive distortions become evident to the patient and strategies are developed to confront both symptoms and causes. This new-found awareness provides an opportunity to shift eating-disordered thoughts and to normalize eating and to build on personal strengths.

By thinking about problems in more accurate way, patients gain increased performance in many areas of his or her life. CBT plays a vital role in the multi-faceted treatment of eating disorders to help our patients live happier and more fulfilling lives.

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