Cognitive Behavior Therapy Related to Eating Disorders

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that teaches techniques and skills for dealing with various challenges and problems by combining the way a person thinks with the way a person does things. It focuses on the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that influence how a person feels and behaves. CBT is used to treat a variety of issues, including eating disorders.

The Application of CBT to Eating Problems

The idea I chose is the application of CBT to eating problems. Eating problems are among the most common reasons for CBT. Overevaluation of shape and weight is the primary psychopathology of eating disorders. Another reason for choosing this theory is because of the broad acceptance of CBT as the treatment of choice for bulimia nervosa (BN), and it has been found to be useful in cases of "eating disorder not otherwise specified." (Murphy, Straeble, Cooper, & Fairburn, 2010).

Goals for Therapy

The most important goals for therapy is to provide a step by step procedure for treatment that can be used now and in the future to emphasize on how a person's thoughts (cognitive factors) and actions (behavioral factors) can influence an eating disorder. The cognitive factors include negative self-evaluation, perfectionism, over-evaluation of weight and shape, negative beliefs and primary beliefs about self-worth. On the other hand, behavioral factors include habits to control weight such as restriction, dietary restraint, binge eating, body checking and avoidance, self-harm and purging behaviors. People with eating disorders often think negatively about themselves and their bodies. Such critical thoughts, more than often, result in feelings of shame, anxiety or disgust which often lead to behaviors to check weight and cycles of negative evaluation. Another goal of therapy is, therefore, to help individuals figure out specific factors contributing to the disorder and, laid down and implement strategies highlighted throughout CBT phases.

Role of Therapist

My role as a CBT therapist is to take the patient through the CBT phases to recovery stage. Application of CBT to individuals with eating disorders involves some processes. My first role is to do an evaluation interview to help me, as the therapist, assess the nature and extent of the patient's psychiatric problem. Assessment interview provides information on how best and appropriate is it to proceed with CBT. If I find out CBT is appropriate, my next role is to describe key aspects of the therapy and encourage the patient to do his or her best to overcome their eating disorder. The areas of the treatment I address include engaging the patient, joint creation of a formulation, establishment of real-time self-monitoring, provision of education to the patient, etc.


Specific problems individuals with eating disorders have to include behavioral such as poor diet and cognitive such as low self-esteem, and this can be addressed using various techniques. For the case of behavior, I will address and minimize negative behaviors such as binge eating and irregular eating. I will advise and provide information to the patient on meal planning, balanced diet and nutrition education. Other strategies to manage negative emotions that trigger episodic binge behaviors will include distraction, prolonging urges and thought stopping. Techniques in the cognitive phase include helping the patient conquer negative thoughts about body image and self-worth, help patients improve interpersonal relationships, and provide increased hopefulness. The last technique is to help the patient maintain and prevent a relapse. The skills acquired such as real-time self-monitoring, periodic weighing, and the patient can maintain regular eating, among others through the increase in self-confidence and holistic healing. As the therapist, I will help the patient develop a comprehensive relapse and recovery plan to assist the patient to manage negative thoughts and behaviors associated with eating disorders (Walden Eating Disorders Treatment, n.d).

Expectations of Client

After the treatment, I expect the patient to have improved significantly or wholly recovered both in behavior and thoughts. The patient should have changed in the way he or she eats, improved self-confidence, focused and a general notable progress should be visible to the patient and others.


Murphy , R., Straeble, S., Cooper, Z., & Fairburn, C. G. (2010, September). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(3), 611-627. Retrieved June 12, 2017

Walden Eating Disorders Treatment. (n.d). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Binge Eating Disorder: 8 Key Treatment Benchmarks. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from Walden Eating Disorders Treatment:

April 19, 2023

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