Specialist Treatment for Eating Disorders

Sophie has a specialist interest in working with eating disorders. Sophie can offer a standardised assessment of difficulties relating to food and an approach that is relevant to the treatment of these difficulties.


Research suggests that the prevalence of eating disorders is increasing, affecting more and more young people from childhood and through the lifespan. The Covid 19 pandemic has also increased the prevalence of eating disorders.

Treatment approaches

There are various treatments proposed for eating disorders:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – focuses on encouraging the person to reach a healthy body weight through the process of healthy eating. Therapy work undertaken covers psychoeducation relating to nutrition, cognitive restructuring, emotional regulation, social skills, body image concern, self-esteem and relapse prevention. The therapy needs to be mindful of the person’s specific development needs, whilst enhancing self-efficacy, and promoting self-monitoring of dietary intake and associated thoughts and feelings.

Family Therapy – this focuses on working with the family as a system and promotes the idea of working with the family’s strengths as a way of overcoming challenges and difficulties. It is non -judgemental and creative and involves all family members where possible. This places the difficulty into the system rather than the person.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – this focuses more on emotions and interpersonal processes, and how these affect the eating disorder. The therapy aims to develop a shared understanding of the person’s psychological issues and how they use anorexic behaviour as a coping strategy. At the same time, the young person will be supported in finding alternative strategies to help them manage their stress.

In later stages of treatment issues relating to identity and independence can also be explored.

Workbook approaches

Sophie has written two workbooks that are suitable for use with eating disorders. The first Hunger for Understanding is based on a cognitive behavioural approach using the ideas of motivational enhancement to support the young person to be able to identify their difficulties and work to externalise the illness.

The second workbook – Emotion Regulation for Young People with Eating Disorders takes a different approach focusing on the underlying psychological distress, by prioritising the emotional experience of the person. From the young person’s perspective, this approach will hopefully enable them to understand that their symptoms were a representation of something integral to their own experience of the world which may need to be altered to enable them to thrive.

Are you struggling with an eating difficulty?

One more straightforward way to think about this is to try to determine whether your relationship with food is impacting negatively on your life.

This could be in relation to what you eat or don’t eat, the quantities of food you consume or restrict, the way you may feel about your body and the way you function around food on an individual and social basis.

If you feel that any or all of these issues are impacting your life in such a way the quality of your life experience is affected then talking to someone about these issues may well be of benefit to you. If an eating disorder has affected you or a family member or friend all the evidence-based research suggests you will need specialist help to be able to recover.