Eating Disorder Therapy

CBT for Eating Disorders

Castlewood utilizes a variety of evidence-based and innovative treatment approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a general classification of psychotherapy. CBT for eating disorders includes an array of techniques which help clients understand the thoughts and feelings that support the eating disorder and co-occurring problems. The word cognitive refers to understanding feelings and emotions, and the word behavioral refers to how some acts/reacts. CBT for eating disorders assist clients in changing their thought-response patterns. Clients in treatment at Castlewood practice the skills they learn in CBT in both therapeutic and real-world settings, which helps increase self-confidence in the use of these skills throughout the continuum of care.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders at Castlewood

Our licensed clinicians at Castlewood have extensive experience and training in utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders. In addition, our licensed nutritionists are expert in integrating CBT for eating disorders into the education and experiential parts of nutrition, food planning, and eating behaviors. Individuals with anorexia, bulimia and other types of eating disorders benefit greatly from including CBT for eating disorders in their individualized care plan. At Castlewood, the primary team and adjunctive clinicians also integrate CBT to treat an array of co-occurring problems, including:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Addiction (both substance abuse and process addictions, such as shopping and gambling)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic disorders and many types of phobias
  • Communication and relationship problems
  • Chronic pain issues
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
Castlewood’s treatment team utilizes CBT for eating disorders in individual, group, and family therapy sessions. Clients often feel vulnerable and even angry when they begin treatment at Castlewood, because they no longer have the eating disorder behaviors to use as protective mechanisms. Cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders is utilized from the first day of treatment at Castlewood, in order to help clients find practical ways to replace negative actions (such as purging or bingeing) with more positive ones.

Why CBT for Eating Disorders Works

Cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders and co-occurring issues is most effective when used over time. This involves helping clients set very short term goals, and then building upon the success of these first goals to step up to more difficult thought-action tasks.

Some examples of techniques used in CBT for eating disorders and co-occurring problems include:

  • Replacing a negative thought with a positive one, such as about one’s personal attributes
  • Determining specific situations that are being avoided, and then gradually approaching these situations
  • Writing down problematic  thoughts and tracking them over time, to identify patterns of problematic thinking
  • Developing techniques to tolerate and accept difficult emotions
  • Improving interpersonal communication skills through role play and cognitive restructuring
  • Engaging in self-monitoring activities to recognize triggers or cravings for binge foods, drugs or alcohol, self-harm behaviors or other self-destructive behaviors.
  • Identifying high risk behaviors that accompany the eating disorder
  • Removing/altering antecedents and consequences of eating disorder behaviors so they can be more easily eliminated
  • Developing healthy coping skills and positive affirmations
Each client at Castlewood has a unique set of needs, and arrives at Castlewood with their own unique ways of acting and reacting. A client’s individualized care plan utilizes CBT for eating disorders in the way that best suits these unique needs. During each level of care, clients at Castlewood receive a combination of evidence-based cognitive and behavioral therapies, all of which have been shown through research to effectively decrease the cognitive distortions and core beliefs that support eating disorders.

The primary CBT therapies used at Castlewood include:

  • Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy(DBT)
In addition to CBT approaches, individual care plans for each of Castlewood’s clients are enhanced with other types of evidence-based and innovative treatments.
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