Enhanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT-E) is a variation of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which has distinct aims at treating eating disorders. It differs in standard CBT as it is specifically aimed at and designed to address a specific theoretical model of the psychological and behavioural mechanisms that underlie and maintain disordered eating symptoms. Treatment using CBT-E is both individualised and tailored to the client, this helps to ensure that the underlying symptoms are addressed. CBT-E is about understanding the interactions between your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, then developing strategies to alter these,  with the end goal to improve both mood and physical symptoms. The therapy format involves a one on one style formulation, with the therapist and the client working together to form a treatment strategy. 


Typically, CBT-E will be split into four separate stages:

  1. Working towards understanding the individual disorder, as well as psychoeducation and understanding of what the underlying causes of the disorder may be. This will typically last 5 to 10 sessions and will coincide with the beginning of establishing healthy eating patterns.
  2. Planning the individual treatment strategy (1-2 sessions).
  3. Implementation of the strategies developed in the initial stages and addressing the maintaining factors of the eating disorder. (5-10 sessions).
  4. The development of strategies which can be used to help prevent potential relapse (the last 2-5 sessions of the therapy plan).


CBT-E is typically delivered on a time schedule, meaning that clients will complete 20-40 sessions on a weekly basis. This is individualised and depends on the client’s presentation and availability. In addition to sessions, clients will have the opportunity to complete at home tasks throughout the week which will help to develop and strengthen strategies which can be used to help with meaningful change.


The therapy style is commonly regarded as the most effective evidence based treatment for eating disorders and can be modified for each client’s specific needs. If you (or someone you know) is experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder, remember that you are not alone and there are many treatment and support options available. Contact our team today to find out more or enquire about our availability.