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April is Counselling and Psychotherapy Month

April is Counselling and Psychotherapy Month. 

Before I get into two common therapies for eating disorders, I wanted to focus on the theme for this year.

What is this month's theme for counselling and psychotherapy month?

The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association created C&P month in 2022 to celebrate them and their vital role and contribution to communities.

This year’s theme is environMENTAL health. This focuses on environmental impacts on mental health and climate-related emotions.

Is there a connection between the environment and eating disorders?

Because this topic is in the very early stages of proper research, there isn’t much definite information.

I hope to write more about this topic as more results become available.

There do seem to be possible direct and indirect connections between climate change and increased risk of eating disorders, according to a paper written by Rachel F. Rodgers et. al. These include:

  1. Decreased food access and security

  2. Changes in mean temperature

  3. Concerns related to food safety and eco-anxiety

  4. Indirect pathways through trauma, adversity, and increased food insecurity and ED’s

Since this month is dedicated to highlighting the importance of counselling and psychotherapy, I want to showcase some information on two of some of the most common and effective eating disorder therapies.

Family-based therapy (FBT) 

FBT is typically geared towards children and teens with eating disorders, specifically those who may have anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. It teaches and allows the parent or guardian to take most of the control on the individual’s eating habits (cooking meals, creating meal plans with the therapist, etc.) - helping the client reach a healthier point with the intention of returning control to them. 

This therapy focuses less on what caused the eating disorder and more on bringing nutrition and a healthy idea of food back into the individual's life with the support of their family. 

This type of treatment also allows children and teens to recover at home rather than in a hospital setting, and for the most part allows them to live their regular lives. This includes going to school and perhaps extra curriculars, depending on the situation and severity. 

It consists of 20 weekly sessions in three separate phases:

  • Phase one - first 10 to 12 sessions: renourishing the individual

  • Phase two - lasts about 5 sessions: individual begins to gain control over their eating slowly - may return to physical activity in moderation 

  • Phase three - final 3 or 4 sessions: teaches the family on how to allow the child to go back to regular life without a constant focus on their eating disorder

Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-E)

CBT is a therapy that helps to restructure an individual's way of thinking and their actions supporting that. CBT-E is a derivative of CBT that is more focused on very individualized connections of specific thoughts, feelings and how they’ve been creating ED behaviours (actions). 

There are adult and youth versions of CBT-E. 

Family support and family joining sessions are also highly encouraged in CBT-E sessions especially for youth. 

Four stages in 20-40 weekly sessions:

  1. Understanding the eating disorder - what may be causing it

  • More so the educational portion of treatment

  • May be asked to keep a record of eating and the thoughts and feelings alongside it, will be focused on specific patterns with thoughts + eating

  1. Developing a plan - what is the main thing to focus on

  2. Examining the mechanisms that could perpetuate your challenges with food and eating

  • May address weight concerns

  • Improving skills on dealing with day to day events and other areas of life without just focusing on the ED

  • Perhaps addressing self-esteem, other interpersonal issues.

  1. Focusing on the future

  • How to maintain the new skills learned/new coping mechanisms

  • Dealing with possible setbacks

I hope this taught you something or maybe sparked your interest in a new field. For any other information surrounding types of therapies for eating disorder recovery please feel free to look at some of our other blogs or check out

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