So you feel uncomfortably full and have just searched for a Binge Eating Treatments.
Seriously. The “searching” phase is an important step and you’re in the right place.
Today I’ll be reviewing the basics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and how CBT can be useful to treat binge eating disorders. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- CBT Overview
- Phases of CBT
- When CBT is your best treatment option
- CBT Practical Example
And before you read any further, please note that I do have a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. I’m not some crazy person! I also did an overview of 3 major therapies for treating binge eating you can read here.
Binge eating treatments – A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Overview
CBT is based on the premise that thoughts, feelings and actions are intertwined and can be “reprogrammed” for different outcomes.
You know the old yoga saying that your mind and body are connected?
Well, that’s true.
And this type of therapy focuses on the mind aspect of it.
But don’t other therapy treatments focus binge eating too?
Yes, but this type of therapy is different than other therapies for several reasons.
First, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the focus is on you, the individual.
I believe this treatment modality is useful because of the secretive nature of binge eating.
Dealing with an individual is easier to manage when there are elements of secrecy.
Other the other hand, there are other therapies that focus on group dynamics or family dynamics.
While these treatment options can be great for children, especially if you see patterns of compulsive eating in children, if you are a regular adult with disordered eating patterns, I would recommend a CBD approach.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also focused in the present moment, and has very specific steps and techniques.
Other therapies may explore past or future, or be more vague in their approach.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Phases
CBT has three phases of treatment – the behavioral phase, cognitive phase and maintenance and relapse phase. You can read this article here for more in-depth information.
In the Behavioral phase we:
1. Talk in depth about perfectionist behaviors associated with BED such as episodic binge eating and subsequent behaviors.
These always result from guilt or shame and are entirely predictable!
2. We start learning about the cycle of deprivation and some very basics about meal preparation, nutrition, and eating regularly.
3. Then we start practicing and learning self-care skills. Developing coping strategies for managing negative emotions that provoke episodic binge behaviors.
Distraction, prolonging urges and thought stopping are some of the skills taught to cope with overwhelming urges.
Then there is the Cognitive Phase:
In this phase, this is where the reprogramming techniques are introduced.
Basically you take a bad thought and make the thought a good thought.
This skill is deeply useful to have in life.
Practical outcomes of this approach are:
4. Improving your body image by challenging perfectionism
5. Learn to set appropriate boundaries in relationships.
6. Become more confident.