Home' Southern Health News : Southern Health News - February 2015 Contents Case Study
Phoebe, aged 20, had
anorexia nervosa from
ages 16 to 18, and had been
hospitalised on two occasions
to help her regain a healthy
When she started university, Phoebe
maintained a healthy weight range but
started binge eating (eating a large
amount of food in a short period of
time), usually at the end of day when
she had been trying to restrict her
intake. These binge episodes occurred
around two to three times each week.
Phoebe also checked her body in
the full length mirror each day and
pinched areas of her body she thought
were too large to see how much fat
was stored there. She went for one
hour runs four times a week even
when she had an injury, and did 100
sit ups each evening.
Phoebe was having trouble
maintaining a social life as she often
stayed home to binge eat rather than
going out with friends, and she had
trouble concentrating on her university
studies because she was always
thinking about food.
She often felt inadequate and fat,
which made her unhappy and could
result in overeating. After four sessions
of therapy at the CBT-E clinic, Phoebe
was learning to eat regularly, monitor
her mood and eating, her binge eating
had reduced to once a week, and her
weight was stable.
She considered that though the
changes she was making were hard,
they were making her feel a lot less
preoccupied with food, and making
her feel prouder of herself.
CBT-E Clinic changes
thinking about eating
BY SARAH KOLAR
A new clinic – run by post-graduate students at Flinders University – is helping
people with eating disorders stay out of hospital and find active ways to change
their eating patterns.
The CBT-E Clinic, which takes referrals from the
Statewide Eating Disorder Service (SEDS), has
provided therapy in an outpatient setting for 10
patients with eating disorders such as bulimia
nervosa, binge eating disorder and purging
disorder since October 2014.
Clients are offered up to 20 weekly one-hour
sessions, depending on their specific needs, from
a clinic space at the university.
SEDS Academic Lead and Dean of Psychology at
Flinders University Professor Tracey Wade said
the clinic was making a huge difference to those
“The clinic is for people, with a body mass index
of more than 17.5, who have problems with
binge eating, purging or other problems such
as too much fasting and/or exercise to the point
where it’s impairing that person’s quality of life,”
Professor Wade said.
“The program has a big initial focus on how
people are eating and what triggers problems
with their eating.
“It then looks at what is maintaining the problem,
such as body checking, body avoidance or too
much focus on equating self-worth with weight
“It also deals with issues such as perfectionism,
low self-esteem and the role of eating in terms of
“Instead of using eating as a way of avoiding
or coping with problems, this therapy helps the
person to find other mechanisms which don’t
damage their health.”
also known as enhanced cognitive
therapy – is a highly individualised treatment and
is designed to be modified in light of the person’s
progress. It has four stages:
1. Gain a mutual understanding of the person’s
eating disorder and help them to modify and
stabilise their pattern of eating.
2. Progress is reviewed and plans are put in place
for stage three.
3. A focus on the issues that are maintaining
the person’s eating disorder. This involves
addressing concerns about shape and eating,
the ability to deal with daily events and moods,
and looking at over-controlled or under-
4. Emphasis on the future. Focus on maintaining
changes that have been made and minimising
the risk of relapse.
Professor Wade said the clinic had many benefits
for not only the people accessing it, but also the
students who were providing the therapy.
“Not only does the clinic help people with eating
disorders avoid a chronic course of an eating
disorder and subsequent hospital admissions, it
also helps to improve their mental health and
reduces the risk of psychiatric morbidities such as
suicide,” she said.
“The clinic also offers the students a very
rich learning experience and helps us to keep
improving the therapies we are offering through
feedback from our clients and ongoing research.”
SEDS can be contacted by phone on
(08) 8198 0800 or fax on (08) 8198 0899.
Referral information is available at
SOUTHERN HEALTH NEWS / FEBRUARY 2015 / 13
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