An Examination of Bulimia Nervosa Amongst Australian Celebrities

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that can significantly impact an individual's physical and psychological health. Characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours, this condition can lead t[...]

July 6, 2023

Tips on How to Stop Eating Junk Food

In today’s world, time efficiency and the desire for immediate satisfaction have become primary considerations for individuals. Junk food can provide this satisfaction because it not only tastes good, but it is convenient and easily acces[...]

March 17, 2023

How to Develop Healthy Eating Habits

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’. But do you know what it really means? Every time you consume a meal…

May 6, 2022

The Influence of Age and Gender on Eating Disorders

Let’s examine how age and gender can influence eating disorder risk. When reading this article, remember - although age and gender may impact one’s chance of being diagnosed with an eating disorder, eating disorders can af[...]

March 29, 2022

How Going On A Diet Can Lead to Emotional Eating

How many types of diets have you seen pop-up on your social media? Paleo, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, juice cleanses, the keto diet… The list seems never-ending. When done correctly, these diets can undoubtedly help you reach your he[...]

January 13, 2022

7 Tips to Break Away From Binge Eating

When was the last time you sat down to watch TV or a movie with a bowl of buttery popcorn or a tub of your favourite icecream? You reach your hand or spoon into the bowl to get some more, and “oops”, it’[...]

December 20, 2021

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

Do you find yourself reaching for a slice of chocolate cake when you’re feeling down? [...]

December 16, 2021

Bulimia: Fuelled by Social Media

As you scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed, how often do images of people with incredible bodies pop up?Chances are – you are confronted with images of people with thin frames or athletic physique[...]

November 9, 2021

How to stay motivated to manage bulimia

This article was updated on 28 October 2021, after being first published on 22 December 2013. Bulimia is a common yet highly distressing disorder impacting up to 2.9% of women in Australia. It involves phases of eating huge quantities of[...]

October 28, 2021

Eating Disorders in a 21st Century Health Pandemic

Life across the world has been transformed in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many countries, COVID-19 has had devastating consequences to the health and wellbeing of individuals across the lifespan. It has also resulted in dr[...]

June 5, 2020

How can I tell that I have an eating disorder?

We live in a world where we are bombarded with images and messages about our bodies. If our bodies don’t look a particular way, there is an implication that there is something fundamentally wrong about ourse[...]

November 24, 2013

Do People Really Get Addicted To Chocolate?

Yes people, especially women, can become dependent on chocolate; but it is important to understand that chocolate is not an addictive substance itself. A dependency on chocolate can occur however, but as a res[...]

June 19, 2013

Eating Disorders & Emotional Invalidation

Eating disorders are complex conditions and most com[...]

November 24, 2011

Binge Eating Counselling, Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy

Binge Eating Disorder is so common in our consumer driven, narcissistic, Western society. And no, I'm not just referring to Bulimia, but specifically binge eating, as [...]

March 20, 2010

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that aims to change negative patterns of thinking or behaviour. It is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected and that changing negative thought patterns can lead to changes in feelings and behaviours. CBT helps individuals identify and challenge distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs, teaching them to respond to challenging situations more effectively. It is commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders, including depression, anxiety, and phobias. The therapy involves working with a therapist in a structured setting, and the skills learned can be applied to everyday life. With its evidence-based approach, CBT has proven effective for many individuals in managing their psychological challenges.

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Psychodynamic Therapy


Psychodynamic therapy, rooted in the theories of psychoanalysis developed by Sigmund Freud, focuses on the unconscious processes as they manifest in a person's present behaviour. The goal is to increase self-awareness and understanding of how past experiences influence current behaviour. It explores unresolved conflicts and traumatic experiences from the past, which may be impacting present-day behaviours and emotions. Therapists often delve into childhood events, dreams, and the relationship between the therapist and client to uncover hidden patterns. By bringing these unconscious feelings and drives to consciousness, individuals can gain insights into their lives, leading to healing and personal growth. While traditionally long-term, many contemporary forms of psychodynamic therapy are shorter-term. It is used to treat a broad range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.

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Person-Centred Therapy (or Rogerian Therapy)


Person-centred therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, is a humanistic approach that emphasises the individual's inherent drive towards self-actualization and growth. The therapist provides an environment of unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuineness, allowing clients to freely express themselves without fear of judgement. This nurturing atmosphere facilitates self-exploration and self-acceptance. Central to the approach is the belief that individuals possess an innate ability to find their solutions when given the right conditions. The therapist's role is not to direct or advise, but rather to act as a facilitative companion on the client's journey. The focus is on the here and now, with the aim to enhance the individual's self-awareness, self-worth, and capacity to create positive changes in their lives.

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Hypnotherapy


Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique that uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of consciousness or trance. Conducted by certified hypnotherapists, it taps into the subconscious mind, allowing clients to explore suppressed memories, emotions, or negative patterns. The process can facilitate behaviour change by introducing positive affirmations or suggestions. Hypnotherapy is often employed to treat anxieties, phobias, substance addictions, unwanted behaviours, and pain management. It can also be used to uncover and address deeper traumas or past experiences. While many report positive results from hypnotherapy, it requires the individual's willingness and trust in the process. It is crucial to approach it with an open mind and under the guidance of a trained professional.

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Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)


Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a time-limited, evidence-based treatment that focuses on interpersonal issues, aiming to improve communication patterns and relational dynamics. Developed primarily for depression, IPT operates on the premise that psychological symptoms are often linked to interpersonal problems. It concentrates on four main areas: unresolved grief, role disputes (conflicts with significant others), role transitions (major life changes), and interpersonal deficits (long-standing difficulties in forming and maintaining healthy relationships). Therapists help clients identify and address current interpersonal issues that may contribute to their emotional distress. By enhancing communication and relational skills, IPT seeks to alleviate symptoms and improve interpersonal functioning. Emphasising the here and now, it offers practical strategies and insights for individuals to better navigate their social environments.

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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioural treatment developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, primarily for individuals with borderline personality disorder and chronic suicidality. DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioural techniques with concepts from Buddhist meditation, emphasising both acceptance and change. The therapy addresses emotional dysregulation by teaching patients skills in four key areas: mindfulness (staying present in the moment), distress tolerance (managing crises and accepting situations without change), emotion regulation (understanding and managing intense emotions), and interpersonal effectiveness (communicating and setting boundaries). DBT incorporates both individual therapy and group skills training. Its efficacy has expanded beyond its initial focus, showing promise in treating other disorders like eating disorders, substance use disorders, and mood disorders. It aims to balance self-acceptance with the need for change, fostering both emotional stability and interpersonal effectiveness.

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Integrative or Eclectic Therapy


Integrative or Eclectic therapy combines elements from various therapeutic approaches based on a client's individual needs. Instead of adhering to a single therapy model, integrative therapists are flexible, drawing from multiple theories and techniques to create a personalised treatment. This approach recognizes the value of diverse therapeutic methods and believes no one size fits all. By blending elements from different therapies, integrative practitioners aim to enhance treatment efficacy, tailoring it to the specific issues, preferences, and cultural backgrounds of each client. The underlying principle is that different individuals may benefit from different approaches at different times. Thus, an integrative or eclectic approach is holistic, adaptable, and client-centred, aiming to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes by using a wider range of tools and insights.

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Narrative Therapy


Narrative therapy is a therapeutic approach that centres on the stories people construct and hold about their lives. Developed by Michael White and David Epston, it posits that individuals give meaning to their experiences through narrative, often influenced by societal norms and beliefs. In this therapy, problems are externalised, allowing clients to view issues as separate from themselves. Therapists help clients "re-author" these narratives, emphasising strengths, achievements, and overlooked potential. By dissecting and reframing these stories, individuals can perceive challenges differently, identify alternative narratives, and construct more empowered versions of their lives. The approach is non-pathologizing, viewing people as experts of their own lives, with the therapist acting as a collaborative partner in the exploration and rewriting process. Narrative therapy fosters resilience, agency, and personal transformation.

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Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)


Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is a goal-oriented approach that emphasises solutions rather than problems. Developed by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg in the 1980s, SFBT operates on the belief that clients possess inherent strengths and resources to manage difficulties and create desired changes. Instead of delving into the origins of problems, the therapy focuses on envisioning a preferred future and identifying practical steps to achieve it. Sessions often involve questions that help clients recognize successes, however small, and build on them. Questions might explore exceptions (times when the problem was not present) or elicit positive feedback, reinforcing progress. SFBT is typically shorter in duration than other modalities and is applicable across various settings and populations, emphasising resilience, competence, and actionable solutions.

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Gestalt Therapy


Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls in the mid-20th century, is an experiential and holistic approach focusing on self-awareness and the "here and now." It emphasises personal responsibility and the individual's experience in the present moment, the environment, and the context. The therapy seeks to help clients integrate fragmented aspects of the self, leading to a more unified, authentic whole. Gestalt therapists use creative techniques, including role-playing, dialogue, and experiential exercises, to heighten awareness and resolve unfinished business or "gestalts." Central to the approach is the belief in the innate human capacity for self-regulation and growth when individuals fully experience their feelings and perceptions. Gestalt therapy underscores the importance of the therapist-client relationship, direct engagement, and mutual influence, aiming to foster self-acceptance and personal growth.

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Schema Therapy


Schema therapy, developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young, integrates elements of cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, attachment, and gestalt approaches to treat complex disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder. It posits that maladaptive "schemas" or core beliefs form in childhood due to unmet emotional needs. These schemas persist into adulthood, leading to unhealthy life patterns or coping styles. The therapy identifies and addresses these deep-rooted schemas, aiming to replace them with healthier coping mechanisms. Schema therapy uses various techniques like cognitive restructuring, experiential exercises, and behavioural pattern-breaking. Therapists also emphasise a therapeutic relationship marked by "limited reparenting," wherein they provide the support and guidance that clients might have missed in their childhood. By addressing these core beliefs and their origins, schema therapy seeks long-lasting change and healing for individuals with chronic psychological challenges.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a therapeutic approach that blends traditional behaviour therapy with mindfulness principles. Developed by Steven C. Hayes in the 1980s, ACT's primary objective is to increase psychological flexibility. It encourages individuals to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than resisting or feeling guilty for them. The therapy focuses on six core processes: cognitive defusion (distancing from unhelpful thoughts), acceptance (embracing feelings without judgement), present-moment awareness (mindfulness), self-as-context (recognizing a consistent self beyond thoughts), values clarification (identifying what truly matters), and committed action (taking steps aligned with values). ACT posits that pain is a normal part of life and aims to help clients pursue meaningful lives in the presence of pain, rather than avoiding or being dominated by internal distress.

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Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an integrative therapy that combines traditional cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with mindfulness strategies. Developed to prevent the recurrence of depression, MBCT teaches individuals to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, fostering a different relationship with them rather than trying to eliminate them. This approach aids in recognizing and disrupting automatic cognitive processes, often preventing depressive relapses. Through meditation exercises and awareness techniques, clients learn to focus on the present moment, reducing rumination and negative thought patterns. Research has shown MBCT to be effective in reducing the recurrence of depression, especially for those with a history of recurrent episodes. Beyond depression, it is also applied to various conditions, promoting mental well-being by cultivating mindfulness and a more adaptive relationship with thoughts and emotions.

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Family Systems Therapy


Family systems therapy, rooted in the work of Murray Bowen, views individuals in the context of their family unit, considering familial relationships, dynamics, and patterns. It posits that an individual's behaviours and emotional well-being are inseparable from the family system they belong to. Distress or dysfunction in one member often reflects broader family dynamics. The therapy seeks to identify and address unhealthy patterns within the family, aiming to foster understanding, improve communication, and resolve conflicts. Therapists observe interactions, facilitate dialogues, and guide family members towards healthier ways of relating. They consider generational patterns, roles, and boundaries. The goal is not just to address the concerns of one member but to enhance the well-being and functionality of the entire family system, recognizing its interconnected nature.

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) References


  • Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.
  • Cuijpers, P., Karyotaki, E., Weitz, E., Andersson, G., Hollon, S. D., & van Straten, A. (2017). The effects of psychotherapies for major depression in adults on remission, recovery, and improvement: a meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 202, 511-517.
  • Wiles, N., Thomas, L., Abel, A., Ridgway, N., Turner, N., Campbell, J., ... & Hollinghurst, S. (2013). Cognitive behavioural therapy as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for primary care based patients with treatment-resistant depression: results of the CoBalT randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 381(9864), 375-384.
  • Johnsen, T. J., & Friborg, O. (2015). The effects of cognitive behavioral therapy as an anti-depressive treatment is falling: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 141(4), 747.
  • Driessen, E., Van, H. L., Don, F. J., Peen, J., Kool, S., Westra, D., ... & Dekker, J. J. (2013). The efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy in the outpatient treatment of major depression: a randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(9), 1041-1050.
  • Cuijpers, P., Cristea, I. A., Karyotaki, E., Reijnders, M., & Huibers, M. J. (2016). How effective are cognitive behavior therapies for major depression and anxiety disorders? A meta-analytic update of the evidence. World Psychiatry, 15(3), 245-258.

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Psychodynamic Therapy References


  • Leichsenring, F., & Rabung, S. (2011). Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy in complex mental disorders: update of a meta-analysis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 199(1), 15-22.
  • Abbass, A., Kisely, S., & Kroenke, K. (2014). Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy for somatic disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 83(5), 265-274.
  • Luyten, P., & Fonagy, P. (2015). The neurobiology of mentalizing. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 6(4), 366.
  • Gerber, A. J., Kocsis, J. H., Milrod, B. L., Roose, S. P., Barber, J. P., Thase, M. E., ... & Schneier, F. R. (2011). A quality-based review of randomized controlled trials of psychodynamic psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 168(1), 19-28.
  • Munder, T., Wilmers, F., Leonhart, R., Linster, H. W., & Barth, J. (2010). Working Alliance Inventory-Short Revised (WAI-SR): psychometric properties in outpatients and inpatients. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 17(3), 231-239.
  • Town, J. M., Diener, M. J., Abbass, A., Leichsenring, F., Driessen, E., & Rabung, S. (2012). A meta-analysis of psychodynamic psychotherapy outcomes: Evaluating the effects of research-specific procedures. Psychotherapy, 49(3), 276.

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