Bulimia nervosa is a serious condition involving episodes of binge eating that are followed by some sort of compensatory behaviour such as self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, excessive exercise and fasting to avoid weight gain. An episode of binge eating is characterised by consuming a portion of food that is higher than most people would eat during specific times. People often feel out of control during their bulimic episode and may report zoning out or mildly dissociating. Individuals with bulimia tend to obtain their self worth from their body shape, appearance and weight.

Bulimic episodes are commonly triggered by emotions appraised as unpleasant or threatening (such as anger, sadness, fear, guilt and shame), interpersonal difficulties (such as conflict), boredom and after long periods of restricted food intake.

What are some of the causes of bulimia?

Bulimia is a complicated illness that has many underlying causes. Every case is unique to the individual and there are some common, not universal, features that bulimic individuals may share including:

  • Experiencing childhood abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) that is or is not consciously remembered. However, individuals can develop bulimia even if they haven’t experienced childhood trauma.
  • Growing up in a chaotic and dysfunctional family (for example, growing up with a parent who is mentally ill or an alcoholic; or experiencing “role reversal” where as a child you had to care for your parent).
  • Growing up in a family where warmth and empathy is lacking, or the flip-side with excessive involvement from a parent.
  • Growing up in a family where parents have high expectations of their children and are focused on how the family appears to the outside world.

Experiencing any of the above can give rise to further features seen in many bulimics including:

  • Difficulties with trust
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor impulse control
  • Difficulty tolerating distressing feelings
  • Having feelings that are perceived as “wrong”
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Relationship difficulties

Treatment Options:

The current research base suggests that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles, particularly CBTE are a useful place to begin treating bulimia. CBT involves exploring the link between thoughts, emotions and behaviours to help individuals develop greater insight into how this process is related to their bulimic symptoms. Early treatment may involve psychoeducation, goal setting, enhancing insight and starting to build more adaptive skills to cope and respond differently to the bulimia triggers. There is also evidence to suggest that psychodynamic psychotherapy which aims to explore how unresolved difficulties from the past are playing out in the present is at least as effective as CBT in treating bulimia.

Call us on (03) 9557 9113 or use our contact form enquire, or book your confidential online therapy appointment right now.

Online counselling, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy sessions are conducted securely online using video conferencing software from the privacy and comfort of your own home. This medium may have advantages over face to face sessions sometimes leading to more openness during sessions.


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Don’t let Bulimia take over your life and harm your health!

Let’s work together to help you deal with Bulimia

Approaches applied to eating disorders are tailored to your needs at Bayside Psychotherapy. Your course of treatment will depend upon what we consider most appropriate, and may include one or a combination of: counselling, psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation exercises, psychodynamic therapy, dream work, NLP or Hypnotherapy. In addition to individual bulimia psychotherapy, there is also a Bulimia Hypnosis Download and various community based resources available.

The first step is to make an appointment. The first session will provide you with an opportunity to find out if you click with your counsellor and to determine an appropriate course of treatment.

Bulimia treatment Melbourne

How Long will Counselling Take?

Usually after a few sessions we can ascertain how therapy is helping, and then we will have a clearer idea of how long to estimate for lasting change to occur. While occasionally individuals may experience symptom reduction after some short term therapy, may individuals with eating difficulties find long term therapy is required to fully work through the underlying triggers and causes. This involves a commitment on the part of the client and therapist to engage in open and honest communication and to work together.

Feel free to visit our FAQ page for pricing and other relevant details.

Call Bayside Psychotherapy in Melbourne on (03) 9557 9113 to find out if we may be suited to assist you. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.

Alternatively if you are ready to commence online therapy with one of our qualified professionals you can book online now.

Note: This information is informative only and is not to be used for diagnosis or substitution of appropriate assessment and/or treatment by a registered practitioner. Information on this page and our entire site should not be construed as implying that our therapists are specialists in treating any condition whatsoever. While some of our therapists may have experience working with people suffering from a specific condition, not all of our therapists do. We do not guarantee any particular level of performance, cure or management of symptoms. Each case is unique and responds differently with collaboration between client and therapist being crucial. Always seek appropriate assessment from a qualified professional such as a GP, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist or social worker especially if you are acutely distressed.

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Therapists who do online

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Carolina Selvarajoo
  • Humaira Ansari
  • Kelli Tranter
  • Lawrence Akers
  • Paul Mischel

Therapists who do in-clinic

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Carolina Selvarajoo
  • Lawrence Akers
  • Paul Mischel