Eating Disorders Support

FREE Southampton Peer Support Network for people with Eating Difficulties

Beyond Eating Difficulties (ED) with Options Wellbeing - support for people with eating disorders, disordered eating & eating distress

Our CBT-E (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders) service is tailored to treat those with eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder as well presentations of disordered eating and eating distress. 


Food and eating is an essential part of maintaining health and is a big part of our lifestyles and social experiences. 

Varying eating patterns are very common i.e. dieting for a special occasion, being vegetarian, sampling different foods, eating health foods etc.  However sometimes those eating patterns can become disordered, distressed or an eating disorder can develop.

When this happens individuals can become confused about who they are (identity) and start to over value and compare what they look like with other people or perceived social norms.  As a result, people change their eating patterns by restricting, over eating and/or purging to compensate for the emotional distress felt.   Some common themes include:

  • Preoccupation with food – thoughts and behaviours
  • Issues around control or lack of control around food
  • Negative perceptions of self, low self esteem, self-obsession
  • Over valuation of body image, social expectations and making unrealistic comparisons
  • Distorted thinking about weight & shape, the role of food or certain foods
  • Secretive behaviours

For more information on different eating disorders please see our section ‘what are the different types of eating disorders? 

What is CBT-E?

CBT-E or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders (such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and others) or Disordered Eating and Eating Distress is an evidence-based treatment that supports people to move forward from their unhelpful coping mechanisms and poor relationship with food.

We support people to establish regular healthy eating behaviours, restore the person’s weight (if they are underweight), and explore any emotions and behaviours that have become unhelpful in relation to the eating disorder, disordered eating or eating distress.

The treatment involves an individual and their therapist working together to establish regular eating patterns, discover what is keeping the eating disorder or disordered eating going, what they can do to take control of their eating difficulty, and how to build and gain support from others, such as parents, friends, colleagues or caregivers to help them move forwards.

What you can expect from our Beyond ED Therapy

We follow the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance, which informs our assessment, treatment and monitoring of our clients, who have eating disorders, disordered eating or eating distress. It aims to improve the care people receive by detailing the most effective treatments for anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa and others such as Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

We’re here to support you and work together with you to establish improved quality of life and move beyond the eating difficulties and associated issues. It’s important to remember that: 

  • CBT-E is not aimed at weight loss
  • We encourage eating a broad range of foods and healthy eating as well as advise individuals to eat regular meals and snacks to support their body’s total effective functioning, this include brain and cognitive functioning as well as the body’s physical systems.
  • It is non-negotiable for individuals to try to lose weight through dieting during the course of treatment as this is likely to trigger further unhealthy coping behaviours around food intake. Restriction is likely to cause emotional and physical feelings of deprivation, which in turn then triggers further unhelpful coping behaviours around food.

The client journey Beyond ED Therapy

Following an initial assessment with one of our team to see if our services would be right for you, this is to gain an understanding of the service, what they can expect from us and what will be required during the course of therapy including time and commitment to get the most out of the support.  General pricing will also be explained for the initial assessment and packages of care as well as payment options.

If individuals wish to proceed, an appointment will be booked and they will be allocated to a CBT-E therapist to complete an initial assessment.  This takes around 90 mins and can be conducted either online or in person in one of our very comfortable therapy hubs.  The initial assessment is known as session 0.  In this session, it’s important to build rapport and for the therapist to start to understand individuals’ needs and goals, motivation for change and some background to the issues. No measurements are taken at this stage.  The therapist will suggest a package of care to help individuals move beyond their eating difficulties which includes regularly of sessions.  There is no pressure for individuals to decide there and then as to whether they proceed. 

In order to provide the best person centred care possible for each client, we take into account which therapist would be most appropriate for them.  Sometimes this is the same therapist that undertook the initial assessment and sometimes another therapist is suggested based on identified needs in the initial assessment.  All CBT-E therapists are trained in other modalities as well, so can support other associated issues in conjunction with the eating difficulties and will be matched as such.  Clients are more than welcome to meet the suggested therapist before they start the course of treatment with them to ensure they feel comfortable.

Once the therapist and packages of care are agreed to by all, we will then send out a contract to sign and therapy sessions start as agreed.  Dependant on the aims and nature of the therapy i.e. to restore weight or reduce over eating, the therapist will suggest appropriate session intervals in the initial stages.  Days and times arranged for sessions are agreed between clients and the therapist.

If there are co-occurring conditions or extremely low weight, we may suggest to see our dietitian who also specialises in eating disorders, disordered eating and eating distress.  This will be arranged if necessary through the therapist.  The dietician can help you navigate your way around eating healthily to fuel your body, creating food plans and keeping food diaries during treatment.

We may also suggest liaising with your GP (if required) so that they are aware of your holistic health needs, especially if it is felt that clients are experiencing an impact on their physical health as a result of the unhelpful behaviours around food.

If appropriate and consented to by individuals, we encourage family members and supporters to become involved to aid understanding about the eating difficulties and to help support between sessions.

The therapist will conduct regular reviews during the course of treatment to ensure clients are keeping on track and working towards their desired outcomes.  Other general emotional and mental health assessments are also undertaken during the course of therapy to safeguard and offer any other support required at the time.

Our treatment includes: (eating difficulties encompasses eating disorders, disordered eating and eating distress)

  • Psycho education –  including understanding the risks associated with all eating difficulties
  • Understanding the unhelpful coping behaviours around the eating difficulty & establishing more helpful coping mechanisms
  • Monitoring food intake and implementing self-monitoring routines
  • Understanding precipitating and perpetuating factors and in essence what keeps the eating difficulty going.
  • Identifying emotional triggers/stressors and making plans to manage, cope or avoid them
  • Cognitive restructuring (addressing negative and unhelpful thoughts and challenging them with facts and evidence)
  • Behavioural experiments
  • Exposure training with response prevention (i.e. exposure to feared foods and noticing anxiety levels)
  • Addressing positive qualities
  • Addressing negative beliefs about the self and body image (if present)
  • Practical support to avoid relapses and coping with current and future risk
  • Weekly monitoring of behaviours around food and weight

Who is it suitable for? 

Our therapeutic support is for people aged 18+ who would like help with a diagnosis, or history of eating disorders, disordered eating, eating distress or people who have unhelpful coping behaviours around food.

We work with clients who are looking to restore weight as well as other presentations.

We do not diagnose eating disorders, we focus our support help clients to address and effectively move forward from the unhelpful personal behaviours they have around food and eating. 

If you are unsure whether our approach is suitable for you, please get in touch with us using the contact form at the bottom of the page or call us on 02380 630 219. 


What are the different types of Eating Disorders? 

Eating disorders and difficulties do not discriminate, anyone can develop an eating disorder or disordered eating behaviours, regardless of their background, age, ethnicity or gender.

Unhealthy eating behaviours may include eating too little (restricting food) or over eating (binge eating/emotional eating), worrying about your body shape or weight, or purging (trying to get rid of food from the body in various ways) as well as exercising excessively to try and control weight, shape and size.

Examples of the most common eating disorders include:

  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder (BED)
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

What is Disordered Eating?  

Disordered eating can include a range of abnormal eating behaviours. On their own, these behaviours may not lead to an eating disorder diagnosis or greatly impact on your physical health.

Disordered eating may include behaviours such as: 

  • Compulsive overeating
  • Binge eating
  • Making yourself sick
  • Emotional eating
  • Use of diet pills (or laxatives)
  • Irregular chaotic eating patterns 
  • Secretive eating
  • Night eating
  • Ignoring feelings of hunger and being full
  • Restriction of food groups
  • Yo-yo dieting
  • Withdrawing from social eating


Initial Assessments last around 90mins and each therapy session thereafter slast approximately 50mins-1 hour 

We like to meet clients weekly for therapy sessions to review how things are going and to ensure the strategies and techniques are helping you to move towards your personal goals.

We offer a block of 16-20 sessions for people with bulimia and binge eating disorder presentations and this would be the same for emotional eating and similar types over eating/disordered eating presentations.

For people who are underweight, we offer a block of 40 sessions in order to give time to restore weight as well as work on replacing distorted thoughts about food, eating, body image, weight, shape and size with more balanced ones (cognitive restructuring) as well as implementing more helpful behaviours and mechanisms to cope.

We regularly review progress throughout a client’s journey to ensure that their goals and outcomes are successfully achieved. This may mean that the length of time for sessions is adjusted accordingly. We work in a person-centred way and understand that everyone’s presentation is unique and therapeutic journey is different. Our Beyond ED service is flexible and adaptable in order to adjust to the various things that come up along the way.

Our 90-minute in-depth initial assessment is £135.

Our CBT-E service is delivered as a programme of sessions that support recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating. The total cost for 16 sessions is £1425 and is payable in advance.

The total cost for a block of 40 sessions is £3500 Follow-up sessions are charged at £90 per session.

Payments plans are available for packages of support and can negotiated to fit with personal circumstances.

If you feel that you need some help to access this service and would like to discuss your financial situation, please get in touch below as we may be able to help.

We offer our CBT-E service online or face-to-face at our therapy hub in Southampton and Bournemouth. We can also offer a blended pproach, mixing both face-to-face and online counselling dependent on your circumstances.

Our Team

Our therapists are trained professionally and are all members of an accredited membership body, such as BACPBABCPNCSUKCP .

They are experienced in a range of counselling/therapy modalities, including: Person-centred, Transactional Analysis (TA), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT & CBT-E) and Integrative (a mixture of different modalities).

Service Manager, Claire, of Options Wellbeing in Southampton and Bournemouth

Get in touch

Are you considering eating disorders therapy and would like to learn more? Get in touch with our team to book in your initial assessment today.

Speak to a Therapist Now

Book in an initial assessment with one of our team today to see if our services would be right for you.

FREE Southampton Peer Support Network for people with Eating Difficulties