Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is a psychological disease and studies point to it affecting 1 per cent of the population to up to 7 per cent of young women consulting their GP exhibiting the symptoms.

Successful treatment comes through a five step model. The treatment model sees the family and other significant individuals in the sufferer’s life as resources for healing.

Step 1: Have all influential members of the person’s life attend sessions

Generally we involve spouses, siblings, parents and other relatives. In the initial consultation with the individual our therapists identify everyone who should be asked to attend the session. The participation of all these people is important as their interactions during the session can help us assess the issues in the individual’s life and conflict avoidance being maintained.

We stress the seriousness of the situation to everyone in the session. Our experts aim to motivate all the participants in the session.

Step 2: Generate goals and plan treatment

We assess the pressures in the individual’s life, the relationships they have with the members, look back at the individual’s history with conflict and determine the interactions that need to be changed.

Step 3: Address the issues

Typically sessions last one hour and are held once to twice a week based on the individual’s needs. The team together with the family and the suffer seeks new ways of addressing problems and confirming positive behaviors.

Step 4: Establish and maintain new positive behaviours

The old patterns of interaction are challenged in sessions and family members are left to establish new patterns in the session and at home. We create certain measurable goals for the individuals that need to be met and reinforced by the family. We give the individuals a greater sense of empowerment over their lives and at the same time over their bulimia.

Step 5: End therapy

Treatment is completed not just when the problematic behavior, the bulimia has ceased. NZ Eating Disorder Specialists work to the point where there is observable change – according to the goals established by the sufferer and their significant others.

The door is left open for further consultation. Regular follow-ups by our therapists also reassure the family that help is available if further intervention or support is needed.

Next: Therapy via Skype

Recent Comments

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Book: Enduring Change in Eating Disorders

Enduring Change in Eating Disorders - Book Cover

Dr Fishman is the author of 'Enduring Change in Eating Disorders – Interventions with long -term results' (Brunner-Routledge 2004).

This book presents the powerful and proven effective model of Intensive Structural Family Therapy and its application to the treatment of eating disorders.