We offer support to people of any age, who have been diagnosed with/meet the diagnosis criteria for an eating disorder. This does vary slightly across each service, but predominantly we are able to offer support to people who meet the diagnostic criteria for Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder and Other Specified Food or Eating Disorder. We are not able to offer support to people with difficulties such as a phobia of vomiting, or picky eating.
We know that sometimes it can be difficult to seek support, or to acknowledge that we may need additional help with things that we are struggling with.
The eating disorder charity Beat have produced a leaflet which could be helpful to read through if you are considering seeking help via your GP. It explains some common misconceptions about seeking help for an eating disorder, as well as offering the GP some guidance. Therefore, it could also be useful to download or print the seeking help via your GP leaflet, in order to take it with you to your GP appointment.
Our team is made up of lots of different people, who have different roles or responsibilities. These are broadly described below.
Our dietitians offer individualised advice and support surrounding nutrition, in order to help service users restore regular eating patterns and challenge their disordered thoughts around food.
Psychologists and therapists
Our psychologists and therapists provide evidence-based psychotherapy, for example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Family-Based Therapy, on both an individual and group basis. We also offer support to families and carers.
Our specialist mental health nurses offer individual and group support to help service users build their motivation to make changes, and to begin implementing these changes. They also ensure their physical health is monitored regularly.
In some of our services, we also have a specialist GP who will supervise the physical health of service users, and oversee any medical complications resulting from the eating disorder.
We accept referrals from GPs, the Single Point of Access Team, and other health professionals. Following referral, we will send out a letter inviting you to an assessment at the appropriate service.
Many people feel anxious before their assessment, so you are not alone if you’re feeling this way. The assessment will take about an hour and a half and you are welcome to bring a close family member, friend or partner in with you. The assessment will involve speaking to a member of the team about how you are, what is going well, and what you might be finding difficult (including your thoughts and behaviours around eating). Usually, you will be weighed during the assessment.
Following the assessment, we will send yourself, the referrer (for children and young people this might be CAMHS) and/or your GP, a written report of the assessment and a care plan for next steps.
CBT is a collaborative, time-limited, present focused therapy which looks at problems through recording and mapping out the relationship between an individual’s thoughts, feelings, body symptoms and actions. At times present thinking which brings up past issues and core beliefs will also be explored. This information helps the individual and therapist, work together, to find what is keeping the problem going. Individual’s goals are set which link in with planned challenging of thoughts and changes in actions in and out of sessions to break the problem cycle. CBT models and protocols also guide evidence based tasks; such as experiments around challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, reducing body checking behaviours, introducing regular eating patterns, breaking dietary rules, reintroducing avoided foods and psychoeducation topics related to the problem.
Clinical psychology is a talking therapy, which looks at helping you to make positive changes to your life. These might be changes in behaviour (things you do), changes in your cognitions (the way you think), or changes in your relationship with yourself, or with other people. It is likely to also include exploring some of your past experiences, and how these have impacted on you. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to talk about everything you’ve experienced.
Clinical psychologists have the title of ‘Dr’ but they’re not medical doctors, and they don’t prescribe medication. They will listen carefully to you, and try to help you make sense of your experiences and your difficulties. Together, you will agree the best way to try and support you, and made a plan of action. There are lots of different approaches a clinical psychologist might use to help you make the changes you want to, but they all involve you working together. You will usually be asked to try out different strategies, or reflect on what you’ve spoken about in sessions, at home in between appointments.
CFT is a kind of talking therapy. It is particularly useful for people who experience high levels of shame and/or self-criticism. This might include people who find it difficult to trust others, or those who find it hard to show kindness towards themselves, or accept it from others. CFT draws on lots of different ideas and techniques to help you learn how to be more compassionate towards yourself, and to feel safe and capable in a world that can seem overwhelming. It involves learning new skills and trying out different strategies, and practicing these in between each session.
Sometimes it is useful to come to appointments with other people in your family to talk about things. It can be helpful if everyone works together to tackle a problem. We call this family therapy.
Appointments are every 2 to 4 weeks and last about an hour. You come along with people from your family to talk and we will explain who we are and how things work. We like to hear what you think about how we are working so we can be as helpful as possible.
What we won't do:
- We won't try to force you to speak about things
- We won't tell you off
- We won't take sides
It is ok to:
- say if you don't understand what's said
- say you don't know if asked a question
- ask for a break
- to be quiet
- to say how you see things
FBT is an intensive approach which is particularly helpful for young people in the first three years of the eating disorder being around. FBT involves all members of the family, and helps parents/caregivers to feel more able to help their child.
There are three phases of FBT:
- In Phase 1, parents/caregivers make the decisions about mealtimes and what the young person will eat, as well as about physical activity, to stop the eating disorder from making the decisions.
- In Phase 2, once the young person is eating enough and is physically healthy enough, the young person gradually has more responsibility and makes their own decisions about food and exercise.
- Finally, in Phase 3, we look at getting back to things the eating disorder might have gotten in the way of e.g. doing things with friends, and how to stay well in the future.
The Oxford Annex, Foundations,, Oxford Street, Preston, PR1 3SG
Telephone: 01282 657 999
Pendle House, 80-85 Leeds Road, Nelson, BB9 9TG
Telephone: 01695 684 382
Ormksirk and District General Hospital, Dicconson Way, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2AZ
North Lancashire and South Cumbria
Telephone: 01530 462 360
Address: Murley Moss, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, LA9 7RL