Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders

Christopher G. Fairburn

Format: Hardcover, 324 pages
ISBN: 9781593857097
Price: $49.00

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This book provides the first comprehensive guide to the practice of "enhanced" cognitive behavior therapy (CBT-E), the latest version of the leading empirically supported treatment for eating disorders. Written with the practitioner in mind, the book demonstrates how this transdiagnostic approach can be used with the full range of eating disorders seen in clinical practice. Christopher Fairburn and colleagues describe in detail how to tailor CBT-E to the needs of individual patients, and how to adapt it for adolescents and patients who require hospitalization. Also addressed are frequently encountered co-occurring disorders and how to manage them. Reproducible appendices feature the Eating Disorder Examination interview and questionnaire.


“Fairburn is not only a well known clinical researcher in the field of eating disorders but is also a clear and effective writer. The book is remarkably easy to read—each concept is clearly illustrated and the book's figures, charts, and diagrams further illuminate the text. Examples included in the text, such as common patient questions, vignettes, and sample therapist responses, help make the concepts and explanations presented in this guide easy to grasp. Perhaps most importantly, this book provides valuable insight into the treatment of a challenging clinical population....The ideas presented in this book are provocative, questioning the conventional classification of eating disorders and offering a treatment based on a transdiagnostic approach. The publication of this book is quite timely as the eating disorders field ponders the most meaningful way to revise the diagnostic categories for the upcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, DSM-5....Useful to both novice and more experienced clinicians. It would perhaps be most helpful for clinicians familiar with CBT who work with patients with eating disorders. Psychiatry residents or graduate students in areas such as psychology or social work who are working with patients with eating disorders would also find this a very useful guide....An interesting addition to the literature on the treatment of patients with eating disorders. It provides a step-by-step guide for implementing a new form of CBT for the treatment of all eating disorder psychopathology. Written by an expert in the field, this book is a great guide for all clinicians working with patients with eating disorders.”

Journal of Psychiatric Practice

“This is by far the fullest explication of Fairburn's approach to have been published....A how-to" manual....This volume is an important addition to the literature on the treatment of eating disorders. Fairburn is to be congratulated for constructing a detailed but user-friendly book that will be very informative for practicing clinicians....This book is highly recommended.”

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

“Dr. Fairburn has dedicated himself to developing effective treatment and practical understanding of the entire spectrum of eating disorders for 30 years. The most widely accepted form of evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatment for these illnesses is based on his protocols. His view that eating disorders are 'transdiagnostic,' that is, that they have core symptoms in common that can be treated with one approach, forms the basis of his new book. It is a long-anticipated guide to his enhanced model of treatment....The author describes an extended version of the treatment for patients with problems with clinical perfectionism, core low self-esteem, and interpersonal difficulties. His assessment instruments, used by most researchers in the eating disorders field, are also available in the appendices. This text is simply essential reading for anyone treating eating disorders. The book reads like a series of authoritative lectures, complete with forms, case examples, and useful tables. Although Dr. Fairburn has written helpful treatment guides in the past, his latest effort provides the clearest statement of his rationale for his approach and how to utilize it.”

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

“The long-awaited guide to the practice of 'enhanced' CBT for eating by its innovator and leading exponent, Christopher Fairburn, together with colleagues who have contributed to the development of the treatment. It will be a welcome addition to the libraries of clinicians practicing in the field of eating disorders, as well as non-specialists who encounter patients with eating disorders in their practice....One of the strengths of this book is the authors' in-depth and wide-ranging knowledge of the features of eating disorders, and the clearly structured and systematic way in which they are addressed. The attitude towards the patient is sympathetic and compassionate....This is an excellent book with many helpful clinical tips and vignettes, which I expect to refer to regularly in my work with patients with eating disorders.”

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Book Reviews

“It is easy to read, engaging, and provides lots of practical ideas, techniques, and information that can be used clinically.”

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Journal

“This is an excellent, well-structured, evidence-based guide to working with patients with eating disorders using enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy. It is comprehensive, readable, accessible to a wide range of practitioners and written by an internationally acknowledged expert in the field....Fairburn has a direct and open style of writing, which helps comprehension. The use of vignettes clearly demonstrates the application of the ideas and techniques. Another useful element is the inclusion of all the basic tools, including assessment scales, to aid practice.”

Nursing Standard

“With his evidence-based, 'enhanced' treatment, Fairburn takes CBT to a new level. This book is written explicitly for clinicians, who will find the clearly written, practical guidance invaluable. Of particular interest are the authoritative description of the psychopathology of eating disorders and the lucid analysis of the management and treatment of underweight patients and those with multiple comorbidities. This is the definitive clinical account of CBT for eating disorders.”

—G. Terence Wilson, PhD, Oscar K. Buros Professor of Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

“Over the past 30 years, Fairburn has made immense contributions to our understanding and treatment of patients with eating disorders. This timely, clearly written, immensely informative, and very user-friendly book provides just what the clinician needs—a practical guide to all phases of treatment. Outlining his transdiagnostic model, Fairburn describes the processes that underlie all eating disorders and gives specific examples of how to assess, educate, and help patients with any eating disorder. Treatment is divided into stages, with clear guidelines for exactly what to say or do. This book will quickly become the preferred clinical guide in the eating disorders field. Fairburn and his colleagues should be commended for bringing state-of-the-art research to state-of-the-art practice. Bravo!”

—Robert L. Leahy, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital

“Another milestone by the field’s foremost pioneer, this book explains how to treat eating disorders in exquisite detail, and does so with a rich theoretical and empirical foundation as its basis. This will be the authoritative volume for many years to come.”

—Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, Robert L. Flowers Professor of Public Policy and Dean, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

“From the most prominent group in the world studying the nature and treatment of eating disorders comes this cutting-edge treatment guide, which spans all eating disorder diagnoses as well as conditions that fall outside current diagnostic criteria. Based on a solid empirical foundation, the transdiagnostic enhanced CBT approach will immediately become the gold standard for the treatment of eating disorders.”

—David H. Barlow, PhD, ABPP, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University

Table of Contents


1. This Book and How to Use It, Christopher G. Fairburn

2. Eating Disorders: The Transdiagnostic View and the Cognitive Behavioral Theory, Christopher G. Fairburn

3. Enhanced Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E): An Overview, Christopher G. Fairburn, Zafra Cooper and Roz Shafran

4. The Patients: Their Assessment, Preparation for Treatment and Medical Management, Christopher G. Fairburn, Zafra Cooper and Deborah Waller

Enhanced Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Eating Disorders: The Core Protocol, Christopher G. Fairburn, Zafra Cooper, Roz Shafran, Kristin Bohn, Deborah M.Hawker, Rebecca Murphy and Suzanne Straebler

5. Starting Well

6. Achieving Early Change

7. Taking Stock and Designing the Rest of Treatment

8. Shape Concern, Shape Checking, Feeling Fat and Mindsets

9. Dietary Restraint, Dietary Rules and Controlling Eating

10. Events, Moods and Eating

11. Underweight and Undereating

12. Ending Well

Adaptations of CBT-E

13. Clinical Perfectionism, Core Low Self-Esteem and Interpersonal Problems, Christopher G. Fairburn, Zafra Cooper, Roz Shafran, Kristin Bohn and Deborah M.Hawker

14. CBT-E and the Younger Patient, Zafra Cooper and Anne Stewart

15. Inpatient, Day Patient and Two Forms of Outpatient CBT-E, Riccardo Dalle Grave, Kristin Bohn, Deborah M.Hawker and Christopher G. Fairburn

16. "Complex Cases" and Comorbidity, Christopher G. Fairburn, Zafra Cooper and Deborah Waller


Looking Forward, Christopher G. Fairburn

* Appendix A. Eating Disorder Examination (16.0D), Christopher G. Fairburn, Zafra Cooper and Marianne E. O'Connor

* Appendix B. Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q6.0), Christopher G. Fairburn and Sarah Beglin

* Appendix C. Clinical Impairment Assessment Questionnaire (CIA 3.0), Kristin Bohn and Christopher G. Fairburn

About the Author

Christopher G. Fairburn, DM, FMedSci, FRCPsych, is Wellcome Principal Research Fellow and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. He is a well-known international authority on eating disorders and has a particular interest in the development and evaluation of psychological treatments. He has twice been a Fellow at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and is a Fellow of the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences. He is a Governor of the Wellcome Trust, the largest international biomedical research foundation.

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