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Eating disorder therapy

Established in 2000, Ellern Mede specialises in and treats only patients with eating disorders. Our therapists and clinicians have an excellent track record of positive outcomes for patients and are at the forefront of research to advance evidence-based eating disorders care.

Ellern Mede's approach to eating disorders therapy

Evidence shows patients with eating disorders have better outcomes when treated in centres specialising in the treatment of these disorders than in general medical settings where staff do not have specialist eating disorders experience. Best outcomes for patients come from working with dedicated eating disorder specialists.

Your first consultation is a comprehensive assessment with a specialist eating disorders consultant psychiatrist. An important first goal of treatment is to establish a therapeutic alliance and continuity of working with a dedicated team in an agreed plan of care which involves the patient and the patient’s family where appropriate. We employ psychiatrists, psychologists, family therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, nurses and healthcare assistants. The team explore the best therapeutic approach for each patient, spanning both physical and mental health needs.

Ellern Mede services are designed to suit each patient’s needs, whether this is outpatient or inpatient, short, medium or long-term care.

We will take into account your past experiences of therapy, the difficulties you are facing, your goals for treatment and your preferences to develop an individual therapy plan. Our team of therapists are skilled in a number of approaches including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Remediation Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy among other evidence-based and NICE-recommended treatments.

Our philosophy in all our eating disorder treatment programmes is to engage with and treat the person as a whole; to facilitate their physical, mental and emotional recovery. We provide a safe and supportive environment which respects patients and their families as individuals, whilst also encouraging the young or adult patient to pursue their aspirations.

Family Therapy and Family Based Interventions

Family Therapy has been shown to play a significant role in improving outcomes for children and young people with eating disorders. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommends family therapy as the treatment of choice for young people with anorexia. The aims of family therapy include promoting the family’s understanding of the disorder, management of anxiety, and developing strategies to strengthen communication and support the young person in their recovery. This means key family members are actively involved throughout the treatment process. Ellern Mede now offers an innovative short-term intensive Family Based treatment programme at our new hospital in High Barnet.

Psychology individual or group therapies

We all use our own individualised behavioural strategies and learned skills to deal with our emotions and thoughts. When a person has an eating disorder, this is in part, a cognitive and behavioural strategy. It is very important within any eating disorder treatment to encourage the patient to explore and gain insight into their individualised cognitive style by using a variety of psychological therapies either individually or within a group. The Ellern Mede psychology team facilitate various therapeutic groups which include Coping Skills, Anxiety Management, Relaxation, Mindfulness, Body Talk and Managing Perfectionism.


Psycho-education has the goal of educating young people and their families, or adults as the case may be, on the potential harmful effects of an eating disorder and subsequent complications. In treating cases of anorexia psycho-education includes understanding the effects of starvation on the body and mind.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy in which the patient and therapist work collaboratively to understand the patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours which can be involved in keeping difficulties going. Together, the therapist and patient develop experiments to test out beliefs, challenge negative thoughts and develop new ways of coping. This might involve, for example, gradually facing a feared situation. CBT-ED is a specialised adaption of this therapy for eating disorders.

Cognitive Remediation Therapy

Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) focuses on ‘how’ we think rather than ‘what’ we think. We teach patients new cognitive strategies to use in various situations to help them respond differently to challenges. Rather than their innate, sometimes negative or anxious response, they learn to think in a more deliberate, considered and positive way. It is a relatively novel and a more engaging form of therapy for young people with eating disorders. They explore and challenge their thinking styles while doing tasks and puzzles. These sessions address skills, such as planning, flexibility and the ability to block out distracting thoughts or information.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) uses a directive counselling style called Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI is a patient-centred approach in which the therapist explores the patient’s ideas around their motivations and their ambivalence to make changes to behaviours, particularly those affecting their mental and physical health. MI and MET delivered in a supportive, listening environment.are useful ways to help the patient make informed decisions about aspects of their life and to explore the options available to them.

Integrative Therapy

Frequently in eating disorder cases it is a combination of therapies which will be found to be most helpful, particularly where a patient has multiple or complex needs. Integrative Therapy is a personalised approach where different therapies will be integrated to address the unique nature of a patient’s difficulties.


There is research evidence and NICE guidance indicating that medication can be effective in helping people with eating disorders to gain relief from physical and mental symptoms and progress towards recover. Ellern Mede follows age appropriate NICE guidelines with regard to medication.

NHS referrals

Ellern Mede has provided specialist Tier 4 eating disorder services to the NHS since 2000. We respond to referrals within 24 hours.

Private referrals

Call now for immediate access to Ellern Mede specialist private eating disorder services. Accepted referrals begin treatment within two weeks or faster in emergencies.