Adolescent-focused psychotherapy and anorexia nervosa

Some evidence – there is enough evidence to indicate that this can be a helpful treatment option.

You could be offered adolescent-focused psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa (AFP-AN) if anorexia-nervosa-focused family therapy is not possible or hasn’t been helpful for you. 

AFP-AN involves family and individual sessions and should include information about nutrition and the effects of not eating enough. The therapy should also focus on how you feel about yourself and your relationships with other people. 

AFP-AN usually involves 32-40 individual sessions over 12-18 months, with more frequent sessions at the beginning of treatment. This helps to build the relationship between you and your professional, and can help you to maintain your motivation to make positive changes. You might also have 8-12 additional family sessions, which include support for your parents or carers to help them support you in overcoming your eating disorder. 

Your needs should be reviewed a month into the treatment and then every 3 months afterwards. This can help your professional to figure out how regular your sessions should be, and how long your treatment should last. 

During treatment, your professional should try to figure out whether your eating disorder is a coping strategy and how you might be using it to help you cope. They should help you to find different ways of coping and try to help with any fears you might have about recovery. 

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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